CASE STUDY: Here’s a brand new case study from Anglian Water, England’s largest water company, which has just saved more than £100,000 in operational costs from its customer service department. Anglian Water is working with Aspect Software, a company that helps organisations in utilities and other industries to improve their customer service via the contact centre, from voice calls to social media. Specifically, Anglian Water has consolidated multiple customer contact channels to build a comprehensive, proactive customer notification system of future and ongoing water works and issues.
Business Process: Customer service and proactive notice
Anglian Water is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area, supplying domestic and business customers in the east of England and Hartlepool.
Products and services
• Aspect Proactive Engagement Suite (Aspect PES)
• Covers 80 per cent of Anglian Water’s customers whose phone numbers are on file, sending 200,000 proactive notifications of water outages per year
• Consolidation of multiple channels
• Annual saving of £100,000 in operational costs
• Improved customer experience, supported by positive feedback
Anglian Water supplies water and water recycling services to more than six million domestic and business customers in the east of England and Hartlepool, and is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area. Even with a 20 per cent population growth in the catchment area in the past 20 years, by minimising leaks and encouraging more “water wise” customers, Anglian Water provides the same amount of water today (1.2 billion litres a year) as was used in 1990.
With a large number of residents in Anglian Water’s catchment area being reliant on its services for the supply of clean water, the efficient and proactive notification of any outages or problems that could affect the availability of this vital resource is a crucial element to the overall customer experience.
Running this process through its operational call centre, Anglian Water had a pre-recorded message in place on inbound calls to notify customers of such issues. However, this was reactive rather than proactive – requiring customers to actively contact Anglian Water in order to find the relevant information on a problem they had already experienced.
Graham Blackburn, Contact Centre Manager at Anglian Water, explained: “We wanted to remove this element of customer effort, and drastically reduce the volume of inbound calls, particularly during peak hours. The aim was to integrate a new system with our existing operations, which would allow us to proactively contact customers, and provide them with the information they needed before they realised that there was a supply issue. To achieve this, we had to understand who was being affected and then be able to provide tailored proactive notifications to this specific target audience, very quickly.”
Anglian Water came to the conclusion that the most effective and efficient way to achieve its desired result was to invest in tailored technology that could quickly notify a defined cross-section of customers.
Aspect Proactive Engagement Suite (Aspect PES) is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based, fully automated, advanced suite of customisable outbound customer engagement applications. The suite is designed to provide personalised, legislation-compliant, and cost effective interaction experiences, hosted entirely in the cloud. Integrating with Aspect’s interaction management capabilities, Aspect PES complements Anglian Water’s live agent-based outbound campaigns, requiring no additional hardware or telephony, no capital upfront investment, and without the need for additional headcount.
Despite having another customer contact product in place on the debt collections side of the business, Anglian Water was impressed by the quality and affordability of the new technology, and the strength of the team at Aspect.
When a situation such as a burst water main occurs, a field technician assesses the situation, and calls in the details to the operational contact centre for analysis, in order to determine what customers will be impacted. This information can then be fed into the purpose-built Aspect PES programme that automatically notifies the relevant customers in the defined affected catchment area. This notification is delivered in the form of a pre-recorded message to customer landlines (or mobile if one is not provided), with insert sections for relevant towns, street names or areas. As technicians manage to narrow the affected area, notifications can be localised in line with this with secondary alerts sent to those customers for whom the problem is resolved. This personalisation feature was developed by Aspect and Anglian Water to specifically tailor the product to its business needs.
Blackburn surmised: “We have had an excellent experience with Aspect and the product from initial implementation through to today. The technology is simple to use, efficient, reliable, cost effective, and the support team is always on hand to provide assistance, training, as well as make improvements or adjustments where necessary.”
The positive impact of Aspect PES has far exceeded the breadth of its proactive outreach, sending more than 200,000 proactive messages per year. By notifying customers the moment an issue has – or will – occur, it has removed the necessity for customers to call Anglian Water for initial information on the matter. The reduction of inbound calls has had a huge indirect benefit, in the form of large fiscal savings that Anglian Water estimates at £100,000 annually.
“We have been delighted with the results over the past two years. Aspect PES was incredibly easy to implement, and integrate into our existing business processes,” said Blackburn. “It has allowed us to consolidate multiple channels of communication into one cost-effective, unified platform, with minimal involvement on our part. Customers do have the option to opt out of this proactive notification service, but the fact that very few do demonstrates the added value they believe it adds to their customer experience, and in turn the added value it brings to Anglian Water as a business. Several customers have already taken the time to give positive feedback, so we are delighted with the way Aspect PES has been received. Obviously from a business perspective, the fiscal benefits have been a huge bonus.”
Due to the impressive results and positive customer feedback Anglian Water has received, possible further applications for the technology in other areas of the business are being considered. One such area is a roll out to the billing call centres, with the aim to remove manual effort when keeping customers informed, specifically for work streams that are unresolved at the first point of contact.
Aspect’s fully-integrated solution unifies the three most important facets of modern contact centre management: customer interaction management, workforce optimisation, and back-office. Through a full suite of cloud, hosted and hybrid deployment options, we help the world’s most demanding contact centres seamlessly align their people, processes and touch points to deliver remarkable customer experiences. For more information, visit www.aspect.com.