How we’re doing with our complaints

We take every complaint seriously because we want to give you excellent service. So we’re working hard to understand where we are going wrong so we can fix the issues that are driving complaints.

Our latest report is for the first quarter of 2017 (1st January to 31st March 2017).

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

Meeting your Expectations - An update on our complaint improvement activities by Mark Hodges (PDF 247 KB)

How we're doing

Q1 2016

Reporting period

Q1 2016

Complaints received

269,061

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,866

Complaints resolved

265,360

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,840

% resolved same or next working day

56.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.4%

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%

What happened in Q1 2017?

  • There was a decrease in complaints received per 100K customer accounts compared to the last quarter and there was 24% reduction on the same time the year before.
  • We resolved a total of 203,060 complaints in Q1 which is 1,456 complaints per 100k customer accounts.
  • We’ve seen a slight decrease in the number of complaints resolved on the same or next working day compared to last quarter. We have invested in customer service as well as looking at ways to improve our processes and systems and training our people; this has helped to drive a reduction in simpler complaints leaving more complex complaints which can often take longer to resolve.
  • We saw a slight decrease in the number of complaints we resolved within eight weeks compared to the last quarter.
  • We received 1350 Ombudsman complaints. That’s only 14% of the residential customer complaints the Ombudsman has taken on from every supplier – and we have a customer market share of around 28%.

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 continue to work closely with them to gain more insight and to understand why customers escalate their complaints to them, as well as ensuring our internal policies and procedures are improving to reduce the need for escalation to a third party.

Top five complaint reasons and plans to address

Payments

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2016

26%

Q2 2016

25%

Q3 2016

24%

Q4 2016

24%

Q1 2017

22%

Billing

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2016

17%

Q2 2016

20%

Q3 2016

18%

Q4 2016

15%

Q1 2017

18%

Metering

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2016

13%

Q2 2016

11%

Q3 2016

12%

Q4 2016

15%

Q1 2017

15%

Customer Service

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2016

14%

Q2 2016

12%

Q3 2016

13%

Q4 2016

14%

Q1 2017

14%

Communication

As a percentage of the total complaints received

Q1 2016

7%

Q2 2016

7%

Q3 2016

8%

Q4 2016

8%

Q1 2017

7%

Payments

Lots of things affect how many complaints we get about payments like seasonality, tariff changes, and how we explain payment plans. So we’re doing everything we can to make things simpler.

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve reviewed more than two million payment plans this quarter to make sure our customers are on track to have paid the correct amount by the end of their payment plan year.
  • It’s important that we explain changes to our customers in an easy to understand way, so we’ve made some changes to the letters we send to customers when their payment plan amounts are due to change.
  • We’ve created some useful online videos for our Pay As You Go customers covering some of their most frequently asked questions.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re reviewing the way we set up direct debit payment plans and are looking at ways we can make the initial forecasted consumption amounts more accurate.
  • We’re reviewing all of the letters we send to customers about their payment plans to make them simpler to understand.

Billing

We’re always looking at the reasons why our customers are unhappy about billing issues, so we can figure out how to fix them.

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve made changes to the way we present information in our bills and statements, to make it clearer for our customers to see how much energy they have used and how much this is costing them.
  • We’ve seen a significant decrease in the volume of billing complaints as we continue to focus on identifying and dealing with issues up front that could result in a delay or an issue with our customers receiving their bills on time.
  • We’ve identified and fixed an issue impacting our ability to ask customers to provide meter readings – this will increase the number of bills we can send with accurate (as opposed to estimated) meter readings.
  • We’ve improved our meter appointment visit timescales so we can now offer customers a visit earlier than we were previously able to do so.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re reviewing the customer billing experience so we can look at ways of making further improvements.

Metering

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

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve installed more than 375,000 Smart meters across Britain in quarter one. Smart meters automatically send meter readings to us, so customers are issued accurate bills, and no longer receive estimated ones.
  • We’ve trialled new customer appointment options when we need to change or fix meters.
  • We’re trialling new ways to contact Smart customers to help ensure they’re receiving all the benefits of Smart as quickly as possible.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re exploring ways to improve the energy efficiency advice we give in customers' homes.
  • We’re preparing to roll out the latest Smart software to our existing Smart customers so they can benefit from the technology available and be in more control of their energy usage.

Customer Service

Focusing on initiatives to ensure we get things right for our customers first time continues to be a priority for us.

What we’ve done:

  • We know customers like to have the flexibility to interact with us without having to make a phone call. We’ve therefore increased the number of people available to deal with our web chat enquiries.
  • We’ve continued to ask our customers who’ve complained, for feedback on how we’ve handled things so we can identify where we need to make further improvements.

What we’re doing:

  • We continue to invest in our customer service teams to ensure that we have the right number of people available to deal with enquires.

Communication

Communicating well with our customers is really important to us and we’re working hard to make sure we get things right.

What we’ve done:

  • We’ve been testing new technology and innovative ways to get in touch with our customers in order to resolve their complaints. We’ve seen some positive results so we’ve extended these trials, and are continuing to monitor the results.

What we’re doing:

  • We’re 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.
  • We’re working to make further improvements to the experience our customers have when they visit our website.
  • We’re reviewing how we receive and respond to emails from our customers so we can improve this process.

Previously reported complaints performance

Q1 2015

Reporting period

Q1 2015

Complaints received

446,766

Received per 100k customer accounts

3,051

Complaints resolved

439,796

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

3,003

% resolved same or next working day

75.1%

% resolved within 8 weeks

94.5%

Q2 2015

Reporting period

Q2 2015

Complaints received

367,926

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,507

Complaints resolved

369,552

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,519

% resolved same or next working day

70.4%

% resolved within 8 weeks

92.8%

Q3 2015

Reporting period

Q3 2015

Complaints received

313,290

Received per 100k customer accounts

2,141

Complaints resolved

311,265

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

2,127

% resolved same or next working day

67.8%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.9%

Q4 2015

Reporting period

Q4 2015

Complaints received

250,751

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,714

Complaints resolved

251,630

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,720

% resolved same or next working day

572%

% resolved within 8 weeks

90.9%

Q1 2016

Reporting period

Q1 2016

Complaints received

269,061

Received per 100k customer accounts

1,866

Complaints resolved

265,360

Resolved per 100k customer accounts

1,840

% resolved same or next working day

56.5%

% resolved within 8 weeks

91.4%

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%

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 2015 to 30th September 2016 this figure was 431,904.

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