Research by Maintel has revealed that the energy and utilities sector is falling short when it comes to delivering on customer service.
More than one third (35.4%) of people voted the industry the worst for customer service. However, it isn’t all bad news, with 15% of Brits reporting their experiences when calling energy and utilities companies as “enjoyable and painless”.
Maintel’s research, “Time to rethink CX”, looks to better understand people’s experiences with customer services and how this has changed during lockdown.
While a general frustration with the customer service experience in all sectors is common – with more than 37% of people reporting dissatisfaction – the energy and utilities sector stands out for the poor service it delivers.
The industry ranked as the worst for contact centre services, followed by finance and insurance (20.1%) and the technology sector (10.8%).
The customer service experience, best to worst by sector:
- Building and construction
- Business services
- Finance and insurance
- Energy and utilities
The energy and utilities industry is known to have a long history of poor customer experience through a combination of historically disappointing energy deals, confusing tariffs, and a lack of after-sales service.
While issues typically relate to the provision of energy and utilities themselves, the survey indicates that something is amiss with complaint handling and customer services more broadly.
Consumers have low expectations when they’re faced with reaching out to contact centres in the energy and utilities sector. One in ten people don’t expect their issue or query to be resolved with a phone call. And, for those who do decide to call, nearly half (47%) do so with the expectation that they’ll be on the phone for a long time.
On the flip side, the sector is keeping some customers happy, with 29% of people believing that their problems will be resolved ‘quickly and efficiently’ by a business.
Moving into the winter months, the energy and utilities sector will be faced with greater demand and increased customer expectations. While customer requirements vary from sector to sector, energy and utilities companies must learn from those that perform better with customer services.
Rufus Grig, Chief Strategy Officer at Maintel, adds: “With many people now working from home, the burden on the utilities sector has increased. Despite helping keep the nation’s lights on, houses warm, and the water running, the sector is falling behind when it comes to customer service.”
“It’s time for businesses in the sector to revisit the customer experience and create a customer service function that not only matches the expectations of the modern consumer, but also delivers the right support for contact centre staff, many of whom will be working remotely.”
“This means providing them with digital tools – chatbots, online chat and FAQs – so that customers can self-serve if they want to whilst relieving some of the burden on the contact centre, and also ensuring that staff have access to all the right information at their fingertips so they can deal with customer queries quickly and efficiently.”