30 April 2020
Customer centricity is the cornerstone of our strategy. The key measure of our progress in becoming a more customer centric organisation is the annual Customer Satisfaction Survey undertaken by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).
In early February we asked you to take part in our annual survey. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for finding the time to complete it and providing us with your honest feedback. The results have now been received and I’m disappointed to share our customer satisfaction has dropped to 67.1%. This is 2.6% lower than last year and 5.9% below our 73% target. For the Utilities Sector as a whole, Customer Satisfaction has dropped by 2.4%, to 72.3%.
The reduction in scoring is heavily shaped by responses from our customers in the Distribution Network (DN) and Independent Gas Transporters (IGT). Despite overall reduction in scoring, satisfaction scores across all Shipper segments, as well as the National Transmission improved when compared to 2018/9. Our customers are most happy with the attitude and helpfulness of our employees.
Meeting our ICS target is THE measure of Customer Centricity for Xoserve and is one of the primary measures of whether we are succeeding. The scores are disappointing, but after a difficult year operationally, we are not surprised by the results. Our overall score and segment analysis reminds us how far we still have to go.
Looking forward - what are we going to do to improve things for our customers?
Clear opportunities exist to drive improvements to our customer experience, these require strategic transformation of tooling, process and behaviours. Our investment plans are intended to address the core areas of feedback we’ve received. We already have advanced and made rigorous plans for 2020/21, focussing on tactical improvements:
Transforming the customer contact experience - The operational challenges from 2019/20 impaired much of our original planning to deliver Reliability and Consistency. Customer feedback, particularly in quarter three of last year made clear that patience around our lack of reliability had expired. In quarter four, we’ve made demonstrable strides to establish the foundational controls, processes and measures to drive greater reliability and consistency in the way we serve you. These improvements have given us the foundation to layer strategic investments throughout 20/21, which will transform the customer experience through combining world class customer and ticket management tools. These investments will make it simpler, easier and quicker for you to connect the right people for the right things and will arm our employees with the insights and context they need for every customer engagement.
Process automation - Many of the challenges we’ve faced around Right First Time (RFT) and Cycle Time (CT) lie in the fact that our processes continue to rely on manual activity and are therefore prone to error. During 2019/20 we ran successful ‘Proof of Value’ workstreams to demonstrate the potential for significant improvements in quality, speed and cost through systematic automation. Expanding and making Production ready these automation capabilities will be a core area of focus in 2020/21.
Customer insights and communication - The quality and consistency of our customer communications, whilst improving, remains a source of concern for many of you. Our strategic investment in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tooling will provide you with direct access to maintain distribution lists, creating the freedom to subscribe and unsubscribe from key communications channels. We’ll invest in our Customer Advocate and Customer Care teams to ensure that we’re building and maintaining relationships that cater to the nuances of each Customer segment. We’ll use the growing strength and understanding of these relationships to bring customer insights back into our business, guiding the decisions we make and framing opportunities to bring new, value adding products and services to market.
Customer centric behaviours - In 2020/21 we’ll be establishing a number of ‘Customer Contact Principles’ to provide our people with an understanding of how we serve customers consistently, and in a customer centric mindset. A greater emphasis on promoting success stories for how we serve our customers will be used and a more direct approach will be undertaken to measure and address instances of customer service failure. Cross functional teams are now being used to drive greater progress to the speed and quality of query resolution. Since January 2020 we’ve seen a 33% reduction in overall queries and a reduction of resolution time for non-urgent queries from 10.98 to 3.8 days. We’ll build on this momentum and continue to utilise cross functional ways of working to drive customer centric outcomes.
Andy Szabo, Chief Customer Officer
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