Complaints about UK energy companies have been steadily falling in recent months and customer watchdog, Consumer Focus, has pointed out that the first quarter of 2012 had seen a massive 7% more customer satisfaction than its predecessor in the late quarter of 2011.
The average amount of complaints per 100,000 customers was only 77 people for the six biggest energy providers:
- British Gas
- Scottish Power
- Scottish & Southern
This average is of course across the board, there are some companies who are not doing as well as others.
Consumer Focus gave a rating of zero to national firm EDF. This was due to its rise in customer complaints.
EDF received 195 complaints about their customer service out of 100,000 customers, making their performance the worst out of the big companies.
Small Energy Companies Have the Edge
A spokesperson from business energy comparison site Make It Cheaper had this to say:
“According to our own research among business customers, it’s the smaller energy companies that have a better reputation than the Big Six. ‘Fast and friendly’ is what we heard most of all when we asked for the things that make their customer service stand out. With the customers who were most dis-satisfied with their energy supplier we found that 55% were unhappy with billing issues and 40% found their customer service attitude to be below par. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve launched a service that’s dedicated to taking care of any issues that customers need resolving with their energy supplier at any point in their contract.”
EDF Disappointed by the Results
In retort to the score given by the consumer watch dog, a spokesperson from EDF said, “We are obviously disappointed that our service levels are not at the high standards we expect and our customers deserve,” They also explained that there are “clear signs of progress since April, with complaints falling by 25%”.
Consumer Focus claims the company had made, “big commitments” about improving their customer service. Only the next quarterly report will show just how well they are able to stick to them. In the end, smaller suppliers had the edge in consumer satisfaction, and they have no plans of giving that up easily.
Customer Service is Key
When it comes to competition in today’s business landscape, customer service is what companies need to focus on, and large companies are at an inherent disadvantage. With their customer base comes the need for scale, and personalized customer service does not scale well. Overcoming consumer dissatisfaction gets increasingly harder as your workforce grows and you become more dependent on Customer Relationship Management software suites.
Only time will tell if the largest energy providers can make a big enough turn around in their customer satisfaction, but until they do, small energy providers are leading the way!