BLOG: Ofwat’s Market Outcomes and Enforcement Programme Director, Giles Stevens, discusses how the market is working for small businesses
We held two seminars with SME businesses in London and Birmingham to hear directly from them about their awareness and understanding of the newly competitive water retail market and what they wanted from that market.
In the early weeks and months of the market we have heard from a number of those involved – retailers, wholesalers, brokers and comparison sites, trade bodies and business groups and, of course, individual customers.
We are very clear that for this market to be working, it needs to work for all businesses – including small and micro businesses. That is why we hosted these sessions where we heard the unvarnished thoughts of those who are dealing with the market, and who we want to benefit from the market.
And it was fascinating. There was a clear interest in the savings that might be possible, in better customer service – especially with billing, bundling with other services, and water efficiency advice.
But, the experience of those at the session was that awareness of the market still needs to be higher and that new entrants need to get quicker and slicker at meeting customers’ needs. This is something all of us in the sector need to hear and respond to.
This is not the end of the conversation, we will continue to work with customers and SMEs to understand their thoughts and test our thinking and regulation of the market, to make sure it works for all.