South Staffs Water (SSW) supplies approximately 1.3m people and 35,000 commercial customers over 1,500 square km in the West Midlands, South Staffordshire, South Derbyshire, North Warwickshire and North Worcestershire areas. The company supplies more than 375 million litres of water every day through a 6000km network of pipes.
SSW's teams always have to balance busy customer communication with managing leaks, monitoring repairs and providing updates. This presents more of a challenge in the winter and summer months when water network pipes are more prone to breakage due to extreme weather.
Leakage reduction is a key performance commitment for the water sector, with underperformance leading to financial penalty, Leaks on customer side supply pipes equate to a fair proportion of SSW’s total leakage - making it essential to improve communication with customers to both reduce leaks and support customer satisfaction.
A lack of visibility of events on the road network, made it more difficult for SSW to coordinate effectively. Aborted works were higher than desired, resulting in unnecessary fines and re-planning costs alongside delays to leakage repairs.
With all of this in mind, SSW has set itself two central goals for 2020-2025.
- To offer a first-class customer experience and improve C-MeX scores.
- To reduce leakage across the network by 15%.
25% reduction in aborted works & re-plans
minimising the costs of duplicative admin
Expedited repairs with faster permit approvals
supporting SSW's 15% leakage reduction
Accelerated customer query response times
and the speed of reaching resolutions.
Saved time, effort and money
investigating and resolving wrongly attributed damage penalties.
Delivering a first-class customer experience
SSW first set out to improve communication with customers by creating a Customer Operations Centre. Teams across the business were brought together, unifying the Dispatch, Surveyors, Repairs and Maintenance, and Street Works teams in the Customer Operations team. Then, an online Customer Operations Centre was built, and new customer feedback processes put in place, allowing for all-round better customer query management.
This initiative further improved SSW's customer service, even winning them an award and helping them towards their first-class customer experience goal, however, there was still a missing piece to the solution.
The Customer Operations Team needed more detailed visibility of what was taking place on the road network in order to provide more accurate updates to customers and elevate satisfaction.
With one.network, SSW now have complete visibility of all past and planned street works within a single, intuitive map.
This comprehensive view provides accurate, up-to-date data about all current and future planned road events on the network, as well as those up to 7 years in the past. With this level of detail available, the Dispatch Team and the Contact Centre can respond quickly and efficiently to customer queries, with correct, precise information.
Not only does this accelerate customer response times, the increased accuracy of information also minimises back and forth communication and helps resolves cases faster.
To further reduce leakage, SSW needed to expedite repair times and one of the most effective ways to do this was to increase permit approval rates.
Implementing one.network has allowed the Repairs and Maintenance Team to obtain NSG data, alongside other essential information such as S58s, traffic signals and Highway Authority boundaries, on a single interface.
With all this data available at their fingertips, plus a more complete view of planned street works, the team can identify where SSW works might clash with existing jobs and can ensure their permits accommodate Highway Authority rules and restrictions before submitting the applications.
This has helped the team to create permits quicker than ever before and submit them with confidence. As a result, SSW has decreased aborted works and re-plans by 25% and minimised the costs of duplicative admin.
Permits are now approved faster, meaning repairs can be enacted more quickly, and the number of leaks present on the network at any one time reduced.
Increased visibility of critical road data proved useful for SSW during the 2022 Commonwealth Games when there was a significant increase in road closures. What once would have caused a permitting headache was no longer a problem for SSW with one.network at their disposal.
“one.network was a great help during the Commonwealth Games. The dedicated map layer was simple, user-friendly and presented clearly all the information we needed to coordinate our permits effectively around the event.”
one.network’s Historical Map has also unlocked additional benefits for SSW.
With the power to look back into the past, the Dispatch Team can easily investigate damage reports in just a couple of clicks. The ability to see which organisations have been at which work sites and the exact times and dates when they were present, allows the team to quickly identify when damage penalties have been wrongly attributed to South Staffs Water, helping save time, effort and money.
one.network has also saved SSW additional costs by helping team members locate Section 74s and take swift action to ensure works are adhering to highway restrictions and that the proper permits are in place.
SSW is now considering further uptake of the platform across the business, looking at potential uses within its contracting and rehab teams.