Two out of five householders says they would switch supplier now if they could

Almost 40% of household consumers would review immediately their water supplier if the market opened to competition, according to survey findings by custom contact services provider, Echo Managed Services.

The poll found also that close to half of respondents (48%) would favour switching to a single utility supplier covering their gas, electricity and water, were if doing so reduced their overall bill.

The findings included also that customer service frustrations would be a major reason for consumers to change their water supplier; with 33% saying they switch for this reason, and 17% saying given the opportunity, they would specifically switch water supplier because of poor service.

Echo found that one in five consumers would review their water supplier within 12 months if the market opened tomorrow, to see if they could get a better deal.

One area the household water market could struggle with were it to open, would be in offering the price incentives householders may expect. Echo’s report shows that 44% of consumers said they would switch only if they could receive price savings of 20% or greater.

Echo points out that utilities languish behind ten other sectors in customer satisfaction despite findings from the Institute of Customer Service showing satisfaction among utility customers at a nine year high. “Water companies will, without doubt, be looking closely at their customer service strategies in the coming months, especially after Ofwat warned them they must up their game in the face of the new PR19 price review.”

Head of sales and marketing at Echo, Chris Cullen, said the survey revealed areas in utility customer service that needed improvement “Looking towards best practice examples across multiple sectors could help companies to innovate and provide the kind of leading customer service that many consumers now expect.

“It may be a long time before the consumer water market opens to competition, if indeed it does, but with Ofwat placing more focus on customer service as part of PR19 we can expect to see customer service innovations in the sector and companies making this a real priority in the near future.”