Below are a few recent client case studies, to give you a flavour of our work.
South Staffordshire Water
Online Panel, Workshop and Consultation Support
South Staffordshire Water (SSW) wished to set up an on-going online research panel, with a representative group of their customers to better meet its obligations for on-going and continuous customer engagement. Community Research worked in partnership with Research Now, to recruit a bespoke online panel of 1,000 SSW customers from within Research Now’s existing, national ‘Valued Opinions’ Panel. Those recruited remain a part of the Research Now Panel but have been separately profiled and identified as SSW panellists, reflecting the demographics of SSW’s customers.
In addition, Community Research was commissioned to run a full day deliberative workshop to help inform the development of SSW’s Resources Management Plan. The findings were presented to the company’s Customer Challenge Group and were used in the development of the plan.
Community Research also supported SSW with research services around its business plan development. The regulator, Ofwat, requires that water company business plans offer a balanced reflection of customer and stakeholder priorities. Community Research facilitated two workshops; provided a summary of the Business Plan and analysed the Business Plan consultation feedback. This consultation feedback was used to inform the finalisation of the Business Plan and the consultation activity itself was used to demonstrate the company's commitment to engaging with its customers on issues relating to its future strategy and charges.
Thames Water identified a requirement to create a bespoke panel of domestic customers who are engaged and interested in Thames Water and want to have a say on their plans and to help improve customer service. Community Research worked in partnership with Research Now to recruit a bespoke online panel of 2,000 Thames Water customers from within Research Now’s existing, national ‘Valued Opinions’ Panel. The panel was used on frequent occasions between 2010 and 2014 in the run up to the 2014 water industry price review. Panel exercises included: online group discussions and an online quantitative survey on Thames Water’s draft Drought Plan; recruitment of face to face focus groups with consumer panel members testing draft communications materials about the Thames Tunnel project, drought measures and water meter installations and fast turnaround panel surveys in response to emerging news stories about the company.
Southern Water and South East Water
Southern Water and South East Water wished to jointly commission a survey of domestic customers to better understand specific issues associated with having separate service providers for water and waste water. The objectives of the research were to gain an understanding of the extent to which ‘joint’ customers realise they have separate providers and what they perceive to be the implications of this; discover whether customers see the two services as essentially separate and to understand what, if any, issues arise as a result of this and ascertain what service, billing and / or customer care improvements could be made for joint customers. To answer these objectives Community Research, using Research Now’s Valued Opinions Panel, conducted a short on-line survey with a representative sample of over 500 of Southern Water’s and South East Water’s shared, domestic customers. The research was used to directly inform Southern and South East Water's thinking relating to shared customers, particularly in terms of education, communications and the future billing strategy.