Water companies need to educate customers on industry changes to protect reputation

Posted: Friday 11th September 2015

Water companies need to communicate more effectively with the public about the positive changes that will be affecting the industry in order to protect its reputation, according to a new report from leading UK manufacturer and supplier of valves and water fittings, Talis UK.

The report found that the majority of people in the UK were not aware of the planned changes that are going to be taking place within the water industry such as the increasing roll-out of water meters across the UK. 68% admitted they hadn’t heard about this initiative.

Only 13% of respondents knew about investments aimed at preventing water shortages, 26% were aware of greater support being available for those who are struggling to pay their water bills and just 23% had heard about investments to improve the quality of drinking water.

The study, which surveyed 2,000 UK households, asked respondents whether they were conscious about specific changes within the water industry and if they thought these changes would improve the service they received. Over two-thirds of people thought that investment to improve the quality of drinking water would make no difference to the service, and 34% of those who took part in the survey actually thought that the roll-out of water meters would have a negative effect. The findings suggest that in order for customers to really understand the effects these changes will have, water companies need to do more to educate and emphasise the positive impact that these changes will have on the industry.

Mark Hodgens, managing director of Talis UK, said: “It is clear from the study that a large proportion of the public aren’t aware of some of the major changes that are due to take place within the industry. This is quite concerning as without being well informed, the public is often left to form its own opinions on what the changes will mean for the sector. As the results show, people are skeptical about some of the changes and do not understand how they will improve the water services that they receive.

“It is the responsibility of the water companies to ensure that they are effectively and openly communicating with their customers to ensure that people know what these changes mean and to highlight the work they are doing to provide a better and more responsive service.

“The results suggest that water companies are at a crucial stage in their relationship with the public and that making the right judgements now will be crucial to their long-term reputation and continued success.”

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