3 lessons utility companies can learn from Scottish Power

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Use an intelligent voice response to transform your contact strategy

Earlier this week it was announced that a hefty fine of £18m would be dished out to Scottish Power, by Ofgem, after more than one million complaints were received against the energy supplier over a two year period.

“Unacceptably” lengthy call waiting times, complaint resolution, as well as late final bills were all at the crux of the investigation by Ofgem, which highlighted their failures to provide even the basic level of service required during and after the supplier’s implementation of new IT systems.

The fine, which is the third largest to be dished out by Ofgem, in addition to consumer research from the likes of Which, all highlight the need for sufficient contingency plans and the need to better position consumers at the heart of service quality every time. Either that or pay the price.

Almost 80% of contact centres feel that their current customer service infrastructure doesn’t support the anticipated, future needs of their consumers (Parature). Are you among them?

Incorporate the right amount of pre-planning and the right systems and you can ensure a smooth handover in the adoption of a new digital communication strategy.

1. Minimise call waiting

25% of customers switch providers because they are tired of being kept on hold (New Voice). It’s only natural to get frustrated when you can’t get the answers that you need, at the time you need them. Implementing a Voice Callback solution enables customers to request a call from your company at a time that suits them.

Reduce the time your customers spend on the path to a live agent by decreasing the number of options they’re given on their call path. Adopt an Interactive Voice System that automates, communicates and better understands customer requests.

2. Avoid delayed billing

Reliance on direct mail to communicate with your customers can often leave a sour taste; wasted paper, lengthy delivery times, lost post, a heavy reliance on staff to send them, in addition to the possibilities of them being going unread. More than 300,000 customers received late final bills from Scottish Power which meant some customers were left out of pocket.

Consider sending automated emails or text messages for instant delivery of critical information about balances or methods of payment. Where you want to direct customers to make payments, adopt a Mobile Payment Journey to provide one complete and engaging solution.

3. Proactively seek to resolve complaints

It is estimated that 35,309 complaints were received by the Energy Ombudsman concerning customer service and communication between January and June 2015, a huge increase of 55% on 2014 statistics. (USwitch) If you’re not making moves to resolve your customer’s issues then it’s likely they’ll no longer invest in you.

Consider sending a quarterly SMS Survey out to your customers to see how you’re doing before it’s too late to make a change.  Only 24% of customers stick around to see if the company will resolve their issues within a reasonable amount of time (Zendesk); make sure yours stick with you by making informed improvements.

82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service (Zendesk), but Ofgem’s investigation showcases that customer service isn’t just about investing in the right people, but the right technology.

To find out more about how Esendex’s product suite can help build your multichannel customer experience contact us on 0345 356 5758.                      

Author Avatar
Nadya Ahmed

Customer Acquisition Manager

I'm Customer Acquisition Manager at Esendex with a background in digital marketing and content curation. I have a keen interest in emerging, innovative technologies and am passionate about their place in multiple sectors.