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Spark Logo

Spark Energy, are an exciting challenger brand in the UK’s energy sector. They’ve supplied energy to over 350,000 people across the country, and continue to grow, now as part of the OVO Energy family, thanks to their focus on service and simplicity.

Because energy is a competitive market, with razor-thin profit margins, Spark need to be better at service than their competition to retain their customers, and build a steady stream of recommendations.

We spoke to Meg Darling, Head of Customer Service.

The Spark team

Tell us about Spark…

When you sell a commodity like energy, it’s important to find ways to differentiate yourself in a competitive environment, and the way that we do that is through our people.

You can’t expect great customer service from a team that doesn’t feel supported, so we go out of our way to provide that support. We try to create an environment where our people know that we care for them, where people know they’ll be listened to, and where people who want to grow and develop in their roles get the opportunity to do that.

We’re a vibrant company. Change is inevitable, so we try and keep ahead of change, by continually improving our systems, and continually investing in the skills of our people

And really importantly to us, as a major employer, we’re a huge part of the community here in the Scottish Borders. Families trust us to treat them with respect, and that’s a responsibility we take seriously.

What drove you to look for a customer feedback platform?

We knew that to grow as a business we needed to not only measure, but improve satisfaction… And we knew that the easiest way to improve satisfaction is listening to customer feedback.

And what was important to you when you chose a supplier?

We needed some key features:

  • Segmentation: Different customers have different needs so it was vital that we could segment scores and insights across our diverse customer base.
  • Flexibility: We needed control over how our feedback surveys look, work, and what questions they ask.
  • Advisor-friendly: We employ great advisors who are keen to engage directly with customer feedback to help with their personal development, so it was really important that we chose a platform that supported this, and was easy to use, to avoid lengthy training.

It’s easy to use. It’s great that our agents engage with CustomerSure so well.

How has CustomerSure helped you achieve your business goals?

Key for us was that we improved the quality and decreased the cost of our customer service, and we’ve seen success in both those areas.

By using CustomerSure to identify ‘pinch points’, we’ve improved First Call Resolution, reduced duplicate calls, and measurably improved customer satisfaction.

We discover which touchpoints in our customer journeys have problems, leading to people calling us multiple times to fix an issue, and tackle the root causes of those problems

The Spark team

But in addition, we can easily spot customers who are losing patience with us, and intervene early, often by proactively calling them to talk issues through and come to a resolution. We call back up to 30% of our negative feedback.

This approach has lead to a reduction in complaint volume!!

What changes have you seen since you increased your customer focus?

We’ve seen a reduction in call volume, which has naturally reduced our cost of service

One unexpected benefit is it’s simplified and improved the conversations we have around the value of satisfaction to our bottom line:

Now I have continuous real-time satisfaction data, I can have more meaningful conversations with our business about what, exactly, a budget decrease or increase would mean to customer satisfaction.

CustomerSure has helped make our culture more customer-centric. Agents love working with the feedback, and want to know their numbers. Discussing verbatim customer comments has been a really impressive way of improving our teams’ all-important “soft skills”.

The Spark team

Anything funny in the feedback you’ve received?

We did have a lady who worked for a competitor write something along the lines of “I know you won’t respond to this, because at XXXX, we don’t even bother to read customer comments”

…I called her back.

What would be your advice to someone getting started with real-time customer feedback?

You get out what you put in.

It’s easy to get paralysed by insight, but not know how to act on it, which is why we have a full-time employee responsible for customer experience improvement. Don’t expect it to run itself.

Other than that, it’s important to review things regularly. Your business changes, your customers’ expectations change, so it’s important to make sure your experience improvement programme keeps pace.

Read more:

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