Lissa Balmer: Happy people are the key to customers’ magic moments

Lissa Balmer, Director of SME Customers, WaveThursday's theme for National Customer Service Week is effective strategy and focused leadership which felt like a great opportunity to look back at some of our recent successes and think about how far we’ve come as a business. 

Making contact simpler for our customers 

I’m a strong believer that all of our services should be easy to access and suit the channel our choice for our customers. When I first told people we were going to put web chat live day 1 for our business water customers people thought we were mad, yet today, we see 20% of our contact via that channel. Over lockdown especially, and in the months since, we’ve seen a real shift towards email and webchat as more and more customers choose to contact us digitally. 

Maintaining excellent Trustpilot scores

We use feedback from customer surveys as one way to ensure we have the voice of the customer in our minds at all times, and I’m pleased to say we’ve made great progress in terms of our Trustpilot scores. But there’s always more we can do. We’re keen to hear more from our customers, both directly and through focus groups, about what they need and the best ways we can help and support them with their business water accounts.

We’ve had a winning streak

As well as a clear strategy to support our customers, this year, more than ever, we also needed a clear strategy to support our people. In April we were delighted to win ‘Water Retailer of the Year’ at the Water Industry Awards but we couldn’t have achieved it without the support of our staff. They’re at the very heart of our business which is why we were thrilled to be recognised with not one, not two, but three awards for the support provided to our people throughout COVID-19. 

Which awards were they? I hear you ask. In June we won the ‘HR/D&I/Wellbeing Team of the Year’ award at the, ‘This Can Happen Awards’, which celebrates excellence in workplace mental health. Then, in July we achieved a Gold Award at the UK Business Awards in the, ‘Team of the Year’ category for our Covid-19 Project Team which was celebrated for pivoting, innovating and coping with unprecedented change. And finally our HR Director was announced as a Silver Winner in the '2021 EMEA Inspiring Workplaces Awards' for Inspiring Professional of the Year. 

What’s the key?

So what’s the key to effective strategy, focused leadership and a good experience? For me it’s about properly listening to what’s being said, having patience and understanding, not only with our external customers but internally as well. We don’t always get everything right all of the time but we care about our customers and our people and we reflect that in the way we work by always trying to do the right thing.