Southern Water workforce to go on customer service course

Under-fire utility firm Southern Water is to send all 1,600 employees on a three-day, off-site training course to improve its ailing customer service.

The firm was fined £20m this week for lying about its customer service performance to regulator Ofwat in 2005.

HR director Tim Cutting said much had been done in the past two years to rectify poor customer service, morale and practices.

He said the training budget was doubled for 2006, increased again by a third for 2007, and would be boosted again next year.

“In 2008, we will put every member of staff through a three-day training course on service to the customer,” he told Personnel Today. “This will focus on our values, branding and commitment to fulfil promises.”

Cutting said the company was committed to HR policies, adding that a staff development committee meets for a whole day every three months “solely to discuss people issues”.

“We have come a long way in two years but have a considerable way to go,” he added.

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