How we’re doing with your energy complaints

We take every complaint seriously because we want to give you excellent service. So we’re working hard to understand where we are going wrong so we can fix the issues that are driving complaints.

Our latest report is for the first quarter of 2018 (1st January to 31st March 2018).

The complaints we’ve included are from our residential energy customers, as well as the customers we have through our partnership brand, Sainsbury’s Energy.[1]

How we're doing

Q1 2017

Reporting period

Q1 2017

Complaints received

204,071

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,463

Complaints resolved

203,060

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,456

% resolved same or next working day

50.1%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.9%

Q2 2017

Reporting period

Q2 2017

Complaints received

192,399

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,393

Complaints resolved

193,147

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,399

% resolved same or next working day

50.4%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.8%

Q3 2017

Reporting period

Q3 2017

Complaints received

173,350

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,304

Complaints resolved

176,437

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,327

% resolved same or next working day

51.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.3%

Q4 2017

Reporting period

Q4 2017

Complaints received

135,230

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,050

Complaints resolved

140,418

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,091

% resolved same or next working day

48.0%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.6%

Q1 2018

Reporting period

Q1 2018

Complaints received

112,208

Received per 100k customer accounts

883

Complaints resolved

108,427

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

853

% resolved same or next working day

51.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.3%

What happened in Q1 2018?

  • There was a decrease in complaints received per 100K customer accounts compared to the last quarter and there was a 45% reduction in complaints received for the same time the year before. This is driven by the implementation of a number of technology and operational process improvements
  • We resolved a total of 108,427 complaints in Q1 which is 853 complaints per 100k customer accounts
  • We’ve seen an increase in the “% of complaints resolved on the same or next working day” compared to last quarter. We continue to invest in our customer service by looking at ways to improve our processes and systems, and training our people. This has helped to drive a reduction in simpler complaints leaving more complex complaints which can often take longer to resolve
  • We saw an increase in the “% of complaints we resolved within eight weeks” compared to the last quarter
  • We received 970 Ombudsman complaints. That’s only 9% of the residential customer complaints the Ombudsman has taken on from every supplier – and we have a residential energy customer account market share of around 26%

What does the Ombudsman do?

They take on complaints if we haven’t resolved them after eight weeks or if we’ve sent a final position letter to a customer.

We work closely with them to gain insight and to help us understand why customers escalate their complaints to them. This helps us to improve our internal policies and procedures to reduce the need for escalation to a third party.

Top five complaint reasons and plans to address them

Billing

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2017

18%

Q2 2017

19%

Q3 2017

18%

Q4 2017

18%

Q1 2018

22%

Payments

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2017

22%

Q2 2017

24%

Q3 2017

22%

Q4 2017

23%

Q1 2018

20%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2017

14%

Q2 2017

13%

Q3 2017

15%

Q4 2017

16%

Q1 2018

15%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2017

15%

Q2 2017

14%

Q3 2017

13%

Q4 2017

14%

Q1 2018

13%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2017

7%

Q2 2017

8%

Q3 2017

8%

Q4 2017

7%

Q1 2018

7%

Payments

Lots of things affect how many complaints we get about payments such as seasonality, tariff changes, and how we explain payment plans. So we’re doing everything we can to make things simpler.

What we’ve done:

  • completed 3.9m reassessments of payment schemes this quarter to ensure that our customers’ payments will meet their anticipated consumption
  • made changes to ensure that you can get any overpayments refunded in a timely manner when you leave us
  • improved our systems to make it easier for you to make card payments to us

What we’re doing:

  • fixing some technical issues that had prevented us from setting up the payment plan that you wanted
  • reviewing the correspondence issued at certain events to ensure that it is clear and easy to understand
  • looking at how we can embrace new technology to offer payment solutions that are more suited to your needs

Billing

We’re always looking at the reasons why our customers are unhappy about billing so that we can figure out how to fix the issues. The volume of meter reading and billing complaints continues to fall due to improvements to our processes. We now have the highest number of customers with accurate reading on their account in the last 12 months than ever before.

What we’ve done:

  • invested in texting to improve the ease of customers in sending us their readings. This has enabled us to send an accurate bill to more customers each month
  • enabled the ability to offer electricity special meter reading appointments within 4 days – a reduction of 17 days from 2015

What we’re doing:

  • making a change which will allow us to text more customers and ask for meter readings which will mean more accurate bills based on what our customers send us
  • reviewing our end to end process whereby a smart meter doesn’t work to ensure we can still bill the customer to an accurate meter reading
  • continuing to review our Direct Debit process from a customer perspective to improve the experience

Metering

We always do our best to fix problems our customers have with their meters as we know that this can cause a lot of inconvenience.

What we’ve done:

  • installed 353,218 smart meters across Britain in the quarter
  • made more smart metering appointments available to meet expected customer demand including trials at weekends and increased capacity using NPS data and customer insight as the driver
  • delivered new planning technology to the Smart Energy Experts allowing for better more efficient planning and reducing broken appointments

What we’re doing:

  • commenced a programme to improve delivery of smart meters to our customers. This should make installation of smart meters quicker and help reduce complaints further
  • continuing to upgrade customers’ existing smart meters with the technology which will ensure that they will work to enable customers to move to other suppliers and keep the benefits of their current smart meter
  • reviewing our operating model to ensure it reflects the demands of our customers
  • improving our ways of working by using improved data analytics and operational modelling
  • made changes which make it easier for our Smart Energy Experts to provide energy efficiency advice

Customer Service

We strive to get things right for our customers first time.

What we’ve done:

  • delivered additional training to our agents to ensure we’re quick to identify customer complaints, and resolve things promptly and effectively
  • delivered call messaging technology to more of our agents so they’re able to use this as an additional channel to effectively interact with our customers

What we’re doing:

  • continuing to develop a programme to enhance the way we handle customer enquiries and complaints, so we can resolve things as quickly as possible
  • looking at ways to use technology to ensure our customers can speak to the right person, straightaway, so their enquiry can be dealt with efficiently

Communication

It’s important that we communicate well with our customers to ensure we get things right.

What we’ve done:

  • tested new technology and innovative ways to get in touch with our customers in order to resolve their complaints. We’ve seen some positive results so we’ve extended these trials, and are continuing to test and monitor the results

What we’re doing:

  • always looking at further ways we can improve the correspondence and bills we issue as we want to make sure they’re clear and easy to understand
  • improving the experience our customers have when they visit our website
  • reviewing how we receive and respond to emails from our customers so we can improve this process

Previously reported complaints performance

Q3 2015

Reporting period

Q3 2015

Complaints received

313,290

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,141

Complaints resolved

311,265

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,127

% resolved same or next working day

67.8%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.9%

Q4 2015

Reporting period

Q4 2015

Complaints received

250,751

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,714

Complaints resolved

251,630

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,720

% resolved same or next working day

572%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.9%

Q1 2016

Reporting period

Q1 2016

Complaints received

269,061

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,866

Complaints resolved

265,360

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,840

% resolved same or next working day

56.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.4%

Q2 2016

Reporting period

Q2 2016

Complaints received

225,236

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,574

Complaints resolved

227,489

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,590

% resolved same or next working day

51.8%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.3%

Q3 2016

Reporting period

Q3 2016

Complaints received

214,558

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,518

Complaints resolved

213,095

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,507

% resolved same or next working day

53.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.6%

Q4 2016

Reporting period

Q4 2016

Complaints received

220,532

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,555

Complaints resolved

218,728

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,542

% resolved same or next working day

50.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.0%

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 2016 to 30th September 2017 this figure was 388,668.

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