The UK Energy sector is continuously changing—right from the development of new plants to net-zero targets and penalties sanctioned by the industry watchdog Ofgem.
However, one thing that remains steady is the complaints related to poor customer service offered by some of the energy companies. In that aspect, Npower continues to be one of the worst energy suppliers in the UK based on consumer opinion.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, there has been a sharp increase in consumers who described their energy company’s customer service as inferior. A poll found that customers of the Big Six suppliers were disgruntled at the level of client care they are getting.
The top three companies with the worst ratings are Npower, Scottish Power, and British Gas.
Only 27% of Npower’s customers reported receiving ‘great’ customer service. It’s a 10% decrease from similar reports last March. The ratings fell from 47% to 29% for Scottish Power, and from 53% to 30% for British Gas. The survey did not include providers that had less than 100 respondents.
According to Uswitch energy expert Rik Smith, the recent survey results show what consumers want the most. Apart from value deals on bills, consumers are looking for excellent customer service. In case they are not getting their expected level of care, customers can take matters into their hands and save several hundred pounds while at it.
nPower has been dealing with increasing customer complaints for years. nPower bore the brunt of this dilemma in the form of hefty penalties levied by Ofgem. The fine was explicitly for failing to rectify the situation and improve the overall customer support for their pricey electricity and gas service.
With this problem persisting for over two years, industry experts question why nPower has failed to improve its unsatisfactory service. The company has even surged ahead of Ryanair, the infamous low-cost airline, to get the title of worst company in the United Kingdom with regards to customer service.
Unlike Ryanair, which has thrifty margins, nPower makes substantial profits on both the electricity and gas supplies offered to domestic and commercial customers.
The UK consumer group ‘Which?’ also conducted a survey in which nPower ranked on the top 100 brands nationwide based on customer service. nPower went from the 99th spot to the last place of the list. However, it’s not the only energy company on the list. Scottish Power slipped from the 62nd spot to 99th position, just a notch above nPower.
nPower attributes the issues of poor customer service to technical glitches like the firm’s computer systems. There have been numerous customer complaints about delayed, missing or wrong bills.
Ofgem stepped in a while back by issuing a warning. The regulator stated that if the company did not clear its 400,000-long backlog of customer queries, then it would be banned from telesales.
The lack of trust in the Big Six energy suppliers continues as customers switch over to newer smaller firms. The highest that any energy company has achieved in terms of customer service rankings are the 81st spot taken by EDF energy. British Gas and E.ON stood jointly at 86, and SSE at 94th place.
The customer surveys were done before Ofgem issued the ultimatum to nPower. While logic suggests improvements may have been made since then, it does not seem to be the case.
It is vital that all the energy suppliers, especially nPower and the rest of the Big Six, do what is necessary to rebuild customers’ trust. For Npower, addressing customer service and billing complaints sounds like a good place to start.