Customer perspectives

Stijn Brouwer MA MSc PhD

  • Start date
    01 Aug 2018
  • End date
    31 Dec 2018
  • Principal
  • collaborating partners

It is becoming increasingly clear that one can no longer generalise about drinking water customers. This project reveals the existence of drinking water customers with different perspectives for all of the Netherlands and in De Watergroep’s supply area in Flanders.

The first KWR study of the diversity of customer convictions, values and assumptions regarding drinking water was carried out in 2015. The study distinguished four different perspectives:

  1. drinking water customers with an egalitarian & solidary, that is, ‘they’ perspective;
  2. drinking water customers with an aware & involved, that is, ‘we’ perspective;
  3. drinking water customers with an egocentric & quality-oriented, that is, ‘I’ perspective and
  4. drinking water customers with a sober & trusting, that is, ‘you’ perspective.

The ‘Customer Perspectives’ project focuses on the question of how the different perspectives are distributed throughout the Netherlands and in De Watergroep’s supply area in Flanders. For example, do more customers with an aware & involved perspective live in cities or indeed in the country? How different are the perspectives of customers in, say, Zeeland and Groningen? And do the desires and concerns of customers with higher educational levels differ from those with lower ones?

Large-scale customer research

To get a picture of the diversity of customer perspectives, the research – building on the 2015 study which identified the four customer perspectives – makes use of a large-scale online quantitative survey. The survey includes a ‘willingness to pay’ component, which shows the degree to which each customer group would accept a possible price increase associated with specific improvements.

Besides the more precise quantification (how many?) and localisation (where?) of the different customer perspectives, the project also involves a socio-scientific interpretation of the research results.


  • Insight into the diversity of customers with different expectations, desires, concerns and needs.
  • Quantification and localisation of different customer perspectives.
  • Knowledge about the regional and/or company-specific differences between drinking water customers.
  • Socio-scientific interpretation of (differences in) customer perspectives.

Drinking water companies can draw on this knowledge about the perception and experience of their customers to further match their service provision to the diversity of (individual) customers who have different expectations, desires, concerns and needs. In addition, this research provides a solid foundation for the further configuration of socio-scientific research within KWR.