Click, chat, call. Being here when you need us.

Another week and more negative stories about energy companies’ customer service.

The media reported, following research by Which?, that energy providers answer their phones much more quickly to potential new customers than they do to existing customers calling with a query to be resolved.

I can’t speak for the other companies featured, but despite the research showing a slight difference in speed of answering sales and customer service calls I can promise you that never happens at Spark.

As the only supplier in the letting sector, we already supply the gas and electricity for many tenants when they move in,  so we have a natural need and motivation to offer great service to every customer – new or established. If we don’t do that, customers won’t stay with us for long.

This keeps us honest, demands competitive prices and challenges us to find ways to save our customers time and hassle. Keeping people waiting too long on the phone or having different numbers for new and existing customers wouldn’t wash, so we just don’t do it.

The latest independently-produced mystery caller stats from Difference Corporation show a Spark customer phone waiting time of only 21.93 seconds (based on statistics over the last 8 weeks), putting us in first place – ahead of the Big Six and all the other small independents, with the others taking up to 200 seconds.

We exist to offer a better energy solution, electricity and gas, to rented properties for the benefit of tenant, landlord and letting agent alike.

Because rented properties switch regularly from tenant to landlord and back to tenant again, we are very often the incumbent supplier in a property when a tenant moves. The second they put their key in the door to their new home and switch on the light they are a Spark Energy customer.

It’s important to us that our customers are better off, both in price and in customer service,  as a result of inheriting Spark, and that they choose to stay with us.

We can’t fix all of the energy industry issues, and much as we’d like to, there aren’t enough of us to pop round and say a friendly hi to all of you. But what we can do is give customers our best prices on Day One and then be there for them within seconds when they have a question, an issue or need to make a change.

This year we’ve spent £1.4m on upgrading our systems, growing our teams and dedicating all our focus to our customers. We were ranked above all of the Big Six for customer satisfaction by Which? in January and we’ve done loads more since then.

I’m proud to say that it’s our customers’ needs which drive the decisions we make and service we offer. This comes down to 3 things:

  1. Simple low prices for all customers from Day One – we only have four simple tariffs including very economical Direct Debit tariffs and a Pay As You Go tariff that’s only £6 a year more expensive than for Direct Debit customers (the price of supplying a top up card)
  2. Being easy to get hold of and here when you need us – we know that customers don’t even want to wait our 21.93 seconds, and so this year we launched Call Back in Queue and live chat.
  3. Committed to resolve complaints fast! – we resolve 92% of complaints in 24 hours, the majority of the balance within the first week and 99% within the 8 week deadline that all suppliers work to.

So, when I read stories like those this week it reminds me that we don’t have and we don’t want the luxury of asking our customers to wait, or to prioritise one over the other.

We have new customers cropping up each and every day and we have to make them happy to continue to grow, and we work incredibly hard and constantly focus on providing a great service in a tricky niche.

But we’re nowhere near done yet, and ready to kick off another year of investment in customer experience.

Just wait till you see our app coming soon … watch this space.

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