Our promise to treat customers fairly

At SSE, our customers will always come first. Energy is an essential service and customers put their trust in us to provide them with a reliable supply and rightly expect first class service.

We can be proud that in the last 12 months we set a new company record in the Citizens Advice Energy Supplier Performance report for complaint handling with just 20.5 complaints per 100,000 customers in the final quarter of 2016. I believe we have a duty to continually drive improvements in the services we offer and treat our customers fairly, not just because our customers expect it but because it’s the right thing to do.

Our industry regulator, Ofgem, has made this commitment to fairness a requirement for all energy suppliers and so today we’ve published our Treating Customers Fairly Statement to demonstrate how we are meeting this commitment.

This statement provides an annual update on the work we’re doing to drive improvements in our service and deliver fair treatment through our behaviour, customer service arrangements and the information we provide to all of our customers. It also sets out some of the vital support on offer through our partnerships with SignVideo, Language Line and StepChange Debt Charity.

I’m proud to say that, over the last 12 months, we’ve made some excellent progress towards meeting last year’s commitments. In particular, I’m pleased with the progress being made to achieve the British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision (BSI). BSI represents the gold standard for any company looking to put in place flexible and inclusive customer service practices. The standard was developed by consumer organisations, charities and government bodies to ensure services are as accessible as they can be, and to help increase consumer confidence in those who provide essential services.

We know that no two customers are the same and vulnerability can come in many different forms. Our work with the BSI will help us identify vulnerability, no matter the form it takes, and adapt our service to suit that customer’s individual needs. We have made very good progress since the process began last year and I’m very happy to say we’re on track to achieve the standard in spring 2018.

Further notable highlights of our progress include:

  • In last year’s statement we promised to review our customer service opening hours. Our phone lines are now open until 10pm Monday to Friday and until 6pm on Saturdays, making it easier for customers to get hold of us.
  • We’ve reviewed our complaints handling process and have made improvements to ensure complaints are escalated earlier and that the root causes of common themed complaints are addressed.
  • We’ve improved our websites and digital platforms to make it easier for customers to manage their account online by streamlining the process for setting up accounts, changing tariffs or booking smart meter installations.
  • A new Director of Customer Experience has been appointed who will assume responsibility for ensuring SSE provides the best possible experience for customers whenever and however they engage with us.

I’m proud of our industry leading customer service but we know there’s always more to be done. That’s why I welcome the appointment of a new Lead for Treating Customers Fairly who will be supported by a new team who will be working hard to ensure these principles are embedded throughout everything that SSE does.

Through our Customer Forums and online community of just over3000 customers - ‘Customer Connect’ - over the next 12 months, we’ll continue to listen to our customers’ feedback, identify areas where we aren’t performing as we should and find ways to exceed expectations. We owe it to our customers to continuously improve our service and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

About the author

Tony Keeling Director of Customer Service

Tony Keeling is Director of Customer Service at SSE and has been with the company since 2000. He is responsible for all aspects of the customer service experience, including setting the customer service vision and strategy.

Read more articles by Tony Keeling