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Energy supplier service failings continue

gas electricity reviewsBeing left hanging on the phone is a common occurrence these days with the proliferation of IVRs (those annoying “press one, press two” messages that seem to simply be a ruse to make you hang up having wasted time and money on a fruitless call) and the remote call centres with suspiciously incompatible names and crackly lines who seem to know less about your account than you do.

In fact few industries are not seduced by the dreaded IVR and skimping on customer service costs through outsourcing (Business Juice don’t operate an IVR and don’t outsource any of our services – our customers are our customers and we treat them as such).

But whilst no area appears free from this scourge of the modern day telephony system it is the Big 6 energy suppliers who seem to suffer more than most, or rather their inconvenienced customers do.

Now however it has been revealed by a survey from price comparison service Which? that there is a particular and worrying distinction between the level of service provided to existing and that which new customers receive. Indeed the survey found that out of 16 suppliers, 11 were consistently answering their sales lines quicker than the lines used by existing customers.

The biggest discrepancy was amongst one of the Big 6 with:

  • Customers of Scottish Power calling the complaints line being left on hold for an average of half an hour
  • However potential new customers were being answered on average within 49 seconds

Whilst that is the extreme, none of the Big 6 managed to answer their complaints (not sales) lines within the two minute maximum as defined by Ofgem leading the energy regulator to order Scottish Power to achieve the two minute limit by the end of this month or face (another threatened) sales ban.

Scottish Power were not the only miscreants and by no means is this paucity of service limited to the Big 6, indeed First Utility, the independent energy supplier, took an average of 19 minutes to answer calls to its customer service line,

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said:

“With average waiting times of up to half an hour, it is clear some suppliers need to do more for their customers.”

The understatement of the first week of 2015 surely!

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