Energy suppliers = Good service??

logos of energy suppliers UKI must admit I have been quite impressed by SSE Southern Electric. I called them in regards to my tariff. At the end of the call, the lady asked whether there was anything else they could help me with today. She used my name several times in the conversation so this made it feel more personal. She asked if I perhaps wanted any energy saving advice. I mentioned that I didn’t think there was much I could do to save energy since I just had a very old boiler that you could only turn either on or off. She asked me several questions. She then let me know that they have some special offers on boilers at the moment. I hadn’t previously been aware that they offered boilers. The lady told me that they currently had a £400 discount plus two years free cover worth about another £350. I told her that I didn’t need it right now, but it was useful to know for future. I was very impressed that she offered me some energy saving advice, rather than rushing off the telephone to speak with the next customer. This made me think very well of the company and encouraged me to be loyal to them. It also gave the staff member a chance to tell me about other products that they offered.

Before I had a chance to publish this post I spoke to SSE again! Their service seems to get better and better. I wanted to clarify some points on their fixed rate tariffs. The staff member seemed so patient and happy to speak with me. It was almost like talking to a friend. I really felt as though she was on my side. She even pointed out that I could get a better rate than the two year tariff that I was thinking of changing to. She said that the one year tariff could save me more. She even did a calculation based on my previous usage to calculate how much I would save – about £200 a year! Thank you! I was very impressed. I felt incredibly reassured as I could see that she knew what she was talking about. She had clearly been well trained to know what products and tariffs they could offer. At the end of the conversation, the staff member checked whether there was “anything else AT ALL,” that she could help me with today. She was so friendly too and ended the call with one of those ongoing exchanges where we were wishing each other a good day. It is very unlikely that I will switch away from SSE in the near future. It is so refreshing to witness staff at a large organisation taking pride in the quality of the service that they offer. I would find it so much more stressful to deal with an electric company that offered poor service.

Just to add that SSE make a point of promoting energy saving advice. I like this as it shows that they are putting the customers’ needs first rather than trying to get as much money from them as possible. This is a great attitude for promoting customer loyalty. It’s a thumbs up from me.

Setting Customer Expectations

diagram of customer needsWhen a company does what it says it is going to do then builds trust between the company and the customer. When a company fails to fulfill a promise, the opposite can happen. Recently, our local water supplier spent a couple of days in our road, dealing with a leak outside our house. When they departed, they left a lot of stones on the lawn, which would have been dangerous and would have blunted the blade on my lawnmower, had I not spent several minutes picking them up. It struck me as being very slovenly. However I received a very nice note through the door, explaining how much the company tries to improve the customer experience and inviting me to let them know if I was happy with their work. I therefore rang them to let them know about the stones on the lawn. Since I had removed the stones, there was no point in asking them to come back, so I just registered my comment and said there was no need to do any remedial work. However, the lady, who answered the phone, said that someone would phone me back after lunch. This did not happen, which annoyed me more than the original problem, because I felt that I had a promise that something would be done and it wasn’t. I had been encouraged by the first call to believe that the poor service was an exception but, having been let down by the lack of a call back, I rather believe that the poor service was not an exception. The lesson is, carry through on your promises.

Thank you to Keith for this week’s post.

Law Firms

PA VARecently I contacted a law firm to see if they could assist me with preparing some contracts.  I got through to the receptionist after the phone had been ringing for over a minute.  The receptionist said she would put me through to the person who could help me.  The person who answered the call said her name was “Sarah”.  Sarah did not sound very confident that she could assist with my enquiry.  What I found most concerning was that Sarah did not state her role or which department she worked in.  Therefore I had no idea of her expertise or qualifications or why she had been chosen as the person to assist me.  I think it is of high importance that the staff tell potential clients what their position is.  This would have set my expectations and left me feeling a lot more reassured.  I could have then either asked Sarah if I could to speak to a colleague with a higher level of expertise or I could have asked her the reasons for her hesitancy.  As it stood, I felt it would have been impolite to ask her position.  I did not feel confident in the company and so I decided not to proceed with their service.  I had the same issue when purchasing a property.  It was only right at the end of the process that I discovered that my solicitor was a trainee.  Had I known this from the start, I would have felt more grateful for the effort that he was making.  As it was, I had a perception that he was not taking my case as seriously as I would have expected from someone who had a higher level of experience.  The conclusion that I draw from this is that in potentially stressful situations it is important that clients understand the position and skills of the person with whom they are dealing.  This sets expectations from the start. Have you been in a similar situation?  Interested to hear your stories and comments below.