Complaints are of huge importance to us as they show us where we’re not meeting our customers’ expectations. Our latest complaints performance for the first quarter of 2015 covers the period 1 January to 31 March. It includes British Gas and me (mobile energy) performance and that of our partnership brand Sainsbury’s Energy.[1]

Quarterly complaints performance – British Gas Residential

Reporting period Complaints
received

Received per
100k customer accounts

Complaints
resolved

Resolved per
100k customer accounts

% resolved
same or next working day

% resolved
within 8 weeks

Q1 2014 462,334 3,084 461,421 3,078 79.5% 96.2%
Q2 2014 426,517 2,844 428,992 2,860 78.4% 95.6%
Q3 2014 405,556 2,725 403,809 2,713 77.3% 94.3%
Q4 2014 419,999 2,851 422,609 2,869 75.3% 94.0%
Q1 2015
446,766 3,051 439,796 3,003 75.1% 94.5%

How we're performing

Top five complaint reasons and plans to address

Top five complaint reasons

As a percentage of the total complaints received Q1 2014 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014
Q1 2015
Billing 23% 27% 26% 22% 24%
Payments
23% 21% 22% 25% 23%
Customer Service[3] 17% 16% 16% 16% 16%
Metering
10% 8% 9% 10% 10%
Communication
-
7% 7%
7%
8%

Payments

There are a number of things that can affect the volume of payment related complaints we receive which include seasonality, tariff changes and explanation of payment plans, so we’re making it a priority to do everything we can to make our customers' lives a little simpler in this area.

What we’ve delivered:

  • In Q1 2015 alone, we reviewed over 3.4 million payment plans to ensure our customers are paying the right amount for the energy they’re using. 
  • We have made improvements to our compensation process which means we make proactive contact with our customers when they become eligible for compensation because of a broken metering appointment.
  • Throughout Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 we have attempted to make contact with 42k of our most vulnerable pay as you go energy customers customers to ensure their safe supply over winter and to offer our help in supporting them should they need it. We are looking to further expand the process throughout 2015 to ensure we continue to reach out to customers that may need our help.

Further actions we're taking

  • As it’s a key priority for us, we’ll continue to work closely with the Energy Trust team to ensure that extra support is given to our customers who need it most.
  • We continue to look at ways to improve customer understanding of their payment schemes.
  • We'll be upskilling our agents to enable better conversastions with our customers.

Billing

Getting our billing right is crucial as it touches all of our customers at some point in their journey with us. Delivering on our promises and sending accurate and timely bills is really important, so we’re continuing to review the reasons behind why our customers complain so we can ensure a seamless billing experience. 

What we’ve delivered:

  • We’ve made some improvements to our meter reading processes so we’re able to use readings provided by our customers and meter readers more effectively, therefore improving the accuracy of our bills.
  • We’ve improved the choice that our customers have when communicating with us to provide their meter readings.
  • We’ve continued to provide our customers with tools to help them save money and be more energy efficient. These tools include our online three simple tariff tools and Hive Active Heating.
  • We’re proud of the fact that we’ve continued to lead the industry with the installation of smart meters in our customers’ homes, with more than 110,000 smart meters installed during Q1 2015.

Further actions we're taking

  • We're revising the way we look at the billing process for customers to make it more reflective of what they’re telling us they want.
  • The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an initiative that we’re continuing to support and we’ve already invested hundreds of millions of pounds in free or subsidised loft and cavity wall insulation for people who need it most. You don’t have to be a British Gas customer to apply, so check online to see if you could benefit or call 0800 107 7793.
  • We’re working to ensure that customers providing meter readings have a simple and easy experience.

Customer Service

Focusing on initiatives to ensure we get things right for our customers first time remains a priority for us, as we know that occasionally we can get things wrong and our customers don’t receive the level of service they expect. 

What we’ve delivered:

  • We’ve proactively contacted many of our customers to ask them directly about the experiences that they have with British Gas. We’ve used this customer feedback to understand how we can make experiences better. We’ve made some improvements off the back of the feedback we’ve received and we’re tracking the impacts so we can see the difference we’re making.
  • When customers have left us feedback to say things haven’t gone as well as we would have liked, we endeavour to reach customers to put it right.
  • The increase in size of our root cause analysis team has meant that we’ve been able to continue to focus on the reasons our customers complain and what we can do to prevent these events occurring.

