Utilities firms begin to close customer satisfaction gap

3rd Oct 2016

Customer satisfaction in the utilities sector has continued to increase, the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index from The Institute of Customer Service shows. The industry score remains below average, but closes the gap by 0.7 points. 

The Index, which measures customer satisfaction across 13 areas of the economy, gives the sector an overall customer satisfaction rating of 73.3 out of 100 – an increase of 1.9 points since July 2015. In total, 12 organisations within the sector have improved, with only three demonstrating a fall in customer satisfaction. Utility Warehouse tops the tables as the industry’s highest scorer, while Scottish Power is the most improved.

This rise in satisfaction can be attributed to improvements across almost all measures and channels, particularly for written and email interactions and complaint handling. However, although customers are more satisfied with complaint handling than they were a year ago, the sector still performs below the UK average for this measure. 

The data also reveals that utilities organisations are the lowest scoring when it comes to cost, reputation, trust and transparency. 

Despite this, the industry’s customers are the least likely to prioritise excellent service at a higher price over ‘no frills’ service at a lower price. However, the proportion of customers seeking premium service has increased, with 22% of customers expressing a preference for excellent service, even if it costs them more, compared to 18% two years ago.

In many sectors, there has been an increase in customer effort; the energy that customers feel they need to expend in order to reach the outcome they want. This is particularly prevalent in the utilities sector, where 48% of people claim it has taken them more than two complaints to get their problem resolved.   

The Index shows a clear link between organisations getting customer experiences right first time and achieving high scores for satisfaction. 

“‘Getting it right first time’ has to be a prerequisite for any organisation,” says Jo Causon, the Institute’s chief executive. “Customers expect to be dealt with quickly and competently – as soon as they start to feel let down or ignored, their trust is lost. It’s encouraging to see the utilities sector is making progress, but prevention is always better than cure, so the industry should take note of the areas that need to be focused on.”

Click here to download our executive summary.

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