Do you constantly put off calling your energy supplier as you know you might be left on hold? And have you ever noticed that if you phone to enquire about joining a new supplier, they tend to answer faster?
This is now the third time we’ve run our energy supplier call-waiting times investigation, where we make 384 calls to 16 different suppliers to measure the average wait time to get through to a human being.
What makes this latest investigation different, however, is that we also called the energy suppliers’ sales numbers as well as their customer service numbers.
Sales calls answered more quickly
And here are the results – 11 of the 16 suppliers answering potential new customers quicker than existing customers. Npower and Scottish Power took, on average, 10 minutes longer to pick up customer service calls than sales calls.
When we asked Scottish Power to explain why it took over 11 minutes to answer a customer service call, but just under a minute and a half for a sales call, it told us: ‘We are always looking to making improvements. Npower told us that the long waiting time was because it had just written to all of its customers asking them to contact Npower to discuss the best tariff for their needs.
Our fastest sales call was picked up in 3 seconds by Ecotricity, whereas one poor soul was left hanging on for 1 hour and 2 minutes to get through to Npower customer services. Ebico had the fastest call response times overall, with customers put straight through to a human without any automated voice system.
Existing customers still waiting
Many of the energy suppliers have improved on their call-waiting times since last year – Npower has improved from 17 minutes, for example. Still, nine out of the 16 suppliers have seen their average waiting times increase.
It’s time for energy suppliers to start prioritising their existing customers, providing them with high-quality customer service to help tackle the low levels of customer satisfaction and trust in the energy sector. Help us Fix the Big Six by signing our petition.
Have you had any horror stories about being kept on hold for an unacceptably long time? Have you ever been tempted to switch energy supplier because of its poor customer service?