A man and a woman in PPEstand on a gangway above a water treatment facility checking things off on a clipboard

Yorkshire Water

Originally using a numbers-based service approach, Yorkshire Water wanted a step-change in the service element of their customer experience strategy. They needed a method to capture the human element of customer service; The WOW! Awards helped them to uncover their service stories, those ‘feel-good’ moments of living their Customer Promise every day.


Yorkshire Water manage the collection, treatment and distribution of water in Yorkshire, supplying around 1.24 billion litres of drinking water each day. At the same time they also collect, treat and dispose of about one billion litres of waste water safely back into the environment.

To do this they operate more than 700 water and sewage treatment works and 120 reservoirs. They also look after 62,000 miles of water and sewerage mains – enough pipework to circulate the earth! Yorkshire Water do more than just water and sewerage services. They are also one of Yorkshire’s largest landowners and have opened a lot of their land for customers to enjoy.

The challenge

Yorkshire Water are constantly looking to improve their service offering to customers. They are in a unique position whereby their customers don’t have a choice of service provider, but one of their company values is to treat their customers as though they do have a choice (and could switch) and that the business should perform in a way that would always make Yorkshire Water ‘the preferred supplier’ of customers. With over 3000 members of staff, Yorkshire Water is a large organisation and by its very nature spread across multiple locations, making individual staff recognition a difficult task. Yorkshire Water wanted to uncover stories of excellence amongst their employees that would otherwise have gone unseen.

They also wanted to recognise those that showcased their organisation’s values; those that went above and beyond the call of duty in providing excellent customer care. Through acknowledging brilliant service and thanking colleagues, Yorkshire Water felt this would help further employee engagement and understanding around their customer service vision and customer promise.

Our brand is about putting people at the heart of what we do. We reached out to The WOW! Awards to help us bring to life this brand value.

Yorkshire Water

The approach

Yorkshire Water initially trialled The WOW! Awards with a small group of teams. It had a successful uptake as they put a heavy focus on internal communications and engagement in the run up to the launch, using posters, flyers, slide decks and welcoming questions from their employees.

The outcome

At ground level, having The WOW! Awards running alongside their complaints procedure enables Yorkshire Water to view their customer service offering in the round – celebrating and repeating company behaviours that customers love whilst also adjusting their customer service strategy around any negative feedback.

The results speak for themselves – the number of compliments has steadily grown over the last 18 months as the programme has got underway, and of particular note has been the number of customers who have been in contact to highlight cases where Yorkshire Water colleagues have gone above and beyond to help vulnerable customers

This is what keeps me motivated at work, seeing that even during a global pandemic our colleagues are delivering amazing customer experience and our customers are taking the time to pay us a compliment.

Jessica Collinge

Head of Customer Service Experience Strategy, Yorkshire Water