Thames Water has brought a range of critical functions in-house since launching its eight-year turnaround plan in 2021, including its customer service, leaks repair and engineering teams, creating 550 new permanent positions and rebuilding the capabilities essential to improving performance.
As a part of this effort, Thames Water this week will complete the onshoring of its customer service call centre from South Africa to Swindon, bringing this critical facility back in-house and creating 200 local jobs in the process.
Thames Water’s call centre team in the UK will be able to provide improved and more reliable service to its 15 million customers. Thames Water has already seen a 60% decrease in household complaints since the turnaround plan was launched two years ago, and the company expects complaints to continue to decline in the future.
“Our decision to insource essential roles is part of our efforts to address years of under-investment and poor decision-making that have hollowed out critical capabilities and left Thames Water unable to deliver for customers and the environment,” said Sarah Bentley, CEO of Thames Water.
“We believe a customer service team based in the region will make an immediate and significant impact in delivering high-quality service more reliably.”
Thames Water’s insourcing efforts underscore the company’s commitment to transforming customer experience and improve environmental performance over time. Bringing these roles back in-house is a critical part of delivering on the company’s stated ambition to modernise its sewage and water infrastructure.
Of the 550 new positions, 150 of them are newly insourced skilled engineers capable of designing and commissioning large scale, complex projects, building up the capacity for the company to execute on its capital delivery promises made in its turnaround plan.
Thames Water has also rebuilt the team responsible for fixing leaks faster, bringing the total number of technicians in the field to more than 1,000. The team is now carrying out more than 1,300 repairs per week, or one every 7.5 minutes.
“Having our own dedicated engineering team is key to accelerating the delivery of the large-scale projects we desperately need to modernise our water and sewage networks,” continued Bentley. “We are taking these steps to rebuild our business in order to deliver on our turnaround plan. This will take time and significant investment, but we are committed to achieving this plan and ensuring our customers see and feel the progress we are making.”
Through its insourcing efforts over the past two years, Thames Water has expanded its headcount by 7.5% to more than 7900.