Suppliers failing customers on bill transparency

Energy suppliers are failing to make progress on simplifying energy bills and are missing out on a “crucial customer touch point”, suggests new research from Echo Managed Services.

Despite measures introduced by Ofgem in 2014 to make energy bills easier for consumers to understand, 70 per cent of consumers surveyed by Echo Managed Services, a customer service and debt recovery service provider, said that bills have either remained as difficult to understand or have become harder to understand. Just 3 in 10 customers said that feel bills are getting easier to interpret.

Billing jargon remains a crucial point of confusion for the customer. In the survey of 1,000 UK adults, “tariff information label” topped the list for the most confusing terminology in bills, with 78 per cent off customers admitting to not understanding the term. This was followed closely by “chargeable value” (72 per cent) and “tariff comparison rate” (72 per cent).

Echo Managed Services managing director Nigel Baker said: “While it is disappointing that the majority of consumers feel that they are not seeing any improvement in the clarity of their bills, these findings should also be viewed as an opportunity for businesses.”

Customers told Echo Managed Service that billing clarity should be the number one focus for energy companies with regards to collections with under a quarter saying that bills had helped them to save money to date. Meanwhile, just one in five said that a bill had provided useful information on new products and services that they might switch to.

The research also revealed that up to 36 per cent of late or non-payments can be attributed to inaccurate billing information, not understanding the bill and “bill shock”.

Baker continued: “Our research found that those companies willing to understand and empathise with customers by simplifying bills, providing greater transparency, ensuring the lines of communication with customers remain open, and adding value, will be able to bolster loyalty and improve the company-customer relationship.”

Author: Alex Baldwin, reporter, Utility Week,
Channel: Customers

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