How we’re doing with your energy complaints

We strive to give you excellent service which is why we take every complaint seriously. We use feedback from complaints to improve the level of service that we can provide and prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

Our latest report is from 1st October to 31st December 2018 (fourth quarter).

The complaints we’ve included are from our residential energy customers, as well as the customers we have through our partnership brand, Sainsbury’s Energy.[1]

How we're doing

Q4 2017

Reporting period

Q4 2017

Complaints received

135,230

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,050

Complaints resolved

140,418

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,091

% resolved same or next working day

48.0%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.6%

Q1 2018

Reporting period

Q1 2018

Complaints received

112,208

Received per 100k customer accounts

883

Complaints resolved

108,427

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

853

% resolved same or next working day

51.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.3%

Q2 2018

Reporting period

Q2 2018

Complaints received

152,385

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,221

Complaints resolved

150,271

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,204

% resolved same or next working day

53.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.6%

Q3 2018

Reporting period

Q3 2018

Complaints received

180,778

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,486

Complaints resolved

176,395

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,450

% resolved same or next working day

59.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

92.3%

Q4 2018

Reporting period

Q4 2018

Complaints received

188,605

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,560

Complaints resolved

188,069

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,556

% resolved same or next working day

57.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

92.4%

What happened in Q4 2018?

  • We resolved a total of 188,069 complaints in Q4 which is 1,556 complaints per 100k customer accounts.
  • We saw a decrease in the proportion of complaints resolved on the same or next working day and an increase within eight weeks compared to last quarter. We keep investing in our customer service by looking at ways to improve our processes and systems, and by training our people. This has helped to increase the speed with which we can resolve a complaint.
  • We received 1,048 Ombudsman complaints. That’s only 9% of the residential customer complaints the Ombudsman has taken on from every supplier – and we have a residential energy customer account market share of around 24%.

What does the Ombudsman do?

They take on complaints if we haven’t resolved them after eight weeks or if we’ve sent a final position letter to a customer.

We work closely with the Ombudsman to help us understand why customers escalate their complaints to them. This helps us to improve our internal policies and procedures to reduce the need for escalation to a third party.

Top five complaint reasons and plans to address them

Payments

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2017

23%

Q1 2018

20%

Q2 2018

22%

Q3 2018

23%

Q4 2018

25%

Billing

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2017

18%

Q1 2018

22%

Q2 2018

23%

Q3 2018

20%

Q4 2018

18%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2017

16%

Q1 2018

15%

Q2 2018

14%

Q3 2018

15%

Q4 2018

15%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2017

14%

Q1 2018

13%

Q2 2018

11%

Q3 2018

11%

Q4 2018

14%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q4 2017

7%

Q1 2018

7%

Q2 2018

7%

Q3 2018

6%

Q4 2018

6%

Payments

Lots of things affect the number of complaints we get about payments, such as seasonality, tariff changes, and how we explain payment plans. So we’re doing everything we can to make things simpler for you.

What we’ve done:

  • reviewed 3.8 million payment plans this quarter, to ensure your payments meet your forecasted energy use
  • simplified the electronic messaging we send to you about your payment plans
  • identified and rectified a problem that was delaying some customer payments from reaching their accounts

What we’re doing:

  • reviewing how we communicate and engage with our Direct Debit Customers about their payment plan
  • exploring innovative solutions in the digital customer experience to enhance customer understanding of their payment plan
  • evaluating the possible outcomes from several potential improvements to our Direct Debit set up journey across different contact channels

Billing

We’re always looking at the reasons why you may be unhappy about billing so that we can figure out how to fix the issues. The volume of meter reading and billing complaints continues to fall due to improvements to our processes. We now have more customers with accurate readings on their account in the last 12 months than ever before.

Each year British Gas takes part in a voluntary Billing Audit managed by Energy UK to show compliance with the Billing Code in 5 key areas. This year we achieved a Silver Award. This is a fantastic achievement and is a 27% improvement on our 2016 result.

