CRT has recently circulated its findings from a survey of its moorings customers. We have posted a copy on the web site here. There are many findings of interest but the key ones for me are that;
Satisfaction with maintenance is low. Only 22% of customers thought maintenance services were good or excellent. Only 31% of customers felt the quality of repairs when done were good or excellent.
Despite this two thirds of moorings customers (66%) volunteer with CRT at least once a quarter, (though doubtless some of this effort is related to voluntary maintenance of the mooring where they berth their boat).
The report acknowledges some of the ways that moorers contribute to maintenance of moorings and the local vicinity:
−General maintenance – grass cutting, tree pruning, cutting back brambles
−Litter picking, cleaning up dog poo
−Clearing snow – keeping the towpath accessible
−Planting flowers/contributing financially to this
−Writing a newsletter for local boaters
−Cleaning shower block
−Cleaning out debris from canal
As a mooring Customer of many years this is the first time that anything even close to a comprehensive survey of mooring services has been attempted. CRT advise that an action plan to try to improve services is being written and customers like myself await this with interest.
Published maintenance standards, particularly response times and the question of seeing items repaired promptly and 'right first time' are from my own experience a key issue that CRT need to address to improve satisfaction.
Explaining more generally what customers should expect for their fees is something else we have long pressed for and is something both previous Waterways Ombudsmen have pressed BW now CRT to improve.
'Another issue which can arise for any moorers but which is probably more keenly felt by residential boaters, relates to the level and type of services provided at a mooring. This arose in Case No 495 this year, but it is not the first time I have raised the concerns in this area. In my 2006-07 annual report I raised my concern that the lack of clear information for moorers about what services will be provided in their mooring contract. It appears that the situation has not improved since then. In Case No 495 the moorer was paying over £5000 for the mooring in 2010-11. As I said in my report, I cannot think of many services, for which people would pay such a large annual fee, and which affects them so significantly, for which the service they will receive is so poorly defined. Neither the general terms and conditions nor the site rules provided any clear information about that.'
Waterways Ombudsman Report 2010-11 page 14 – http://www.waterways-ombudsman.org/docs/Annualreports201to11final.pdf
One hopes that this survey may mark the start of a long awaited change on this front and a concerted attempt to improve in this area: The volunteering figures show that Boaters are an asset to CRT not just as paying customers. I for one hope that this survey finally helps reinforce that fact in CRT thinking for the future.