Bath-based Wessex Water, the water and sewerage company, has been highly praised for its commitment to customers in potentially vulnerable circumstances.
Wessex Water was independently assessed for implementing the requirements of the British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision, which acknowledges that its staff can help customers who may be dealing with mental health problems, illnesses or disabilities, unemployment, bereavement or other personal problems.
Sue Lindsay, Wessex Water’s director of customer policy and engagement, said: “No-one knows when they might need help and we believe it is important to ensure our services are accessible and inclusive and meet the needs of our customers at all times.
“We have always led the way when it comes to helping people with affordability problems or particular needs, such as providing bills in braille and languages other than English.
“However, this latest achievement recognises that we go even further to help customers in any circumstance they may find themselves in.”
Wessex Water teamed up with Wiltshire Mind for the assessment, providing mental health awareness training to all customer-facing staff.
The charity helped employees to recognise the signs of mental illness and deal with them appropriately.
The assessment, backed by national consumer bodies and the government, also demonstrated Wessex Water’s commitment to providing easily accessible support for customers – including staff answering the phone within a couple of rings and online services.
For deaf and hard of hearing customers, the company has been awarded the Louder Than Words charter mark from deaf awareness charity Action On Hearing Loss.
Sue added: “We are continually looking at ways we can provide customers with the best possible experience when they deal with us and to tailor our service to suit their individual needs.”