Further actions we're taking

  • We’re continuing to invest time in our frontline people and managers by providing on-going training to ensure our customers are treated fairly.
  • We’re developing a quality assurance tool which will give access to detailed information about complaints generated when our people have failed to do something they said they would, so we can improve in this area.
  • Keeping our promises with customers is very important to us. At times we get this wrong and we’ve started a programme that will improve our performance.
  • We’re working to understand why sometimes customers have to complain to us about the same thing more than once, to make sure we eliminate any behavioural or process reasons causing this to happen.

Metering

We’re working hard to identify and resolve some of the issues that may occur as a result of meter faults and meter exchanges, as we know that these drive complaints in this area.

What we’ve delivered:

  • We’ve developed a customer service programme to focus and drive improvements which includes ensuring that jobs are being booked correctly and are completed on the first visit.
  • We’ve introduced a pro-active approach to contacting customers who’ve indicated that their recent interactions with us haven’t run as smoothly as they’d have liked.
  • We've started to roll out dedicated support teams to help customers where we haven’t been able to fit a meter at their first visit.
  • We’ve improved communication with our customers who are in the process of having a smart meter fitted to ensure they have relevant information to hand regarding their appointment, what to expect on the day and the benefits of having a smart meter installed.

Further actions we're taking

  • We’re continuing to review our smart meter installation programme and introduce efficiencies to improve the number of successful smart meter installations that take place.
  • We’re delivering new smart benefits to customers by introducing smart pre-payment meters and developing our post installation support.
  • We’re continuing to look at the key drivers of complaints within the metering world and are ensuring that actions and results are being tracked.

Communication

Communicating effectively with our customers is important to us

We’re continually reviewing all of the correspondence we send to our customers to ensure that the information provided is accurate, clear and timely.

What we’ve delivered:

  • We’ve continued to engage with our customers to ensure that we’re communicating with them using their chosen method.
  • We’ve enhanced our complaint webpages to simplify the online experience for our customers.
  • We continually review our correspondence to ensure it is easy to understand and have updated the letters we send to customers when they are in debt.

Further actions we're taking

  • We’re continuing to review our reassessment process to look at new ways to proactively manage our customers’ experiences. Such initiatives include, providing a personal projection plan to enable our customers to calculate their consumption, increasing the accuracy of payments and calling our customers to explain any changes in advance. We’re also keeping our bill messages up to date and using online personal videos to support our customers.
  • We’re updating the information we provide to customers on their bills to make it simpler for them to contact us when they have a complaint.
  • We're reviewing our correspondence we send when we need to read a customer’s meter to ensure that it is clear and understandable.

 

Annual Consumer Complaint Report

View our Annual Consumer Complaint Report, which details how we’ve performed in relation to the number of complaints we weren’t able to resolve on the same, or next working day.

For the reporting period 1st October 2013 to 30th September 2014 this figure was 368,057.

[1] Sainsbury's Energy is supplied in partnership with British Gas (part of British Gas Trading Limited).

[2] Previously reported volumes have been amended retrospectively by the Ombudsman Services: Energy following re-categorisation after investigation.

[3] Customer Service complaints have been re-categorised from Q4 2013. Increasing our Q4 2013 volume in this category by approx 43,000 and Q1 2014 by approx. 36,000. Volumes prior to Q4 2013 have not been retrospectively adjusted.

Complaints
received

Received per
100k customer accounts

Complaints
resolved

Resolved per
100k customer accounts

% resolved
same or next working day

% resolved
within 8 weeks

Q1 2012 437,124 2,778 435,779 2,770 79.4% 95.7%
Q2 2012 352,882 2,249 356,262 2,271 78.3% 96.5%
Q3 2012 323,191 2,064 322,869 2,062 79.0% 95.3%
Q4 2012
355,998 2,285 359,494 2,308 79.2% 96.3%
Q1 2013 357,887 2,295 354,456 2,273 78.7% 95.9%
Q2 2013 264,928 1,696 264,186 1,691 72.1% 93.9%
Q3 2013 247,000 1,582 244,819 1,568 71.6% 93.8%
Q4 2013 365,735 2,412 363, 511 2,397 75.9% 96.3%
Q1 2014 462,334 3,084 461,421 3,078 79.5% 96.2%
Q2 2014 426,517 2,844 428,992 2,860
78.4% 95.6%
Q3 2014 405,556 2,725 403,809 2,713 77.3% 94.3%
Q4 2014 419,999 2,851 422,609 2,869 75.3% 94.0%