This article provides the full transcript and slides from a recent webinar looking at the background and process for managing energy consumer complaints. Compliance Quarter clients looking to obtain further advice on this important topic should contact the team by clicking here.
1. Current Trends
2. The Standards
3. The Practice
- AER’s published reports provide intelligence on the market.
- Reports are found here: https://www.aer.gov.au/retail-markets/performance-reporting
- Another good source of information is each ombudsman scheme’s reports i.e. here https://www.ewon.com.au/page/publications-and-submissions/annual-reports
- Trends of complaints over time.
- Billing remains a significant issue.
- New categories of meter exchange.
- The reduced number of marketing complaints-will that rise?
- Expect to see embedded networks present their own issues.
- Regulatory Obligations
NERR(1) A retailer must include, as a minimum requirement in relation to the terms and conditions of a market retail contract, provisions to the effect of the following:
(a) the small customers may, if they have a query, complaint or dispute, contact the retailer;
(b) the retailer is obliged to handle a complaint made by a small customer in accordance with the retailer’s standard complaints and dispute resolution procedure, which can be found on the retailer’s website or provided to the customer on request;
(c) the retailer must inform the small customer of the outcome of the customer’s complaint;
(d) if the small customer is not satisfied with the retailer’s response to the customer’s complaint, the customer has a right to refer the complaint or dispute to the energy ombudsman.
NERL selection B1: The procedures must be substantially consistent with the Australian Standard AS ISO 10002-2006 (Customer satisfaction Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations) as amended and updated from time to time.
Note: restrictions on disconnection where there is an open complaint.
- ISO 10002:2014 provides guidance on the process of complaints handling related to products within an organization, including planning, design, operation, maintenance, and improvement. The complaints handling process described is suitable for use as one of the processes of an overall quality management system.
- Enhancing customer satisfaction by creating a customer-focused environment that is open to feedback (including complaints), resolving any complaints received, and enhancing the organization’s ability to improve its product and customer service;
- Top management involvement and commitment through adequate acquisition and deployment of resources, including personal training;
- Recognizing and addressing the needs and expectations of complainants;
- Providing complaints with an open, effective, and easy-to-use complaints process;
- Analyzing and evaluating complaints in order to improve the product and customer service quality;
- Auditing of the complaints-handling process; and
- Reviewing the effectiveness and efficiency of the complaints-handling process.
Listen to the complaint
Thank the customer for bringing the matter to your attention. Apologize and accept ownership, don’t blame others and remain courteous.
Record details of the complaint
Go through the complaint in detail so you can understand exactly what the problem is, Keep records of all complaints in one central place or register. This will help you identify any trends or issues.
Get all the facts
Check that you have understood and recorded the details of the complaint correctly. Ask questions if necessary.
Discuss options for fixing the problem
Ask the customer what response they are seeking; It could be a repair, replacement, refund or apology, Decide if the request is reasonable.
Aim to resolve the complaint quickly, If you take a long time they tend to escalate.
Keep your promise
Keep the customer informed if there any delays in resolving their request. Don’t promise things that you can’t deliver.
Contact the customer to find out if they were satisfied with how their complaint was handled. Let them know what you are doing to avoid the problem in the future.
Ensure that there is an internal escalation process
- The ACCC report on the electricity industry was published yesterday (11th July 2018).
- Our initial analysis is available online
- The report slammed the electricity industry.
- Issues identified relating to marketing, billing, affordability related to complaints.
- Review – Review your complaints management policy and procedure
- Obtain – Obtain and review the standard
- Audit – Audit your existing processes
- Consider – Consider areas for improvement
- Ensure – Ensure the involvement of management and the board; and
- Look – Look at complaints ad a data point for business improvement.