Turning on the digital tap for South Staffs Water

We all need water and we all pay for it, but it is one of the only markets where being the customer means very little. In the UK, household customers can’t pick and choose their water provider. But this doesn’t mean water companies should forget customer service.

In a recent survey of 1,000 UK households, only 39% considered communications from their water supplier ‘clear and simple’. It is safe to say, with stats like these, that there is work to be done in the water industry. South Staffs Water were ahead of the curve in spotting the opportunity.

Committed to building upon their digital customer experience, South Staffs approached Razor to help. And if you know us, you’ll know we’ve got that type of knowledge on tap (that’s our first and last water pun, we promise!)


The Challenge:

South Staffs wanted an online, self-service portal where their 1.3m household customers and 35,000 commercial customers could go to access information and complete transactions at their own convenience.

There were a number of strategic objectives. The portal had to offer customers flexibility in how they interact with the business, create operational efficiencies and meet KPIs set by Ofwat, the economic regulator for the water sector.

The new portal also had to be delivered using the infrastructure and backend systems already in place within the business, with no disruption during the implementation and increased security around these systems. This is where it came down to the technical nitty-gritty.


Action:

As the portal would affect diverse areas of the business, we engaged with all the possible stakeholders during our discovery process. At this stage, we establish the details, any constraints of the project and in this case, we identified a number of particularly complex aspects.

With these challenges in mind, our team worked iteratively through a series of technical spikes and paper prototypes, in order to prove the most appropriate solutions before any time was invested in detailed design and development.

The final design focused on two core applications. Both were carefully integrated with a number of third party systems and each other to provide a seamless user experience and more automated interactions with customers.

Our team had to ensure that the whole system would be able to cope with significant spikes in traffic during busy periods without the need for additional systems. We solved this by deploying a circuit breaker pattern, making sure the system doesn’t take down the entire system when it fails.

The second core application was the frontline marketing site which provided essential tools for the marketing team and integrated with a custom incident management system – eGain Knowledge Base, AFD address validation and ArcGIS.


A screenshot of the South Staffs Water website

A seamless experience when submitting meter readings, pay their bill and manage their payment plan


Results:

The new marketing site and bespoke ‘My Account’ application launched seamlessly with zero disruption during the transition between systems.

Through using My Account customers now benefit from a 200% increase in online functionality, there has been a 96% increase in system availability with the capacity to handle over 3000 concurrent users. What a result and all integrated using backend software we inherited.

Do you feel like you’re in deep water with an outdated digital customer experience? We can help you find the right solution.


200% increase

in functionality

3000+

concurrent user capacity

96% increase

in system availability


Dharmender Rai

“If we experienced any issues, Razor’s ‘whatever it takes’ and ‘can-do’ attitude made all the difference and got us through some difficult patches. Projects become easier to execute, changes become easier to implement and problems become easier to solve with these guys on your team.”

Dharmender Rai <> Head of Project Services <> South Staffs Water Plc

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