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Bournemouth & West Hampshire Waters uses WITNESS simulation software from the Lanner Group to optimise call handling


The combined power of WITNESS and Lanner Consulting has once again produced some very impressive results in collaboration with Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water. Working within the Customer Services Bureau, the key outcomes achieved were:

  • Eliminating ‘calls forced busy’ (i.e. lost customer telephone calls) to virtually zero
  • Achieving an overall rate of 90% of all calls answered 
  • Realising the required OFWAT performance level with figures of 89% calls answered within 30 seconds
  • Generating a positive change in adviser behaviour

The business benefit gained has directly supported the strategic company objectives of Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water by:

  • Increasing customer satisfaction which will generate customer loyalty and retention with the prospect of deregulation
  • Achieving ‘good’ OFWAT grading to generate income to the company and provide competitive market return to shareholders

These results were achieved by using the following methods:


An initial healthcheck of the Customer Services Bureau was carried out to establish the current situation. The healthcheck provided valuable management decision support information on:

  • Working practices in the Bureau
  • Equipment utilisation
  • The attitude and behaviour of Bureau staff
  • Analysis of improvement opportunities and
    potential solutions
  • The benefit of adopting a simulation approach

The main issue was the high volume of calls ‘forced busy’ that was impacting on customer satisfaction and achievement of OFWAT performance targets. There were a number of solution options (IVR, staff task allocation, call queuing, call reception, etc.) to be evaluated. Clear value was established in using a simulation approach to quantify the benefits of each option.


A dynamic WITNESS simulation model of the Customer Services Bureau was constructed allowing each option (and combinations) to be evaluated against call performance outcomes. The equivalent cost to have performed these model scenarios in a live environment was calculated at £36k. The result was a clear recommendation on the optimum way forward to meet the objective of Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water ‘to be able to handle all calls and correspondence coming into the Bureau, to an acceptable level of service without forced busy, given constraints on resources and costs’.


Lanner supported Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water through the key planning and solution implementation stages, to generate tangible and significant business benefits. This involved the use of WITNESS as a live resource-planning tool, in addition to its role as a strategic decision support tool.

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