Northumbrian Water

For 15 years we have supported Northumbrian Water as their research partner. Find out more...

"We have been very pleased with the service we’ve received from Explain and would recommend them to anyone."

The customer

Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) provides water and sewerage services in the North East of England under the name Northumbrian Water, and water services in the South operating under the name Essex & Suffolk Water delivering services to millions of customers.

We have been NWG’s research partner for over 15 years supporting them to scope, measure and evaluate service and service improvements in order to enable continuous change.

The need

NWG value research and engagement as a means of understanding customer needs and priorities as well as measuring and evaluating performance. Research is integral to the organisation’s commitment to satisfying regulatory standards and targets whilst also ensuring customer satisfaction remains high. Our approach remains flexible allowing NWG to make changes to the programme as their business needs change, maximising upon our experience in this sector to guide future research projects.

Our research programme over the last year has covered all of the following areas:

  • Measurement of performance when asset improvement works are conducted in residential areas
  • Ongoing tracking of domestic and business customer satisfaction
  • Evaluation of key leisure events
  • Explorative research to examine customer perceptions and expectations of their waste water service
  • Brand research to determine resonance of NWG key brand values
  • Evaluation of marketing campaigns to demonstrate return on investment
  • Customer research to support the redesign of customer bills
  • A focussed service improvement project examining taste and odour of tap water identifying means of improvement to the proactive and reactive response to issues
  • Filming of vox pops to evaluate experience and identify means of customer service improvement

The outcome

The research programme we have designed for NWG spans a number of different methodologies, including door-to-doortelephone, online, focus groups together with in-depth interviews
the sum of which have ultimately resulted in an overall improvement of services, communication and brand awareness for the organisation. Their net promoter score is encroaching on industry leaders such as Apple and First Direct, a rarity in the utilities industry, and thus they are a leading organisation in terms of service and meeting customer expectations having used
insights from research to shape the business direction. 

Focus on evaluation of marketing and campaign activity has driven an increase in return on investment through learnings around improved messaging, format and channel that increase impact. In addition focus on service improvement based projects has identified possible efficiencies as well as enabling improved performance in regards to regulated targets (and thus rewards) such as the volume of taste and odour complaints received.

"Northumbrian Water has a long and trusted relationship with Explain. Explain provides a professional service and helps us to maximise the impact of customer insight to help us drive our business forward and deliver great results to our customers. The team at Explain is very easy to work with and regularly go the extra mile to ensure that we have the right information and robust customer insight to help us make business decisions with confidence. We have been very pleased with the service we’ve received from Explain and would recommend them to anyone."

Jennie Collingwood, Marketing Manager.


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Sage Bellway

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