Scottish Power’s Major Customer Service Fail
Unfortunately for Scottish Power, they have recently learnt the hard way that delivering bad customer service and getting away with it is near enough impossible in today’s consumer market (we’ll always suss you out…) The energy giant has come under massive fire and as a result is being forced to pay for their shocking state of service, by energy regulators Ofgem. It seems plans by Scottish Power to improve their service to customers has massively backfired and speaking of their wrong-doings, Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan has said ‘Scottish Power let its customers down during the implementation of a new IT system. When things went wrong, it didn’t act quickly enough to fix them.’ ‘the £18m payment send a strong message to all energy companies about the importance of treating customers well at all times, including while new systems are put in place.’
The company have agreed to pay a rather large sum of 18 million back to families that have been affected by their mistakes which included the generation of inaccurately estimated bills and direct debit demands. Some people claimed they hadn’t received a bill for months on end. Contacting the company to resolve said issues became every customer’s nightmare as they were also blasted for ‘unacceptably long call waiting times.’ As a result of shocking lack of cooperation and general neglect for their customers, it is time Scottish Power did the right thing.
The company received a whopping one million complaints between June 2013 and December 32015. In a day and age where customer service is essential to a successful business, the revelations could potentially be permanently damaging for Scottish Power. Despite their new not so shiny reputation, head of retail and generation for Scottish Power Neil Clitheroe says that he ‘gave a guarantee that no customer would be left out of pocket by their issues and we continue to compensate customers who have been affected.’ To be fair to Scottish Power for a moment, it has been announced by Ofgem following the investigation that there has been a significant improvement in their customer service.
A big price to pay
The customer service fails of Scottish Power hasn’t come at a small price, and the energy guys have found themselves paying out a grand total of £48 million in the name of customer service. Problems with their IT systems meant that they paid out £30 million in compensation to customers, and a further 18 million following Ofgem’s investigation. Chief exec Neil Clitheroe explains the predicament: ‘in order to upgrade our new IT systems, we invested £200 million on new technology to allow us to deliver smarter, digital products and services to benefit our customers. During the complex transition between systems we encountered a range of technical issues. This led to an unacceptable increase in complaints and reduced the quality of our customer service.’ We are glad to see they are getting back on track and the customers they have inconvenienced receive the money that they deserve.
While Scottish Power accept they have to make amends for the way they treated their customers, Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy expresses her approval for the fines and says; we also need the industry to start learning the lessons from issues which have caused such misery for consumers.’ Energy expert Tom Lyon has also supported the order of compensation from Scottish Powe: ‘by imposing such a significant fine, the regulator is sending the energy industry a clear message that consumers must be treated fairly.’
So if there’s any strong and obvious moral to that story, we believe it would be ‘do not mess with your customers’. You heard it here first.