NORTHERN POWERGRID RANKED IN TOP THREE UK UTILITY COMPANIES FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Northern Powergrid has been ranked second out of 34 utility companies assessed as part of the Institute of Customer Service’s latest UK Customer Service Index (CSI).
The company, which is responsible for the electricity distribution network that powers everyday life for 8 million people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has also been rated 15th out of more than 280 organisations in the UK as part of the independently assessed Customer Service Index.
Northern Powergrid has achieved an overall customer satisfaction rating which is higher than both the UK ‘all sector’ and ‘utility sector’ ratings. The network operator delivered a customer satisfaction rating 12% above the average across the UK’s utility sector. It was also rated first place for UK utilities when it came to the attitude of its people when resolving dissatisfaction.
The news follows a significant programme of investment by Northern Powergrid to improve its approach to customer service. This includes a £1.85m investment last year to improve the resilience of its web and telephony systems to support its customers and an enhanced approach to customer service within the company aimed at better equipping its teams to support external and internal customers.
Louise Lowes, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Customer Services, said: “It remains a challenging time for the energy sector and its customers. This independent rating shows that the commitment and hard work of our dedicated team to support our customers and improve their confidence and trust in the services we provide is improving. It also places our customer satisfaction rating alongside leading household names in the UK.
“Listening to our customers has helped us make positive changes over the past 12 months. We want to reassure our customers that the average 25p a day costs they pay for our services as part of their domestic bill from their chosen supplier is going towards better supporting them, improving our network and helping create a more resilient, greener energy system to power the region into the future.”
Louise added: “We know there is more to do. Good customer service is not a department – it is a culture and commitment from every person in our business and every part of our organisation. Through our new five-year plan, which starts in April, we will be stepping up our focus again to further improve customer satisfaction. We plan to introduce new channels, provide greater on-site support and choice when booking planned services with us, provide greater choice and flexibility for our customers on how and when they can interact with us and improve our support for vulnerable customers.
“We will continue to listen to our customers, seek out best practice and take a continuous improvement approach to customer service by making every contact count.”
Northern Powergrid’s improved telephony system at its contact centre can provide mass messaging to keep customers informed if their power is ever affected and the electricity network operator is continuing to invest in growing its customer service team and increasing its call handling capacity.
Enhancements to Northern Powergrid’s website capacity and power cut map, which is the quickest way for customers who have mobile phone access to get the latest information, are also part of a drive to provide more ways for customers to access the information they need. By encouraging customers who are digitally enabled to use the map to get information, it also helps ensure its 24/7 contact centre can focus on supporting those customers who may be more vulnerable due to their medical or personal circumstances or those may not have digital access to information.
Helping customers be prepared is also important and the network operators has been proactively sharing information to assist customers and encouraging anyone who may be more vulnerable, due to their medical or personal circumstances, to join its free Priority Services Membership. It also shares information about the range of partnership it has in place to help customers with energy advice.
The Institute of Customer Service, the independent, professional body for customer service, reported as part of its latest findings that the gap between the best and worst performers had widened during a difficult time for consumer spending and overall, UK customer satisfaction had fallen. To view the full report, visit instituteofcustomerservice.com/research-insight/ukcsi/
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