How we’re doing with our 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 and resolve the issues driving complaints.

Our latest report is for the fourth quarter of 2016 (1st October to 31st December 2016).

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

 

Meeting your Expectations - An update on our complaint improvement activities by Mark Hodges (PDF 247 KB)

How we're doing

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

57.2%

% 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%

What happened in Q4 2016?

  • There was a slight increase in complaints received per 100K customer accounts compared to the last quarter although there was 9.3% reduction on the same time the year before.
  • We resolved a total of 218,728 complaints in Q4 which is 1542 complaints per 100k customer accounts.
  • We’ve seen a decrease in the number of complaints resolved on the same or next working day compared to last quarter. We have invested in customer service, with improved processes, 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 a slight increase in complaints we resolved within eight weeks compared to the last quarter.
  • We received 1078 Ombudsman complaints. That’s only 12% of the residential customer complaints the Ombudsman has taken on from every supplier – and we have a customer market share of around 28%.

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 continue to work closely with them to gain more insight and understand why customers escalate their complaints to them, as well as ensuring our internal policies and procedures are improving to reduce the need for escalation to a third party.

 

Top five complaint reasons and plans to address

Payments

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2015

23%

Q1 2016

26%

Q2 2016

25%

Q3 2016

24%

Q4 2016

24%

Billing

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2015

17%

Q1 2016

17%

Q2 2016

20%

Q3 2016

18%

Q4 2016

15%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2015

14%

Q1 2016

13%

Q2 2016

11%

Q3 2016

12%

Q4 2016

15%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2015

14%

Q1 2016

14%

Q2 2016

12%

Q3 2016

13%

Q42016

14%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2015

7%

Q1 2016

7%

Q2 2016

7%

Q3 2016

8%

Q4 2016

8%

 

Payments

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

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve reviewed more than two million payment plans this quarter to make sure our customers are on track to have paid the correct amount by the end of their payment plan year.
  • We’ve continued contacting some customers with a higher than expected increase to their monthly instalments to perform a health check on their account.
  • We’ve written a clearer payment plan letter which explains why some customers’ payments are changing.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re looking at ways to help us get more accurate Direct Debit amounts when setting up customer payment schemes.
  • We’re reviewing all of the letters we send to customers about their payment plans to make them simpler to understand.

 

Billing

We’re always looking at the reasons why our customers complain about billing issues, so we can figure out how to fix them.

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve made improvements to our processes in the collection of meter reads for conventional meters so we can bill more customers to accurate meter readings.
  • We’ve improved the process where customers text in their meter readings leading to more accurate bills using the reads a customer has provided.
  • In 2016 we’ve reduced the percentage of smart meters not automatically issuing meter reads; increasing the amount of accurate smart bills we send to our customers.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re undertaking a trial to test a simpler customer bill.
  • We’re continuing with a programme to transform our billing processes and the experience for our smart meter customers. 

 

Metering

We always do our best to fix problems to do with our meters.

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve seen positive results using text to contact customers and have been able to resolve their complaints more quickly.
  • We’re trialling new ways to contact Smart customers when their meters are not fully operating to help them receive the benefits of smart as quickly as possible.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re working to improve the way we inform customers if we need to change their appointment.
  • We’re preparing to roll out the latest Smart software to our existing Smart customers so they can benefit from the latest technology.

 

Customer Service

Focusing on initiatives to ensure we get things right for our customers first time continues to be a priority for us.

What we’ve done:

  • We know customers like to have the flexibility to interact with us without having to make a phone call.  We’ve therefore increased the number of people available to deal with our web chat enquiries.
  • We’ve continued to ask our customers who’ve complained, for feedback on how we’ve handled things so we can identify where we need to make further improvements.

What we’re doing:

  • We continue to invest in our customer service teams to ensure that we have the right number of people available to deal with enquires.
  • We’re extending our trial to test a new way of working to make sure the right people, with the right knowledge deal with our complaints, so we can fix things for our customers as quickly as possible.

 

 

Communication

Communicating well with our customers is really important to us and we’re working hard to make sure we get things right.

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve reviewed some of our payment plan letters where customers were receiving duplicated information and simplified the process.
  • We’ve been testing 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 monitor the results.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re 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.
  • We’re working to improve the experience customers have when they visit our website.
  • We’re reviewing how we receive and respond to emails from customers to improve this process.

 

Previously reported complaints performance

Q1 2015

Complaints received

446,766

Received per 100k customer accounts

3,051

Complaints resolved

439,796

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

3,003

% resolved same or next working day

75.1%

% resolved within 8 weeks

94.5%

Q2 2015

Complaints received

367,926

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,507

Complaints resolved

369,552

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,519

% resolved same or next working day

70.4%

% resolved within 8 weeks

92.8%

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

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

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

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%

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 2015 to 30th September 2016 this figure was 431,904.

 

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