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Published on 16th March 2023

Creating Space for Smart Data


Within the utility sector, customer expectations are on the rise – customers want a smooth service, with quick and easy transactions. Additionally, the UK Institute of Customer Service has declared it’s top five recommendations – one of which is to strive to ensure that customer service is based on proactive strategy, moving aware from reactive responses.
Within the water sector more specifically, implementing smart technology could be the best way to create that smooth service for customers. It is vital that customer service teams are provided with the right data and insight to hold good conversations with consumers, and this is exactly what smart technology can do. It allows for the proactive management of any customer issues e.g. a change in household consumption, which can then spike a bill. This in turn can allow for more support for customers that may be struggling with their bills.
However, having good data is not enough – the gap that many companies experience is creating the SPACE to manage the intel. Many businesses put so much of their efforts into generating the actual data that it comes as a surprise when the data pours in with no identified team / processes to turn it into customer gold dust.
The five points below highlight our SPACE acronym to summarize the key needs that companies should consider once they have identified and launched into the smart data space. From ensuring SLAs are in place to confirming the action plan and customer messaging per alarm type, it’s important to make space for the data. Not only that – engaging teams along the end to end process is also a huge value add and should be a priority in any project.
S ervice level agreements in place for alarms / data receiving
P eople and resource impact mapped out and scaled up if required
A ction plan agreement for each alarm type
C ustomer journey and messaging framework
E ngagement across the business

Creating SPACE is crucial in landing any smart initiative, and at South Staffs Water we’re proud of our journey so far in making this happen.

Heidi Knapton, WUN advocate & Head of Customer Operations at South Staffs and Cambridge Water.