Claire Sharp has been appointed Customer Director for Northumbrian Water to lead the company’s service to its 4.5 million customers in the North East and in Essex and Suffolk.
She succeeds Ian Donald who has moved to the new role of Market Reform Director as the water industry looks towards the full introduction of competition for all business customers by 2017.
Claire, who lives in Weardale, County Durham is originally from Seaton Sluice, Northumberland.
Claire has extensive experience of the water industry and customer service. She started her career with the then Northumbrian Water Authority in 1986 as a distribution technician helping to deal with customer inquiries.
Since then, Claire, aged 45, has held a number of senior management roles in operations, leisure, organisation development, marketing and communications.
Just over a decade ago Claire returned to frontline customer operations, leading billing and contact centre teams to drive forward customer service strategy.
Before taking up her new role of Customer Director, Claire was Distribution Manager, leading the 380 strong team who look after 17,500km of water network across the North East of England and keep excellent quality drinking water flowing to customers.
In parallel with her water industry career, Claire has completed a Honours Degree in Business and a Masters in Leadership.
Claire now heads up a directorate of over 600 employees and is spearheading the company’s continued drive to deliver excellent service. “Our vision is to provide unrivalled service to every one of our customers and the communities we serve,” she said.
“We provide essential water and sewerage services and our customers rightly expect those services to provide exceptional value for money and be of a consistently high quality. We regularly listen to our customers and make sure our services reflect what’s important to them. We are already industry leading in many areas such as interruptions to supply and have made significant improvements in other aspects of customer service.
“Central to this is strong leadership and high levels of employee engagement. We have fantastic people across our company who are passionate about delivering great service round the clock for our customers. It’s my responsibility to make sure they are supported to be ready and able to do this.
“Whether we’re answering calls or using social media to keep customers informed, visiting people at their homes or businesses, carrying out emergency repairs or undertaking longer term investment for future generations, we always aim to do this with our customers in mind,” she said.
As Director, Claire is responsible for the customer relations around drinking water supply and waste water treatment for Northumbrian Water’s 2.7 million customers in the North East and 1.8million drinking water customers in the south where the company operates as Essex & Suffolk Water.
Claire added: “We are one of the best water companies in the country for delivering top quality service. I’m privileged and excited to lead our quest not only to be best in industry but to be recognised as a company that consistently delivers world class customer service.”
“We’ve a great team of people and I’m confident that we will succeed.”
Opportunities can be arranged for media interviews with Claire.
For further media information contact: Alistair Baker, PR & Media Manager, 0191-3016851 / 07711 793493.