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Date : 05/15/2012

Bristol Water and Wessex Water invest in Eptica to drive customer service excellence

Utility joint venture Bristol Wessex Billing Services to use centralised knowledge management system to meet OFWAT service targets

Reading, 15th May 2012: Eptica, the leading European solution for Multi channel Customer Interaction Management, today announced that Bristol Wessex Billing Services Limited (BWBSL), the joint venture that handles billing customer service for Bristol Water and Wessex Water, will implement its dynamic, self-learning, knowledge management software to power consistent customer service and meet OFWAT Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) regulatory targets across the two separate companies.

BWBSL will use Eptica’s software to create a centralised source of customer service information that covers both Bristol Water and Wessex Water customers. This will initially be used within BWBSL’s billing contact centre to deliver fast, consistent, accurate answers to telephone customer service enquiries for each company, increasing First Contact Resolution (FCR) and reducing Average Handle Times (AHT) for calls. Future plans include extending Eptica’s knowledge management software across other service channels and into other business areas within BWBSL, Wessex Water and Bristol Water. Both Bristol Water and Wessex Water were ranked in the top 5 in regulator OFWAT’s first Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) report, published in October 2011. SIM is a new metric designed to encourage better service in the sector, while allowing customers to compare the performance of their water company with others. SIM scores combine quantitative and qualitative data to measure the experience of customers who have contacted their water company. OFWAT intends to use data from future SIM reports for conside

“Delivering excellent customer service has always been one of the key strategic objectives for both Bristol Water and Wessex Water. However while we’ve traditionally scored highly in this area, expectations are always rising so we knew we needed to innovate to ensure that customers always get the right answer to their queries,” said Mike McGowan, Head of Customer Services, Bristol and Wessex Billing Services Limited. “By using Eptica we will be able to provide our frontline staff with quick access to the information they need to do their jobs as well as benefiting from a system that can be easily extended to deliver the same answers across multiple channels and to centralise knowledge for all our operations.”

Bristol Water delivers water to over 1.16 million people while Wessex Water provides both water and sewerage services for 2.7 million customers. The two separate companies created BWBSL to increase efficiency around their billing and customer service functions.

“Bristol Water and Wessex Water have already established an industry-wide reputation for excellent customer service, delivered efficiently through their joint venture Bristol Wessex Billing Services and we look forward to working with them to continue this leadership,” said Paul Barnes, Managing Director, Eptica UK. “With the advent of metrics such as the Service Incentive Mechanism, OFWAT has reinforced the vital importance of customer service in the water industry and this new implementation demonstrates how Eptica can assist utilities to deliver consistent, accurate and efficient multichannel customer service.”

BWBSL will implement Eptica through a staged roll out. 130 contact centre agents will be part of the first phase, scheduled to go live in July 2012 with up to an additional 150 users added by the end of 2012. Other departments can then be on the system in 2013.