PR19 CUSTOMER RESEARCH
Ofwat has made it clear that it expects water companies to make a step change in the quality of their customer engagement for PR19.
This means fusing WTP data from quantitative research with other information such as complaints, general call centre contacts, consumption data and even demand-side management behavioural research to develop a deeper, more robust understanding of customers’ priorities, needs and behaviours both now and in the future.
It means engaging more customer segments, particularly vulnerable customers.
It means educating customers as well as listening to them.
And, of course, it means using research insight to drive decision making.
How we can help?
Our approach to PR19 research uses a 7-step, customer-focused process to enable you to deliver a business plan with the deeper focus on the customer required by Ofwat.
The process draws on our substantial experience in conducting customer and stakeholder engagement and WTP research in the utilities sector and elsewhere, for PR14, PR09 and other initiatives.
“Looking ahead [to PR19]… there are opportunities for companies to better understand their customers’ priorities, potentially by using information from day-to-day interactions with them.”
Ofwat’s Reflections on the price review – learning from PR14
Our PR19 process in more detail
Step 1. Discovery
The process starts with desk research, reviewing methods used in the past and Ofwat’s critique of them. We then work with you to draft your PR19 methodology to meet Ofwat’s current requirements.
Step 2. Refinement
Key opinion leaders, such as CCWater and Citizens Advice, are engaged to give feedback on the draft methodology, which is then refined accordingly. The process of engagement and refinement can be iterative, resulting in a robust research methodology.
Step 3. Deliberation
This qualitative research stage gathers outputs from an engaged customer panel (ECP) and from other, ongoing customer engagement techniques, such as deliberative community events. The insights gathered at this stage are then used to inform the design of a thorough survey instrument in the next stage.
Step 4. Simplification
WTP surveys of the type to be carried out in the Measurement stage are highly complex, and so considerable care is needed in how they’re presented to respondents. The ECP will play a key role in refining and piloting both the survey instrument and its associated communication materials to ensure that these are as customer-friendly as possible to maximise the quality of responses.
Step 5. Measurement
The large-scale survey will engage customers from a wide range of relevant segments: current and future; business and consumer (including hard-o-reach and vulnerable customers)Following data collection, our advanced analytics team will work with an econometrics partner to produce the cost-benefit analysis.
Step 6. Data fusion
The WTP data is fused with other sources of data to give a robust, balanced and proportionate evidence base for assertions on what matters to customers.
Step 7. Successful outcomes
The ECP is re-convened in this step to give feedback on the business plan. After any further refinement, you can submit it to Ofwat with confidence that it balances a high level of customer acceptance and willingness to pay with appropriate levels of investment for a sustainable water industry.
Find out more
Contact us to discuss how we can help you develop a customised PR19 approach for your situation, based on our process.
For more on our work in this area, read our case studies on:
Impact is a full-service market research agency focusing on the UK water and energy sectors.
As a PR19 research partner, we have considerable experience in innovative, effective customer engagement as well as large-sample quantitative surveys in the public sector, all supported in-house by our advanced analytics capability led by Dr David Pearmain, who has a PhD in stated preference techniques.