What we’ve done:

  • made an improvement which allows us to text more of you, our customers and ask for meter readings which will mean more accurate bills based on what you send us
  • invested in text messaging to make it easier for you to send us your meter readings. This has enabled us to send an accurate bill to more customers each month
  • created the ability to offer you special electricity meter reading appointments within 4 days – a reduction of 17 days from 2015

What we’re doing:

  • reviewing our end to end process when a smart meter doesn’t work to ensure we can still bill you to an accurate meter reading
  • continuing to review our Direct Debit process from a customer perspective to improve the experience

Metering

We always do our best to fix problems you have with your meters as we know that this can cause a lot of inconvenience.

What we’ve done:

  • installed more than 350,000 smart meters across Britain this quarter
  • made our smart metering appointments more flexible by increasing our weekend working patterns
  • delivered new planning technology to the Smart Energy Experts allowing for better, more efficient planning and reducing broken appointments
  • redesigned our measures to focus on customer outcomes across all areas of the business
  • introduced face to face appointment booking to improve the customer journey

What we’re doing:

  • we’ve started a review of the pre-payment metering process focusing on customer journeys and reducing issues which you may face
  • reducing stock and equipment availability issues our customers may encounter by bringing our supply chain of meter stock in-house to work closer with our field leadership team
  • continuously reviewing the way we’re structured to ensure it reflects your demands
  • improving our management information to give more visibility of customer views & ideas

Customer Service

We strive to get things right for you first time.

What we’ve done:

  • delivered additional training to our customer service agents to ensure we’re quick to identify your complaints, and to resolve things promptly and effectively
  • delivered call messaging technology to more of our agents so they’re able to use this to effectively interact with you

What we’re doing:

  • continuing to develop a programme to enhance the way we handle your enquiries and complaints, so we can resolve things as quickly as possible
  • looking at ways to use technology to ensure you can speak to the right person, straight away, so your enquiry can be dealt with efficiently
  • using new tools to understand what you want and need from us, and how we can constantly look to improve the service we provide

Communication

It’s important that we have good communication with you to make sure we get things right.

What we’ve done:

  • tested new technology and innovative ways to get in touch with you so we can resolve your complaints. We’ve seen some positive results so we’ve extended these trials, and are continuing to test and monitor the results

What we’re doing:

  • always looking at further ways we can improve the correspondence and bills we issue as we want to make sure they’re clear and easy to understand
  • improving the experience that you have when you visit our website
  • reviewing how we receive and respond to emails from you so we can improve this process

Previously reported complaints performance

Q2 2016

Reporting period

Q2 2016

Complaints received

225,236

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,574

Complaints resolved

227,489

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,590

% resolved same or next working day

51.8%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.3%

Q3 2016

Reporting period

Q3 2016

Complaints received

214,558

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,518

Complaints resolved

213,095

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,507

% resolved same or next working day

53.9%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.6%

Q4 2016

Reporting period

Q4 2016

Complaints received

220,532

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,555

Complaints resolved

218,728

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,542

% resolved same or next working day

50.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.0%

Q1 2017

Reporting period

Q1 2017

Complaints received

204,071

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,463

Complaints resolved

203,060

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,456

% resolved same or next working day

50.1%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.9%

Q2 2017

Reporting period

Q2 2017

Complaints received

192,399

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,393

Complaints resolved

193,147

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,399

% resolved same or next working day

50.4%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.8%

Q3 2017

Reporting period

Q3 2017

Complaints received

173,350

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,304

Complaints resolved

176,437

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,327

% resolved same or next working day

51.3%

% resolved within 8 weeks

89.3%

Annual Consumer Complaint Report

View our Annual Consumer Complaint Report, which details how we’ve performed in relation to the number of complaints we weren’t able to resolve on the same, or next working day.

For the reporting period 1st October 2017 to 30th September 2018 this figure was 270,360.

[1] Sainsbury's Energy is supplied in partnership with British Gas (part of British Gas Trading Limited).