Utilities and customer service
This week Scottish Power became the first of the big UK utilities to announce price increases, a move that its competitors are expected to follow shortly. At the same time, regulator OFGEM has criticised utilities for product and price complexity in its Retail Market Review.
Both of these factors place a great emphasis on how utilities are performing when it comes to customer service – particularly as in many cases they are encouraging consumers to interact with them through email and the web rather than expensive letter or telephone channels.
So how are utilities doing? The sector was one of those surveyed in the Eptica Multichannel Customer Service Study, which has just been released.
The study researched how well companies, such as utilities, answered basic questions both online and through email, as well as their use of social media for customer service. The study found some major flaws in customer service across the utility sector. While all ten companies surveyed published email addresses, only 80 per cent acknowledged receipt of customers email enquiries, with the same number providing an answer to emailed questions. But then only 40 per cent of utilities actually properly answered the question the customer asked! The information agents are providing simply isn’t good enough. And on average utilities websites could only provide answers to 52 per cent of routine customer service questions– hardly a top notch online customer experience. While there was a gulf between the best and worst performers all in all performance was distinctly average – hardly the way to win and retain customers when prices are being increased.
To register for a copy of the Eptica Multichannel Customer Service Study simply click here.