Two emails from the Badger’s energy provider made him cogitate on his account being moved over a year ago to a new billing system. The move has resulted in less functionality in his online account than with the old one. If companies want customers to engage with them using online accounts and smartphone apps, then surely a transition to a system that provides customers less online functionality when logged into their accounts indicates that something’s awry behind the scenes?
The first email notified the Badger that his energy bill was available in his online account. The second, entitled ‘We need your help’, was a request to answer a few questions related to customer satisfaction and customer service. The Badger logged into his account to look at his bill. He sighed, just as he has on each login since February 2022 when his provider moved his account to their new system. The Badger’s been with this provider for some years, and it used to be easy to track energy usage and cost trends, payments, and to see local comparative information in a useful customer-friendly way. Given the climate crisis, the need to reduce fossil fuel usage, and the pandemic, these facilities were particularly useful. Sadly, being moved to the new billing system meant these facilities, which require access to historic data on the old system, were no longer available. Prior energy data was not migrated to the new system. The move effectively meant becoming a new customer on a new system providing only rudimentary online services for meter readings, bills and payments.
There’s been no change in the rudimentary facilities in the Badger’s online account since being moved to the new system. Instincts honed from decades in the IT industry have driven the Badger to think that the energy provider’s move to a new billing system has proved more problematic behind the scenes than expected. If this is the case, they will never admit it! Moving from older systems to new ones is always a challenge for any company. It’s always difficult to effect the transitions that a company needs to make for its own purposes without upsetting some customers, but if customer online account services go backwards and stay that way for a year or more, then either the change hasn’t gone as planned or the company is disdainful of its customers – or both.
After logging in this time, the Badger decided that his days as a customer with this provider are numbered. He answered their ‘We need your help’ email with some clear points, but it will make no difference. Why? Because as one of the big six energy suppliers to UK customers, their perpetually mediocre customer service scores imply that customers are not really a high priority. So, who’s the Badger’s provider? Look here and see if you can guess…