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14 May 21

Affinity Water reaches out to bring customers closer to the services it offers

Affinity Water has been reaching out to its customers in two novel new ways to ensure it is meeting the needs of the communities it serves to bring customers closer to its business decisions.

Managers at Affinity Water have held a new customer focus group to help co-create the services it is offering to ensure its future business plan meets their expectations. It received direct feedback on topics such as what customers thought of the My Account page and Home Move page on the website.

Affinity Water has also been ensuring all its staff are aware of the debt and relief services it offers so that they in turn can reach out to customers they meet who are struggling financially. It is hoped that as mental health awareness week begins even more people will become aware of the debt services on offer.

Focus group participation

The focus group participants were already users of the My Account page and were able to speak from first-hand experience of how they felt the service was provided.

Luke Sambridge, Head of Business Excellence & Transformation said:

“We aim to conduct these focus groups regularly as part of understanding of our customers’ needs and the challenges we face. We have learnt that customers liked the new amendments implemented on the MyAccount page. It confirmed how easy the website was to use and how we can provide a range of new features to improve the site in the future.

“This is the start of a long-term customer-closeness programme, allowing us to connect regularly with customers about the issues that matter to them. We will be working with customers to co-create our service offering.”

Affordability Week helps reach out to customers in need of mental health support

Introducing another new practice that will bring customers and staff closer together Affinity Water introduced an Affordability Week in the first week of May where it showcased best practices across the business to all its staff in how to give debt support to those who most need it.

James Tipler, Head of Billing & Debt Management, said it had reached out to all staff by showcasing all the debt work Affinity Water had been undertaking:

“Our help and support schemes are designed to ‘lift’ the debt burden from customers. We know that to date we have reached out to 100,00 customers in need of financial support in different ways. We hope that our work in Affordability Week at the beginning of May to make all staff aware of what help we can offer customers if they are struggling financially will mean that in the future even more people will be aware of our debt help and support services. We’re no longer waiting for customers to come to us for help, we want to be on the front foot informing them of our debt services in all our customer interactions and contacts on the phone or face to face in the field.

“We know that debt is one of the causes of poor mental health and we hope that by equipping our staff with the right information we can help to improve the mental health of customers as Mental Health Awareness Week gets under way.”

Affinity Water’s financial help packages include a range of different payment options and budgeting schemes, alternative tariffs, and our priority services register. There is also case study advice showing how customers have been helped in the past.

To date:

  • Affinity water has helped 7,100 customers with payment breaks of up to three months as a result of its coronavirus support.
  • A total of 80,000 customers are now on its low income tariff
  • It is reaching out to another 20,000 customers who are in financial hardship to help with their annual bills.
  • The additional advice page on the National Debtline website has enabled it to reach out further than in the past and is continuing to do so.
  • On March 1st 2021, Affinity Water also launched a crisis fund in partnership with Auriga Services, a hardship charity, to support customers in vulnerable circumstances. 100 customers have been referred in the first month of operation.

More information can be found on our website.

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