The ESC Water Performance Report for 2021-22 showed a small improvement in the overall average score for customer experience in the Victorian Regional Water sector compared to the previous year.
Meanwhile, the overall average score remained stable for the Victorian Metropolitan Water sector, suggesting that customers continued to receive a similar level of customer service as previous years, despite the uncertainty and change due to the pandemic.
However, the longer-term trend reflects that stability and complacency is causing stagnation in overall scoring, said CSBA managing director, Paul van Veenendaal, commending the ESC for its commitment to improve customer experience using ongoing CX benchmarking to provide insights.
The ESC annual report includes the analysis of all of Victoria’s water businesses against key service measures, such as customer bills, household water use and customer experience. As part of the report, ESC commissioned CSBA to independently benchmark the call centre performance of Victorian water businesses over a 12-month period.
The value of CX benchmarking
“Measuring the customer’s experience gives you clarity on where you stand from the customer’s perspective,” explained van Veenendaal. “It helps each water business identify specific areas for improvement. At the same time, you can compare your performance against your peers and with other sectors.”
“The ESC is a role model for industry regulators. It has taken the leadership to make customer experience benchmarking central in driving continuous improvement for all 15 water businesses in Victoria,” he said.
The power of CX insights
The latest report shows that while customer service scores have remained consistent for the last three years, there is considerable opportunity to uplift the level of customer service from good to best for Victorian Water retailers.
Ease continued to be the lowest scoring index for all retailers at 36%, compared to Success at 70% and Sentiment at 64%, indicating a need for retailers to be proactive at being transparent to keep customers informed. There is also a need to increase “ownership” in helping customers feel that they are being helped by a person with knowledge and skills.
Barwon water continued to be the best performing retailer with an overall score of 73% compared to the sector’s average overall score of 57%. While GWM Water had the greatest overall score improvement, increasing its ranking from sixth to second.
The Victorian Water sector performed on par with the Australian Water sector and Utilities. However, when compared to top performers, showed clear room for improvement.
ESC and CSBA partnership
Since 2009, CSBA has worked with ESC to measure call centre performance using 30 unique criteria in the key areas of Ease (the effort the customer must expend to accomplish their goals), Sentiment (how the interaction makes the customer feel) and Success (the degree to which the customer is able to accomplish their goals).
This partnership will strengthen and evolve as we continue to reflect best practice in navigating the fast-changing customer experience landscape.
Read the ESC Water Performance report.