Billpayers under the age of 24 have a more positive overall perception of the water sector than customers in other age bands, new research has found.
Research published in Echo Managed Services’ Generation Z Report: A new wave of customers for water companies found that the demographic scored water companies highest for being responsible, ethical and authentic.
However, as with older customers, affordable bills remains the top priority for Gen Z with 54 per cent saying that outside of providing clean, safe water, this should be the focus for water companies.
Yet environmental concerns still remained among the most important priorities for the demographic. For Gen Z billpayers, promoting water conservation and offering water-saving advice and devices is the second most important issue, cited by more than 35 per cent of respondents.
This is followed by investment in water pipes in order to prevent leaks and wastage (33 per cent).
Almost a third (29 per cent) said providing good customer service was a high priority. Gen Z billpayers and those aged 25 and over also both prioritised helping households to reduce the amount of water they used, as a resource essential to life – this was selected by 22 per cent of Gen Z bill payers and almost 26 per cent of those aged 25 and over.
When asked what services they expect water companies to provide, Gen Z showed much lower awareness around water saving campaigns and the work water companies do to protect and improve local habitats.
Only a third (34 per cent) knew that water companies educate the general public on how to save water, and even fewer (29 per cent) knew that water companies protect and improve local habitats.
The more digitally-savvy younger generation also showed more trust in their supplier sharing their data with third parties and other service providers. In total 41 per cent of Gen Z billpayers said they are happy for this to happen, compared with 22 per cent of the 25+ group.
The report said this shows Gen Z become much more interested in how water companies and other third parties might help them better manage bills or provide a more personalised service.
However, Gen Z billpayers were much more comparable to the older group when it came to still worrying about the security of their data – 34 per cent of Gen Z billpayers said they would worry about this, compared with 38 per cent of the 25+ group.
Vicki Dixon, head of operations at Echo Managed Services, said: “What we do know is that customer satisfaction amongst Gen Z is on the whole lower than that of other age groups. We hope this research will provide some interesting insights for the water sector as it looks to improve this group’s customer satisfaction.
“Positively, Gen Z appears more willing than previous generations to play its part in water efficiency, wanting their water companies to support them in doing this through better promotion of water conservation and better provision of water saving devices and advice.
“As the Gen Z population become renters or home owners for the first time, there is a key opportunity for water companies to create and build a positive relationship with their new customers for the future. A deep understanding of Gen Z’s views of water and the water sector can help companies to best shape their initial contact and the service and contacts that follow.”