Wipro helped Thames Water transform their credit & collections management system, and improved data quality for 57% of their customers through cleanse and append process
Thames Water Utilities Ltd is the largest water and wastewater company in the UK. The company, with 15 million customers, operates in Scotland, England and Wales. It treats and supplies 2.6 billion Liters of water per day for 9 million of its clean water customers. The company has currently undertaken a retail transformation program to improve customer experience, reduce bad debt and costs to serve household customers.
As the UK water industry prepares for significant regulatory and market changes, it views increasing customer debt as a major challenge, especially with the tightening of customer experience related regulation by Ofwat, the Water Services Regulation Authority. Water industry data shows that the total revenue outstanding from customers’ unpaid bills has increased 17% in the past four years. Studies show low-income households, working-age adults living alone, single parents and single pensioners are more likely to have problems paying their bills, and are more likely to be in debt.
For Thames Water, in particular, the increasing customer debt is a much greater challenge, given the region of operation and the customer demographics it has to deal with. It has taken credit and collections transformation as a priority for the AMP6 business plan and has committed additional business benefits of £14.6 million as a direct result of transforming the debt management process
To achieve the committed outcomes, Thames Water required this program to complete before Annual Billing 2016, so that benefits delivery starts early in AMP6.
The company needed to reduce the overall debt burden. This involved understanding the customer’s ability to pay, in particular, predict in advance the customers who may fail to meet their payment obligations, provide the required support and treatment processes to deal appropriately with each customer situation.
Wipro partnered with leading industry service providers and delivered a comprehensive tool set to predict, measure and meet Thames Water’s financial and customer goals for debt. The solution included systems to enable the overall objective of best-in-sector to be achieved over a 3-5 year period and maintained within the wider business and IT environment.
The delivered solution helped:
- Unlock the value of customer segmentation using internal and external data from credit referencing agency.
- Update and maintain key customer data including name, date of birth and telephone number across new and legacy systems
- Develop appropriate collection treatment paths, based on the specific situation and circumstances of each Thames Water’s customers
- Integrate with one of the leading debt management system into Thames Water with capabilities to support delivery of the benefits
- Interface with credit reference agency to share customer insight to influence customer credit scores based on payment profile.
- Develop complete transparency and effective KPIs for all debt management and collections activities, implementing a robust management information
- Design, procure and build resilient infrastructure to provide high availability and business continuity
- Build robust data migration strategy, approach and plan to migrate the customers from legacy debt management system to new ones
Improved data quality for 2 million customers (57%) through cleanse and append process
Collected £2.5 million through Customer Communications System (CCS) capability since go-live
£13 million total estimated new savings in AMP6
£37.4 million estimated extra cash collection during AMP6, largely through increased segmentation ability
Collection of £10 million in the first seven months of using new processes and systems; Newer business processes automated
Reduced debt since go-live through active gone away initiatives
Early cash collections by means of champion challenger rules and capability within the new solution