19th Sep 2017
Customers are more satisfied with the utilities sector than they have been in nine years, research from The Institute of Customer Service has found.
The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index showed that the sector scored 75.1 out of 100, up 1.8 points from the previous year.
As a sector it has historically scored below the UK average, and this year is no exception. However, the gap has been closed to 3.1 points.
Water organisations are scoring slightly higher than energy businesses, with a score of 75.8 compared to 74.8.
Overall, utility companies are scoring above the UK average for in-writing interactions with their customers, however they are weakest on in-person interactions.
The sector scores especially low compared to the UK average for helpfulness and competence of staff (in person) and staff doing what they say they will do in response to complaints received.
The percentage of customers experiencing problems remains stable, 12.3%, and below the UK average of 13.1%. The most common issues related to cost, 25.3%. The sector has the highest proportion of customers who experienced these kinds of issues.
On the other hand, there has been a significant improvement in the time taken to resolve complaints. 20.5% of complaints were dealt with sooner than consumers expected, a 9.8 percentage points’ increase since last year.
Telephone and website are the most frequently used channels and overall satisfaction for both channels has improved since July 2016. Telephone experiences account for 37.6% of interactions; and customer satisfaction, at 74.3, has improved by 2 points.
There are slightly more interactions through websites, 35.4% (up by 1.3 percentage points) and satisfaction through the website channel has improved by 1.9 points to 77.3 - the highest score of all the channels.