Our interactive customer service indicators
Energy suppliers offer more than different prices – they also offer different levels of customer service. These indicators give a snapshot of the performance trends we monitor on supplier customer service.
Customer service highlights February 2021
Satisfaction with the overall customer service across the retail market fell to 68% in Q4 2021, its lowest level since this survey began. Large suppliers as a group saw a three percentage points drop in customer satisfaction, down to 68%. However, medium suppliers saw an increase of three percentage points, rising to 67%, and small suppliers gained nine percentage points, up to 75%. These improvements partly reflect the exit of suppliers with problems that previously belonged to these groups.
Satisfaction levels with billing accuracy decreased three percentage points to 71%, while ease of understanding of the bill decreased two percentage points to 72%.
Satisfaction with ease of comparing suppliers (71%) and the overall switching process (79%) fell by three percentage points each. Since the start of the current high wholesale price crisis, price comparison and switching sites have experienced difficulties with advertising tariff deals, possibly affecting customers’ perceptions of the switching process.
Customers' experience of how easy it is to contact their supplier also saw a significant decline compared to the previous quarter. The proportion of customers finding it very or fairly easy to contact their supplier was down to 49%, the lowest since the survey began.
Due to a review of the questionnaire, survey data measuring customer satisfaction for Q4 2021 was collected in early January 2022. Consequently, the survey data may not be fully aligned with other metrics for this quarter.
If things go wrong
Across the market, the number of complaints received by suppliers per 100,000 customer accounts in Q4 2021 declined by 3% compared to Q3 2021, but it was 5% higher than in Q4 2020.
While the number of received complaints was relatively stable for the group of large suppliers, up by 1% from the previous quarter, it dropped significantly for medium and small suppliers, which were down by 26% and 28% respectively. This trend is in line with the customer satisfaction results and partly reflects the recent exit of suppliers with a poor complaint performance.
A significant number of customer accounts that were moved to a new supplier under a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) process in the latter half of 2021 are not yet included in the data for Q4 2021, and to a lesser extent, Q3 2021. We expect these customer accounts, and any associated complaints, to be added in the next updates.
We all expect certain things from our energy suppliers, like understandable bills and the ability to contact them when we need to. These indicators show customer satisfaction with those and other fundamental points, for the overall market and across different groups of suppliers. The data comes from a new dedicated quarterly energy satisfaction survey commissioned in 2018 by Ofgem in conjunction with Citizens Advice.
For previously published customer satisfaction indicators based on a different survey and methodology as of February 2017 please see Customer satisfaction indicators - previous updates.
If things go wrong
No-one wants to have to complain about their energy supplier, and if you do, you want them to resolve your problem as soon as possible. Ofgem, Citizens Advice and the Ombudsman publish complaints statistics. The separate statistics show how many complaints suppliers receive, how many complaints Citizens Advice handle, weighted by the seriousness of the complaint, and how many complaints are accepted by the Ombudsman after failing to be resolved by the supplier. This helps to show a full picture of the customer’s complaint from start to finish.
The complaints data is provided by suppliers. As of July 2018, suppliers are required to submit complaints data to us on a monthly and quarterly basis. See our guidance on submitting customer complaints data. They also publish domestic complaints data on their websites, including their 'top 5' reasons for complaints and the measures they are taking to improve how they handle customer complaints. The six large legacy suppliers have voluntarily published quarterly domestic complaints data since 1 October 2012, and many smaller suppliers have done so from 1 April 2013. At present, we generally cover suppliers with at least one full year of data. Missing data points in the complaint charts are due to suppliers failing to make the information available in time for our publication update or due to cases where we have asked suppliers to resolve data discrepancies.
Sometimes you might need your supplier to provide you additional support, for example by helping you to repay an energy debt. These indicators compare how well suppliers support their customers.