12th Feb 2016
The last of the UK’s biggest six energy providers have announced plans to cut tariffs, but there are concerns that reductions might have an adverse effect on the quality of customer service.
Following the announcement that Scottish Power is to reduce the price of its standard gas tariff by 5.4%, this week British Gas and EDF also proposed cuts, saving millions of customers £31 on their average annual standard gas bill.
The other big energy companies – E.ON, SSE and npower – have also cut tariffs in recent weeks by just over 5%.
While Jo Causon, the Institute of Customer Service’s chief executive, believes cut prices are an encouraging sign that energy companies are listening to customer feedback, she also notes that customer service must not suffer as a result.
“Price matters, but delivering excellent customer service across the board is also an important strategy if the ‘Big Six’ are looking to win back customers’ trust,” Causon explains. “Energy bills are part of this equation, but organisations must be careful not to sacrifice service in order to reduce prices.
“Our research shows that the majority of customers prefer a balance between cost and service. While customer satisfaction scores are rising in the utilities sector, if attention is on short-term customer acquisition rather than the whole customer experience, we may see this trend reverse. To ensure this doesn’t happen, organisations must focus less on transactions and more on building relationships with their customers.”