Thinking of switching your business water retailer? Ask these questions to ensure your new business water supplier measures up!

The right business water retailer is one that’s robust, invested in your customer experience, and committed to helping you save water and cut costs. To avoid kissing any frogs, ask these 10 questions before you switch!

Can you get an instant quote?

Your time is precious, both in the office and out. If getting a quote from a business water retailer isn’t a relatively quick process, then it could be an indication of a poor overall customer experience. There are of course exceptions to this, and it may be the case that your quote simply requires closer attention from an experienced member of their quote team. If the process feels too long and clunky, then trust your instinct on this one and move on.

Do they offer quick, online self-service options?

A business water retailer that has invested in quick self-service tools on a website that’s easy to navigate, is one that has put the needs of its customers first. Can you pay your bill and submit a meter reading in just a few clicks? Tools like this make it easy for you to ensure you get accurate bills and help to avoid any late payment charges. If your business water retailer offers this, then you’re on to a winner!

Do they have a customer portal?

A customer cortal is another clear sign that a business water retailer has considered and cares about its customer’s needs. Good Customer Portals take a great deal of time and money to develop, so providing one demonstrates their commitment to ensuring an excellent customer experience. A Customer Portal puts you in control of your account by providing a wealth of information at your fingertips, that will help you save time and money.

Can their customer service measure up?

“Good service is all about customer service over the phone.” Not in today’s world. This way of thinking is outdated, as good customer service is about so much more than that. A business water retailer needs robust systems in place in order to meet the high levels of service you expect. Look for businesses that have been independently accredited for their service standards. ISO is one of the most rigorous and well-regarded standards in the world. You can rely on a retailer that has been accredited with ISO 9001. ISO 9001 means a business has demonstrated its products and services meet the needs of customers through an effective quality management system (QMS). Effective QMS means improved overall performance and a high level of quality customer service.

Easy access to good customer service is equally important. Find out if they offer lots of different ways to get in touch, such as phone, email, instant online chat, and if they are willing to interact with customers on social media.

Every business water retailer should be able to provide you with detailed statistics regarding their customer service levels. Independent third-party review sites, such as Trustpilot, can also give a good indication of the overall satisfaction levels amongst their customers.

Will they still be around in a few years?

Often forgotten, but extremely important, is the viability of your business water retailer. You need to be sure you chose a business water retailer that can support your business for years to come. Since January 2018, many UK utility providers have gone bust, affecting hundreds of thousands of customers. You need to be confident your business water retailer has the stability in the market to guarantee your business lasting service, value and support, now and into the future. What is their market share? What were their profit and loss figures last year? What is their credit score? The answers to all these questions can help you determine the stability and longevity of a business water retailer.

Can they help you to reduce your business water consumption?

Your business water retailer should be actively helping your business to save water and save money. If they offer a wide range of free and practical advice about reducing your business water consumption, that’s a great indication that they are working for you! Find out if they make it easy to submit regular meter readings so you can regulate your consumption and monitor your bills accurately. Great retailers will offer additional services too, such as Automatic Meter Reading (AMR). AMR is a smart meter that is attached to your existing water meter, that regularly submits accurate meter reads for you, so you can sit back and enjoy precise billing - if only everything else was that easy!

Do they offer the billing option that suits you?

To make billing easier for you, and to help support efficiency, good retailers will have a range of billing options for you to choose from. You may need Single Site Billing for a separate bill for each account, or you may prefer the benefits of one simple, summarised bill Consolidated Billing offers. Some larger organisations required EDI billing. Find out if the retailer offers a billing option that fit seamlessly with the processes you already have in place.

Can you be sure your bills are accurate?

Ask how the business water retailer will calculate your bill. Remember to look for retailers that offer easy ways to regularly submit your own meter readings, so you can ensure accurate bills and avoid any late payment charges.

For wastewater and trade effluent customers, ask your retailer to provide a detailed breakdown of all the aspects of their bill.

Utility bills can be complex, so make sure your retailer has a good understanding of all the elements to produce an accurate bill, and check if they offer ways to help you understand your bill.

How do you know you’re getting the best deal?

Perhaps the most important question. Ask your retailer what they’re doing to make sure they’re getting the best deal for you. Ask about their track record, pricing structure and what they do to get the best prices for their customers. Some water retailers are tied to the wholesaler in their area, meaning they’re less likely challenge the wholesaler about unfair pricing. Independent retailers with no links to wholesalers can fight for cost reductions while offering quality customer care.

Can they tell you about the laws you have to comply with?

Water and wastewater management can include legal compliance that needs to be adhered to. Your water retailer should have a detailed understanding of all the necessary paperwork that needs to be completed for your business to be compliant. Ask your water retailer what consent your business needs for its water and wastewater uses. Your retailer should also be able to tell you what allowances your company is eligible to apply for relating to drainage, leaks and trade effluent.

The water market is open for your business to shop around for the best deal and the best service.