Here in the North West, we supply water and wastewater services to more than 170,000 business sites.
Businesses want to feel that their water supplier understands them, and is there to help them save money and operate more efficiently. With companies able to choose their water provider in England from 2017, and competition already in full swing in Scotland, providing this kind of tailored support has never been more important.
Our Business Retail division has been operating as a self-contained unit since 2013, in recognition of the fact that business customers require a different type of expertise and support to domestic customers.
This narrower focus is working, with complaints falling 26 per cent in 2013/14.
In October 2012, United Utilities Scotland was born, our first foray into the world of water competition. The business is already performing strongly, attaining the second largest market share behind Business Stream, the incumbent supplier.
As well as providing a valuable new revenue stream, our Scottish expedition is providing us with invaluable experience, ahead of competition arriving south of the border in 2017.
Our priorities in the next year are to:
Build even stronger relationships with business customers: by assigning account managers to our largest customers with specific sector expertise and by providing a range of added value services, such as advice on reducing water consumption and proactive identification of leaks.
Deliver more accurate and user-friendly bills: by installing smart meters for all businesses that use more than 5 megalitres of water per year, and by providing e-bills or consolidated bills (i.e. combined bill for several sites) for those who want them.
Develop value added services: such as a water efficiency consultancy service and the design, build, operation and management of wastewater plants, rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling schemes.
Provide online resources: by refreshing the website for business customers in 2015 with new content such as ‘how to’ guides, video case studies and audits. We will also launch an online self-service portal designed specifically for businesses.
If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews