Customer service by automated billing
Cash flow through automation
Anglian Water, a water utility in the United Kingdom, knew they needed to address growing customer service challenges caused by billing issues. As their 6 million customers grew, issues in their billing workloads caused problems with their customers and overloaded their support hotline.
The organization’s leaders knew they needed to address these issues in order to qualify for significant financial incentives in the Ofwat water regulator service incentive mechanism (SIM) program. After identifying several options, they decided to take a new approach to fix these operational issues and better position themselves for the Ofwat incentive.
With Redwood, we achieved immediate visibility into any problems that arise so we can rapidly take corrective action. Since implementation, we’ve had no operational overruns.” Chris Waterfield, Business Systems Manager, Anglian Water
The Goal: Proactive Alerting & Consistent Billing Processes
Anglian Water produces 16,000 invoices a day for regulated water, wastewater, and environmental services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers.
The company wanted to improve its customer service while normalizing its billing workload in order to smooth cash flows. This improvement would also help them achieve their goal of ranking first in the Ofwat water regulator service incentive mechanism (SIM) program.
SIM encourages water suppliers to improve customer service by randomly surveying customers about service delivery and then placing survey scores in a league table so customers can compare water company performance. Ofwat rewards each company in the league table with a share of a financial incentive of up to £50 million to maintain and improve its services.
Even with their history — Anglian Water had received numerous accolades including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2020 and was awarded highest ranking by water industry regulator Ofwat — they needed to improve some areas of their operations to qualify for the award.
The key issue behind the customer dissatisfaction? Problems with its overnight billing processes that occurred two or three times a month.
We needed a powerful solution to handle all of this information and make it useful.” Bill Beaver, IT Director, Banner Health
Beyond the operational issues caused by the failures, the errors also result in excessive call center volume from unhappy customers.
Anglian Water had two less-than-satisfactory options for responding to these problems:
Repeat the process: Rerunning processes required time-consuming manual effort, often resulting in more errors, and slowing daily operation across other key systems.
Discard the failed operation: Pushing out the activity to the next day meant that systems were out-of-date for 24 hours and doubled the activities on the following day. With around 30,000 activities total, this strained the entire operation.
But the organization’s leaders felt like there were better ways to achieve their goals, so they tried a new approach — automation systems.
Anglian Water looked at the automation solutions in the market and selected cloud-based RunMyJobs by Redwood. They created a plan to automate and streamline its billing operations, monitor and visualize processes, as well as to orchestrate processes across hybrid environments.
Redwood provides dashboards that display the real-time status of every business process in a visual manner and provides alerts and notifications when something goes wrong. A predictive SLA notified Anglian of any errors before deadlines are missed, so they can be resolved before they impact service.
Now, instead of rerunning or discarding the entire billing process when errors are detected in data, the individual records with problems can be logged for correction without halting the rest of the billing run.
Redwood orchestrates these processes and data across on-premises, cloud, and containerized environments, seamlessly coordinating and integrating legacy applications, data, OS activity and web API interactions to integrate with any system, application, and technology.
The Results: Efficient Billing & Satisfied Customers
With RunMyJobs in place, Anglian was able to quickly improve its billing processes. With Redwood’s proactive monitoring, they were able to spread out the workload, improve customer service, and ensure a regular cash flow. The company also has the visibility necessary to instantly tackle any errors.
As an added benefit, they had consistent call center volumes and up-to-date billing information. And the best part? Anglian Water is now ranked number one on the Ofwat SIM league table and has secured a significant portion of the SIM £50 million financial incentive to improve customer service.
It now doesn’t matter when Ofwat performs a sample survey since all our call centers deliver superior service,” says Waterfield. “Now that we’re at the top of the SIM league table, we have a competitive advantage that enables us to continue to grow our business and further improve service.”