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Community Conversations

Posted on: 20/08/2019

As a Customer Support Officer at Wales & West Utilities I speak to customers every day, building relationships and letting them know what they can expect when we are working in their area.

Working closely with our experienced engineers, I explain why we’re doing our gas pipe upgrade work, answer customers questions or queries about our work and arrange with customers convenient times to do what we need to do. Additionally, I help identify the more vulnerable people in the community, making sure we can support them while upgrading their gas supply.

Energy is always near the top of the agenda for people – be it where it’s coming from or how much it costs. But more recently, customers have been talking more about green energy – and what role gas will play in the future. And, with the brief interruption to electricity supplies for many a few weeks ago, and an increasing number of the conversations I’ve been having have changed from just the practical level to a broader chat about energy and how things might look in the future.

Today the vast majority of people across Wales and south west England rely on gas to heat their homes. From the conversations I have every day I know they value what it brings: its flexibility, its speed of heating water and the home, and its relative affordability.

So it’s really important that as things start changing – with hybrids, hydrogen and green gas all changing the customer experience, it’s important that energy companies, from networks to suppliers, have a genuine conversation with customers about the future. On our part, the community conversations my colleagues and I are having with our customers across South West England are not only helping to improve the service we provide day in day out, but they are also forming part of our preparation for the future.

The feedback we get from customers is passed to our customer service steering group to improve our processes today – and to our business strategy team for analysis. With over 20,000 community conversations of this kind, and the analysis of more than 1.5m pieces of customers data – from complaints to compliments, alongside workshops, community questionnaires and detailed research, the business plan that outlines the work Wales & West Utilities are going to do between 2021 and 2026 will be more customer focussed than ever before.  

Mića Rees

Mića Rees is a Customer Support Officer at Wales & West Utilities.