Insufficient customer orientation
Organizations fail to focus on who they are supposed to serve.
Risk type: Cause
Risk driver: Internal
A lack of orientation towards the customers of water-related products and services presents an integrity risk for utilities, SMEs, and public institutions alike. Organizations may fail to focus on who they are supposed to serve and what the needs are, resulting in poor performance and credibility. Customers may not be aware of their rights and obligations or simply refuse to cooperate, e.g. by not paying for services or illegally obstructing or polluting water. Customers may also accuse an organization of corruption in order to blackmail. Despite the monopolistic character of utilities, customer satisfaction plays a critical role for them. The same holds true for SMEs that serve customers and are not merely contractors to other organizations. In addition, public institutions such as regulators have an obligation towards the customers of water-related products and services. An insufficient customer orientation can jeopardize their legitimacy.
- Lack of repeat business and referrals1
- Few or no channels through which feedback from customers is collected2
- Few or no channels through which customers are alerted about service changes2
- Outdated or little data on customers
- Large number of customer complaints without response
Baietti, A., Kingdom, W., and van Ginneken, M., 2006, Characteristics of Well- Performing Public Water Utilities, Water Supply Sanitation Working Notes
Wanyakala, T. A., 2011, Customer-oriented reforms in urban public water supply in Uganda, A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Historical problems in urban public water supply in Uganda3
Target group: Utilities
An interview with one of the former ministers in charge of water further illustrates the historical problems, and the limited success of previous supply-led reform efforts for improvement. He argued that a lack of focus on crucial performance targets to meet customer demands was a major problem that had undermined performance in urban water […] In particular, he claimed that financial, institutional, organizational and managerial bottlenecks largely constrained the performance of the corporation, especially in responding to the requirements of both existing and potential customers. The former minister, drawing on his anti-colonial activism, blamed the persistent water supply problems on the colonial era, when population growth surrounding urban areas was not well anticipated, prioritised and planned for. This situation, he argued, was compounded by petty corruption amongst water staff, indifferent customers, unjustifiably high water rates and general resource constraints that affected the sustainability of the supply.
- Oranges, R., 2011, ‘Customer Service Focused’ or ‘Customer Oriented’ -Which best describes your business?, Vision Quest, http://www.vquestfilms.com/blog/2011/10/customer-service-focused-or-customer-oriented-which-best-describes-your-business/, accessed 19.10.2015
- Baietti, A., Kingdom, W., and van Ginneken, M., 2006, Characteristics of Well- Performing Public Water Utilities, Water Supply Sanitation Working Notes
- Wanyakala, T. A., 2011, Customer-oriented reforms in urban public water supply in Uganda, A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy