Accent MR Accent

Helping South Staffs Water to improve customer service and drive behavioural change


Water companies face a series of increasingly challenging targets against a backdrop of population growth, climate change and environment protection. Whilst many of these challenges will be addressed through the actions of the company there are a number of areas that require behavioural change from customers (for example, reduce the amount of water each customer consumes).

Against this backdrop, South Staffs Water wanted to develop a more personalised approach to customer service to ensure that the right information was being delivered to customers in a way that was most appropriate for them. It was agreed that a segmentation study was required to highlight the needs of different customers and to evaluate their service and communications preferences.


After a stakeholder workshop we conducted 800+ interviews using a combined online and telephone survey approach. Having identified five segments through statistical analysis, we ran a series of focus groups and to test and refine these segments further. Additionally, a series of products and communications approaches were tested to gauge their appeal. A second stage of quantitative research was used to refine key questions to identify individual segments, measure and robustly to establish service and communications preferences for each. This was followed by a series of stakeholder workshops to introduce the different personas to the business.


South Staffs Water are now starting to use the segmentation and detailed personality profiling across their business to ensure that the services they offer and the way they communicate are as compelling as possible for each of the different personality types.

“Accent pulled together our first ever attitudinal segmentation through a well-executed 3 stage research project. Rachel then led a workshop with key people from across customer facing roles to help bring the segments to life through exercises and videos – a real eye opener to thinking about new ways of how we can make life better for our customers. We're now just starting a journey to build our offering and communications around these segments - to allow us to offer the more personalised service our customers have told us they want. We're continuing to refine the segmentation in partnership with Accent as we learn more about our customers.”
Nick Hollaway, South Staffs Water