First Utility has invested more than £10m to improve its customer service offering. As part of the investment, the firm has quadrupled the number of customer service agents, created a new quality assurance team, brought in best practices from other industries and utilised innovative technology.
The energy company has a desire to do things better and has outlined the steps being taken to improve First Utility’s customer service. This investment means that customers getting in contact or making a First Utility complaint should find it dealt with in a friendly, efficient and knowledgeable manner, ultimately leading to positive First Utility reviews.
In 2014, First Utility is investing more than £10m in improving the experiences of its customers by vastly expanding the First Utility customer service team. The business is also investing in new systems and processes to resolve First Utility problems quickly and seamlessly.
Since September last year, First Utility has quadrupled the size of its customer services team. This is an ongoing review process which will see scores of agents added each month to resolve First Utility issues and complaints more efficiently.
The energy company has created a dedicated team whose job is to ensure that the quality of service is the highest it can be. They routinely monitor and review the First Utility service experience to identify all First Utility issues where more training is required or where processes can be improved. This new structure has been implemented alongside new processes to ensure fewer First Utility complaints are received and to resolve complaints more quickly.
It’s fair to say that the energy industry as a whole isn’t the best example of customer experience excellence, characterised instead by miss-selling scandals and problems. First Utility is trying to change this and looked outside the industry for inspiration. New members recruited to the team include senior managers from reputable companies in other sectors such as First Direct, TUI and Lastminute.com.
The First Utility My:Account feature and new mobile app let customers take control of their account themselves to pay bills, set direct debits, submit meter reads, change their tariff and view their usage.
In a bid to reduce the number of industry wide billing complaints, First Utility is also trialling smart meters with a small number of customers which will communicate directly with First Utility and will spell the end of manual meter readings and estimated bills.
Continued innovations and investments as part of the First Utility review will make these technologies even easier to use and new features will be added over time to make First Utility issues a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, many of the processes that govern the energy industry in the UK have remained unchanged since privatisation 16 years ago and are antiquated by today’s standards. First Utility believes issues and complaints across the industry would reduce if they were improved so it’s constantly engaged with all the industry stakeholders to make things better. A good example is First Utility’s ‘Fix the Switch’ campaign which has led to improvements in the switching process – cutting the time from five weeks to just over two weeks by the end of the year.
First Utility’s customer service is already ranked above the all of Big Six suppliers, with the Which? Energy Satisfaction Survey 2014 reporting that First Utility made the biggest improvement of any energy company. First Utility also received fewer complaints than any of the Big Six providers as a proportion of its customer base in Q1 this year (Jan-Mar 2014).