Posted: 31st August 2021

The Ofgem energy price cap increase on 1st October is fast approaching and we’re seeing utility firms increasing their prices. For providers, this means thinking about how to be having effective conversations with customers and assessing their needs, seeing this as an opportunity to build customer advocacy.

To do this, it’s important to think about customers’ current experience. While it’s not the case for everyone, 2020/21 have been challenging years for a lot of people. This is particularly the case for vulnerable customers or those who have been on furlough or facing redundancy. For these people, sudden changes to their energy bills could result in frustration and lead to some customers making a complaint.

Calls during this period may also be more complex than usual, with customers looking at switching energy providers but also wanting to see if their provider can offer a better deal. These more complex calls and complaints provide firms with an opportunity to build strong relationships with their customers, at a time when they might be feeling worried about the upcoming changes.

So how can utility firms build trust with their customers?

Utility firms that can get on the front foot by having ‘human’ conversations with customers to why the price cap increase is happening, provide customers with all the information they need and be empathetic to their situation, will build trust and earn their loyalty.

By showing empathy and putting themselves in their customer’s shoes from the first point of contact, companies will be able to build stronger relationships with existing customers and encourage long term brand loyalty. And providing great customer service now, will help to safeguard a firm’s CSAT scores and positions in the CAB League Table. This means the price cap pinch point can provide companies with an opportunity to deliver great customer service at a time when customers are going to be looking for a voice they can trust.

Thinking in this way can really help firms – ultimately, customers want to feel valued by their provider, especially when they can switch provider at a click of a button. The Complaints Outlook 2021 report found that there was a 24% higher retention rate following the resolution of a complaint, for those who felt valued as an existing customer during their initial interaction. The report also found that 17% more customers would recommend a company to others if they felt valued during the complaints process.

Huntswood provides customer insight and customer service expertise to build trust with customers and make them feel valued. We can help by sourcing expert call handlers that deliver quality results on complex complaints, with adaptable levels of support bespoke to the businesses’ needs. Our UK-based customer service experts will be able to empathise with this price cap increase being in the same situation themselves and provide genuinely supportive customer service resolutions.

Are you a utility firm looking to improve the customer complaint journey and improve satisfaction? Get in touch with the Huntswood team to learn more.