Water company says 'sorry' for billing shamblesSouthern Water blames system 'teething problems'
10 May 2007
A water company today placed full-page adverts in newspapers apologising to customers experiencing difficulties in contacting it by telephone.
Southern Water said it has had 'teething trouble' with its £20 million billing system which was introduced at its call centre in Worthing, West Sussex, in February.
The firm, which provides water and wastewater treatment to about two million customers in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, said many had failed to get through to its call centre and others did not receive new payment cards.
A radio advert started today apologising to customers, coinciding with adverts in local newspapers across south-east England under the headline 'We're Sorry'.
Director of customer services Andy Watson said: 'We are sorry for the issues we are causing our customers and thank them for their patience as we put the problems right.
'Ultimately, our new system will help deliver major improvements to raise our standards of customer service and I would reassure everyone that once the system is bedded in they will see a vastly improved level of service.'
He added that more than 100 staff had been hired to bring the number of people dealing with customer service inquiries to more than double that of 18 months ago.
The company has also upgraded its website, and all customers have now received their new payment cards.
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