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 second quarter of 2018 (1st April to 30th June 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

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%

Q2 2018

Reporting period

Q2 2018

Complaints received

152,385

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,221

Complaints resolved

150,271

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,204

% resolved same or next working day

53.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.6%

What happened in Q2 2018?

  • We resolved a total of 150,271 complaints in Q2 which is 1,204 complaints per 100k customer accounts. This was an increase compared to the last quarter, although complaints received in Q2 are 21% lower when comparing to the same period last year.
  • We saw an increase in the proportion of complaints resolved on the same or next working day and within eight weeks 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 increase the speed with which we can resolve a complaint.
  • We received 1037 Ombudsman complaints. That’s only 10% 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 25%

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

Q2 2017

19%

Q3 2017

18%

Q4 2017

18%

Q1 2018

22%

Q2 2018

23%

Payments

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q2 2017

24%

Q3 2017

22%

Q4 2017

23%

Q1 2018

20%

Q2 2018

22%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q2 2017

13%

Q3 2017

15%

Q4 2017

16%

Q1 2018

15%

Q2 2018

14%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q2 2017

14%

Q3 2017

13%

Q4 2017

14%

Q1 2018

13%

Q2 2018

11%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q2 2017

8%

Q3 2017

8%

Q4 2017

7%

Q1 2018

7%

Q2 2018

7%

Billing

We’re always looking at the reasons why you may be 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.

Each year British Gas take part in a voluntary Billing Audit managed by Energy UK as a means to demonstrate compliance with Billing Code in 5 key process areas. This year was particularly challenging as the scoring mechanism and rating bandings have become more stringent. Despite this we achieved a Silver Award. This is a fantastic achievement and is a 27% improvement on our 2016 result.

What we’ve done:

  • invested in texting to make it easier for you to send us your readings. This has enabled us to send an accurate bill to more customers each month
  • enabled the ability to offer you 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 of you, our customers, and ask for meter readings which will mean more accurate bills based on what you send us
  • reviewing our end to end process whereby a smart meter doesn’t work to ensure we can still bill you to an accurate meter reading
  • continuing to review our Direct Debit process from a customer perspective to improve the experience

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 for you.

What we’ve done:

  • completed 3.7m reassessments of Direct Debits this quarter to ensure that your payments will meet your anticipated consumption
  • improved system reliability to assist in the prevention of problems when you try to set up a Direct Debit with us
  • improved our systems to make it easier for you to make card payments to us

What we’re doing:

  • improving our self-serve experience to give you more ways to interact with us and manage your account
  • reviewing our Direct Debit reassessments to allow more stability in your instalment amount making it easier for you to manage your finances
  • looking at ways that we can make our Direct Debit set-up process more straightforward for you

Metering

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

What we’ve done:

  • installed more than 370,000 smart meters across Britain in the quarter
  • made our smart metering appointments more flexible to meet your needs including trials at weekends
  • delivered new planning technology to the Smart Energy Experts allowing for better more efficient planning and reducing broken appointments
  • introduced a Right First Time measure to focus the whole operation (contact centres & field teams) on a successful meter booking to meter installation customer experience, for you
  • developed a new method of working to ensure a smoother customer experience for you

What we’re doing:

  • commenced a programme to improve delivery of smart meters to you. This should make installation of smart meters quicker and help reduce complaints further
  • continuing to upgrade existing smart meters with the technology which will ensure that they will work to enable you to move to other suppliers and keep the benefits of your current smart meter
  • reviewing our operating model to ensure it reflects your demands
  • building a new coaching structure to deliver coaching focused around the customer experience i.e. Energy Efficiency advice
  • redesigning our reward structure to focus on customer outcomes rather than just volume
  • increasing engineer availability to reduce lead times from booking to appointment
  • 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 to you
  • reviewing our processes to reduce repeat calls to customers that have been contacted several times previously

Customer Service

We strive to get things right for you first time.

What we’ve done:

  • delivered additional training to our agents to ensure we’re quick to identify your 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 you

What we’re doing:

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

Communication

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

What we’ve done:

  • tested new technology and innovative ways to get in touch with you in order to resolve your 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 that you have when you visit our website
  • reviewing how we receive and respond to emails from you so we can improve this process

Previously reported complaints performance

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%

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%

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).