Keytree delivers Severn Trent Water’s Customer Contact Transformation Programme

Severn Trent Water is responsible for water management, supply, waste water treatment and disposal in the catchment areas of two of Britain’s largest rivers – the Severn and the Trent. The management team at Severn Trent Water, headed by CEO Liv Garfield are ringing in the changes to how the organisation operates, with a strong focus on utilising technology orientated processes – both internally and externally.

Ofwat, the Water Services Regulation Authority, is responsible for the economic regulation of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales and use their Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) to encourage water companies to improve levels of customer service and reduce complaints. Severn Trent regularly scores higher than the national average in the annual SIM reports, but their ongoing research into continued improvements highlighted the value of technology and building more resilience into its systems.

Keytree transformed the Customer Contact Centre by implementing a range of new digital services to create a single working environment for agents – improving efficiency and customer liaison, which will help increase their performance against Ofwat’s SIM reports.

The new system allows both sets of agents to offer assistance and support to each other during their busy periods. Billing agents can assist in winter, and operational agents can help in February or March when annual bills are being prepared.

Combining resources into one single view

When a customer contacts Severn Trent Water, they are dealt with by one of two teams – one for billing or payment enquiries and the second for operations but they operate on two separate systems. The challenges faced by water companies are also seasonal – the peak period for annual billing is February and March, and when the winter months arrive, customer service agents are busy dealing with weather-related issues such as burst water mains or frozen pipes.

Agents only had access to their appropriate system so Severn Trent Water embarked upon the Customer Contact Transformation Programme to create a solution that would connect the two systems, improve customer service and make life easier for its customer service specialists. Keytree used its technical expertise to navigate and understand the needs of the two teams of customer service agents to create a single unified solution.

Having two separate teams dealing with the same customers meant recording information in silos. A customer with a billing query may have already spoken to an agent on numerous occasions regarding a burst water main, but the agent dealing with the same customer’s finance issue would not be aware of this, potentially leading to reduced SIM scores.

Keytree delivered a new frontend solution to create a single environment for agents to work across both billing and operations – with a single screen view so users can address client issues and understand the current status of each customer. The solution interacts with both the SAP and their legacy Cobal billing system, which runs the operational and billing parts of the organisation. The controls in place are a vital part of the business process, and by using their extensive experience in enterprise environments, Keytree took an agile approach which enabled quicker phased delivery.

Creating a solution to support customer needs

To provide the required customer benefits against tight timelines the traditional Severn Trent Water delivery approach needed to be augmented by Keytree, using its agile methodology. This method allowed Keytree to define and build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to ensure Phase one was completed within a six-month timeline. The MVP was piloted and rolled out to over 500 call centre staff but further enhancements were delivered on a phased basis without significant disruption to the business or customers. Therefore, following the success of the MVP new functionality was supplied in a similar agile methodology delivered in three phases. The additional features included simplified billing, payment and meter history information, a streamlined ‘home move’ procedure and regular payments journeys plus a decision tree report process for reporting and resolving problems.

If the same customer calls today, with agents using the new system, the operative will see a red or amber colour on the client’s profile and a tap icon, detailing the phone calls made by the customer regarding water issues. Agents may not be able to solve these problems but are more empowered and will have a greater understanding of what’s going on.

The new system allows both sets of agents to offer assistance and support to each other during their busy periods. Billing agents can assist in winter, and operational agents can help in February or March when annual bills are being prepared – before this, each team would work in silos, but now workloads can be shared.