The customer service challenge for energy suppliers

The customer service challenge for energy suppliers image
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At the end of February Ofgem published the results of their Energy Consumer Satisfaction Survey – which made for worrying reading.  Customer satisfaction with the service they received from their energy suppliers continues to drop – with customers saying that they struggle to contact their supplier when they have an issue, feel their complaints aren’t being listened to, and their queries taking too long to resolve.

Whilst these grievances aren’t new, it’s clear that suppliers are struggling to make improvements in the way they service customers, and as we exit the tricky winter period, it’s unlikely that these results will have improved.  But in a challenging operating period, and when margins continue to be squeezed between the price cap and wholesale energy costs, just how can energy suppliers turn their customer service around?

Making sure the technology is right for your business.

Getting the tech set up right for your customer service is key to delivering successful outcomes.  Customers today want to contact their suppliers via multiple channels – online and offline – so ensuring that you can manage multi or omnichannel engagement is key.  Customers will often raise complaints via multiple routes which can cause confusion – are your systems set up to manage multiple touchpoints?  AI and RPA can help you deliver first touch management – but are you escalation processes optimised?  Can your customers speak to a ‘real person’ if their enquiry can’t be managed through an automated route?

Ensuring your people are trained – in the right way.

Getting your customer service right depends on giving your people the tools they need to do a great job.  And that shouldn’t just be a focus on call scripts and systems training.  A key part of delivering a great customer service experience is ensuring that customers are treated with empathy and respect.  Training your people on active listening skills can really help to ensure that customers with complaints feel that they are being listened to, that agents aren’t just following a script and are genuinely trying to help them resolve their issue.  And that leads us onto our third point;

Empowering your people to fix first time.

A key way to deliver a successful customer service experience is ensuring that any inbound complaint or request is dealt with quickly and effectively.   Well trained, empathetic agents should be empowered to manage a fix from end to end, and as quickly as possible – which not only satisfies the original customer, but also prevents knock on impacts on service as customers will contact multiple times to check on their status of their issue, causing numbers to escalate.  By empowering your people to proactively manage issues, including keeping customers informed of the status of their complaint, you not only deliver a far better customer experience but also reduce pressure on inbound channels.

As an experienced customer service provider to Utilities, we can help you navigate the tricky customer service periods with ease.  Find out here how we worked with Ireland’s Utilities regulator to manage high customer demand as energy prices soared last winter.


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