Utilities rank second-worst for customer service

Utility companies ranked the second worst industry for customer experience and service for the second year running.

The percentage of customers who cited utilities as one of the worst sectors increased to 36 per cent in 2015/16, compared with 31 per cent the previous 12 months.

The data from Engine’s annual Customer Experience Survey also showed that openness and honesty are the most valued traits in the way a company deals with customers (cited as a top-three trait by 50 per cent of people), followed by efficiency (48 per cent) and reliability (44 per cent).

Engine co-founder Oliver King said: “Perception of customer experience in utilities is heading the wrong way again, after a brief improvement last year.

“This should be a wake-up call, for the biggest suppliers in particular, who are losing customers as households increasingly switch to smaller suppliers for cheaper tariffs.

“As price competition intensifies, customers are becoming savvier so maintaining their loyalty involves moving beyond price and becoming more customer-centric by providing new service and account offerings that are easy, even enjoyable, to use.”

The report revealed that 66 per cent of customers are likely to recommend a company based on the quality of service compared to 60 per cent in 2015.

Utilities ranked after public transport and train operators who scored 38 per cent for customer service and experience.