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 third quarter of 2016 (1st July to 30th September 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

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

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%

What happened in Q3 2016?

  • There was a 3.6% reduction in complaints received per 100K customer accounts compared to the last quarter and a 29.1% reduction on the same time the year before.
  • We resolved a total of 213,095 complaints in Q3 which is 1507 complaints per 100k customer accounts.
  • We’ve seen an increase in the number of complaints resolved on the same or next working day compared to last quarter. However compared to the same period last year we have seen a decrease. We have invested in customer service, with improved processes, systems and 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 1094 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 deadlock 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

Q3 2015

23%

Q4 2015

23%

Q1 2016

26%

Q2 2016

25%

Q3 2016

24%

Billing

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q3 2015

20%

Q4 2015

17%

Q1 2016

17%

Q2 2016

20%

Q3 2016

18%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q3 2015

15%

Q4 2015

14%

Q1 2016

14%

Q2 2016

12%

Q3 2016

13%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q3 2015

11%

Q4 2015

14%

Q1 2016

13%

Q2 2016

11%

Q2 2016

12%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q3 2015

7%

Q4 2015

7%

Q1 2016

7%

Q2 2016

7%

Q3 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 so we bill as many customers as possible with accurate meter readings and have improved the quality of our smart meter bills.
  • We’ve improved the process when customers text in their meter readings so they receive an accurate bill.

What we’re doing:

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

 

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’ve extended 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.
  • 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 know that our customers need us more during the winter months so we’re planning ahead to ensure that we’re there for them when they need us most.
  • We’re looking at ways to help our managers have more effective conversations with their teams so we can get things right for customers first time every time.

 

Metering

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

What we’ve done:

  • We’re trialling new ways of contacting our customers to reduce the time it takes to resolve their complaint.
  • We’re contacting customers who’ve had a poor experience with their smart meter to help improve their understanding of smart meters and how they can benefit from them.
  • We’re ensuring that our Customer Service Advisers who support our smart pre-payment meter customers have the right training and knowledge to respond to any queries they may have.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re continuing to review our rescheduling processes and improving the way we help customers whose appointment we need to amend.
  • We’re working hard to speed up how long payments take to reach a customer’s pre-payment smart meter when the automatic process hasn’t worked.

 

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 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.
  • We offer lots of ways for customers to get in touch with us including web chat, so they can choose a way that suits them best.

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

Q3 2013

Complaints received

247,000

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,582

Complaints resolved

244,819

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,568

% resolved same or next working day

71.6%

% resolved within 8 weeks

93.8%

Q4 2013

Complaints received

365,735

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,412

Complaints resolved

363,511

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,397

% resolved same or next working day

75.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

96.3%

Q1 2014

Complaints received

462,334

Received per 100k customer accounts

3,084

Complaints resolved

461,421

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

3,078

% resolved same or next working day

79.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

96.2%

Q2 2014

Complaints received

426,517

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,844

Complaints resolved

428,992

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,860

% resolved same or next working day

78.4%

% resolved within 8 weeks

95.6%

Q3 2014

Complaints received

405,556

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,725

Complaints resolved

403,809

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,713

% resolved same or next working day

77.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

94.3%

Q4 2014

Complaints received

419,999

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,851

Complaints resolved

422,609

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,869

% resolved same or next working day

75.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

94.0%

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%

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).