The UK energy regulator, Ofgem, has described the customer service offered by the Big Six energy companies in the UK as ‘frankly awful’. This verdict was reached as the results of a national survey of energy companies was concluded – a survey Ofgem undertakes every two years to gauge how customers feel about their energy providers.
The results this year are so bad that Ofgem has vowed to repeat the research in 2015 rather than waiting for 2016. The regulator has powers to issue penalties and has threatened that companies not making a serious effort to improve their customer service will be fined or face other measures.
The UK energy market is one of the most flexible in the world allowing customers the easy ability to switch provider and many of the smaller companies – outside the Big Six – are using customer service as a key differentiator now.
This competition should naturally make the larger providers want to improve, but the present level of service as documented by Ofgem is shocking. Each customer complaint required the customer to contact their provider an average of six times before resolution – so much for measuring those issues resolved on an initial call.
It will be fascinating to see the Ofgem research when published in 2015. Will the competition from smaller companies be more of a push than censure from Ofgem and will the entire industry manage to improve considerably within just a year?
What are your views on customer service in the UK energy industry? Do you have any ideas on what needs to be improved first? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @matt_sims1.
Photo by Bert Kaufmann licensed under Creative Commons