Thames Water, the UK’s largest water and wastewater provider, has put a £7.5 million contact centre contract out to tender that will see it fundamentally overhaul how it liaises with its 15 million customers.
The company said in a public procurement notice that it is “moving away from a focus on traditional voice and email, and embracing a new omnichannel approach to customer communication”.
“Thames Water are undergoing a large change to the way we interact with our customers. A customer experience programme is running over the next fie years to improve the communication with customers,” the company said.
“To facilitate this transition, we are seeking to award a contract for replacement contact centre software that will allow us to serve customers over many channels.”
Thames Water, which serves 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, declined to comment further on its planned approach when contacted by Computer Business Review.
The is running an EU-regulated procurement meaning it has to “ensure a fair, transparent process with all bidders”, but will not be providing any additional information, a spokesman said.
Requests to participate need to be in by April 30.
Thames Water is looking to improve the speed with which it responds to customers with the contract. The company is also on a drive to improve performance after revenue fell and leakage increased year-on-year in 2018, with CEO Steve Robertson agreeing last year not to take any bonus payments until 2020, as a “personal commitment to improving the performance of the business”.
The company has seen a sweeping shakeup in recent years, with 47 percent new ownership, a new chairman and a push to improve customer relationships.
“We’ve been investing heavily in our IT, to improve stability and reduce disruption to customers, and we’ve also been clearing backlogs of queries in the last year. Whilst they should never have been there in the first place, reducing a backlog means we can now focus on being much more proactive in our approach to improving customer service”, Robertson said in last year’s annual report.
Companies are increasingly looking to use speech analytics, chat bots and a broader array of messaging platforms in their contact centres as they seek to break down silos and improve response times, while cutting costs.