Anglian Water sees huge drop in complaints

ANGLIAN Water has been told not to get complacent despite a huge drop in the number of complaints.

ANGLIAN Water has been told not to become complacent despite a huge drop in the number of complaints.

Watchdogs say they will keep an eye on the water provider even though the number of unhappy customers has fallen by nearly a third in just two years.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) says there is still much more work to do to reduce dissatisfaction, but a spokesman for Anglian Water reassured residents: “We are thinking about customer care, and it is central to what we are doing.”

Yet, although just 18,086 complained last year, compared to 25,891 in 2007/08 and 24,951 in 2008/09, the CCW insists: “Numbers of complaints have not dropped to the level that they were before the dramatic rise in complaints began.

“Water companies are only part-way through what the CCW sees as an appropriate recovery as complaints are still 33 per cent higher than they were in 2004.”

Anglian Water said it had employed a “dedicated quality team” in the past two years charged with getting complaint numbers down.

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Staff had also been instructed to pass on any concerns immediately to the complaints team so that direct action could be taken.

“A big part of it is how you are treated when you call,” a spokesman said. “People really appreciate it if you are able to give them oral confirmation that the situation is under control.”

Where possible customers are given answers there and then but, if advisers cannot sort it out over the phone, the problem is dealt with straight away.

That helps reduce repeat complaints because people know their issue is being taken seriously, the spokesman said.

However, Anglian Water says the lower figure partly reflects “no nasty surprises” when it comes to water works.

CCW chair Dame Yve Buckland said: “Customers are used to hearing about year-on-year rises in complaints but we’ve been working hard to put pressure on water companies to improve their performance.”

She admitted: “We are beginning to see progress from many of them,” but added: “If something goes wrong, we know customers want the problem to be sorted out quickly.”