Energy suppliers in the UK are often the subject of frustration and ire because customers are dissatisfied with the services they are receiving. In the case of Npower, one of the Big Six providers, such complaints reach social media, where virtually anyone connected to the Internet can read.
The company has been struggling with complaints handling, along with a stack of other issues, for years.
This time, let us look into some of the grievances posted on customers’ social media accounts, and find out how the firm has been responding.
A Npower customer with Twitter handle @MariaPontmercy tagged @npowerhelp to complain about their smart meter that suddenly stopped working. Npower took a day to respond to the tweet, suggesting that the customer restart the smart meter and see whether it works.
The customer already turned it off and even let the battery run out, but the smart meter kept restarting on its own.
However, a day’s delay in the response could have been one of the fastest Npower has ever replied to a complaint. Take, for instance, @rwarby29 on Twitter complaining about having been ignored by the company. She sent a complaint on the 3rd of July but still has not received any answer on the 19 of July when she chased them on the social media platform attaching her complaint reference.
Again, the company replied a day late, asking the customer to send a private message on the platform regarding the details of her complaint so they can chase it for her.
On Npower’s guide on its complaints process, the firm acknowledged that some issues don’t get resolved straight away. The firm promises to do the best in settling issues in as long as ten working days.
However, many customers will say that the company takes longer than ten days to respond and take action. Several posts on social media allege that Npower tends to ‘ignore’ customer complaints often.
Npower customer @Beamerbrums took to Twitter to complain about the company’s live chat function. He said that he didn’t get the answer he needed, and instead got an apology because the bot failed to understand his question.
The representative for Npower Help replied to the customer, saying that they use live chatbots for this feature before a client is forwarded to an actual customer service representative. As per standard, the firm asked Andy Chance to sent a message privately so they can look into his query and a real human can review it.
Npower’s live chat function found at https://www.npower.com/help-and-support/chat/npower should have been one of the easiest ways to contact the company whenever a customer has any complaint to raise.
However, this case isn’t unique—several other customer reviews mention Npower’s live chat feature as confusing, slow, and even unhelpful when airing grievances.
Yet another customer complained on Facebook, stating that they haven’t gotten any response on live chat, phone line, or social media. They have been trying for two days to sort out billing issues but failed to get a hold of a customer representative.
Npower apologised for the blunder and said that Facebook is not manned 24/7, which explains the lack of reply. However, it failed to give the reason why the customer experienced phone lines getting cut while they’re trying to call the firm.
Many customers feel that their complaints are falling on deaf ears, but at the same time, hoping that their issues get resolved as quickly as possible. There have been numerous tweets, posts, and comments expressing frustration over the firm’s apparent lack of urgency when handling complaints.
It has been proven by reviews time and again that Npower falls short on customer service and complaints handling. However, the company keeps failing to demonstrate its willingness to improve its performance.
It can be remembered in 2014 that Npower received more than 8,000 complaints per 100,000 customers in just the first quarter of that year. Last year, Ofgem revealed that the firm ranked third on the list of the most complained suppliers, only a few points behind SSE and E.ON.