Scottish Southern Energy (SSE) have recently decided to put their money where their mouth is in regards to customer service and are paying consumers £20 per service failure. This news is extremely timely. A survey, carried out by uSwitch, has revealed that 60% of us now actively distrust our energy suppliers.
The biggest customer gripe is that we do not feel we are getting value for money (48% of respondents). 33% of us are irked by the fact that suppliers do nothing to help us reduce our bills. Although consumers can of course vote with their feet and switch supplier, it seems that many of us just don’t have the time or inclination to do this and would like advice from our current supplier on how to save energy.
Communication is another key area for consumer concern, with 37% of us feeling that there is a distinct lack of openness in the relationship between energy giants and their customers. With gas and electricity bills becoming increasingly difficult to understand, it is no surprise that a quarter of us cite this as a major irritation. Then, of course, there is the thorny problem of being able to speak to the right person when we phone our supplier with a query. 12% of us said that energy companies make it hard for the consumer to communicate with them.
Conversely the 40% of respondents who turned out to be happy with their supplier cited easy-to-understand bills and other information, good customer service, ability to communicate and a helpful attitude as being major factors in their satisfaction.
Ann Robinson of uSwitch advises consumers to shop around. With potential savings of £250 to be made, the power is in the hands of the customer. She also advises consumers to let the energy suppliers know that they are not satisfied with the progress being made in the area of customer service.