The leadership of a company such as Enel necessarily depends on paying attention to customers and a high quality service: aspects which do not refer solely to the supply of electricity and natural gas, but also and above all to the intangible aspects of the service relating to customers’ perception and satisfaction.
There are numerous areas where action has been taken:
- development of new tools and channels of contact;
- improvement in back office processes;
- monitoring of complaints and information requests in order to reduce response times and ensure they are correctly handled;
- analysis of notifications, in order to understand the perception of customers and any current problems, so as to immediately put in place the due corrective action and not compromise overall customer satisfaction.
The attention dedicated to the issues connected to service quality was confirmed this year too by the customer satisfaction results from all the countries where Enel operates as a seller or distributor of electricity.
In Italy, as from January 1, 2015 the Authority for electricity, gas and water (AEEGSI) no longer provides the TQI (Total quality index) which in previous years defined the level of customer satisfaction with the customer care phone service.
Although the methodology of recording this data changed, nonetheless the excellent results of previous years were confirmed, as set out in the customer satisfaction index (CSI) recorded by Enel with a score of 92.6 for the regulated market and 92.4 for the free market, out of a maximum of 100. The index calculated, nonetheless, guarantees continuity in the validity of monitoring since it is algebraically connected to the PSC index(7) (satisfaction level of customers who used the call center) which was set out in the TQI.
Besides this, Enel has also continued to use the on-thespot monitoring system, to provide customers with the chance to express an overall judgment on their phone call assistance by simply inputting a number from 1 to 5 at the end of the contact with the operator; then customers can communicate whether the problem for which they called has been resolved or not. The judgment which is requested concerns in particular the following aspects: courtesy of the operator, ability to solve the problem, ability to understand customer needs, the clarity and completeness of the responses, waiting time. A score was achieved of 98% for the service level of the call center both for mass market customers and for business customers. The excellent work carried out, therefore, made it possible to confirm in December 2015 ISO 9001 certification as part of the processes of managing customer relationships through contact centers, Enel retail points and online.
The project was also launched nationally for the digitalization of internal audits through the release of the GAIA 2.0 (“Application for the Management of Internal Audits”) portal, a project which enables the simultaneous “innovation” and “improvement” of the internal organization of the Quality Management System.
In Iberia “customer satisfaction” is constantly monitored through telephone interviews and via email (for example, Sistema de Calidad Percibida and Estudio de Satisfacción de Clientes Empresas) and, since 2003, in order to offer its customers the best possible assistance, Endesa has used the Plan de Excelencia en la Atención Comercial (Plan of excellence for customer focus), aimed at improving indicators on customer satisfaction year by year. In 2015 the plan focused on improving the quality of the service offered to customers (by phone and online), on managing sales complaints from the free market and making invoicing systems flexible. In order to guarantee the achievement of the objectives identified in the Plan, every month ten key indicators are monitored which enable verification of the impact in improving Endesa’s commercial quality.
In Romania every six months “customer satisfaction” surveys are undertaken, from which there emerged a general level of satisfaction of 84.8% for the free market, while for the regulated market it was 77.4%.
In Latin America customer relationships are considered one of the main cornerstones; a plan has therefore been developed to measure customer satisfaction indicators. The main survey was undertaken in Brazil, under the coordination of the Asociación Brasileña de Distribuidores de Energía Eléctrica (Abradee), and it certified Coelce as the best distributor in the North-East of the country, with a rating of 85.8% in 2015. Finally, in Chile, some interesting elements for analysis emerged from the investigation undertaken, which revealed a general satisfaction level of 81%. Thus, the strengths and weaknesses found will be essential in developing action plans to manage the customer in such a way as to fill the gaps and optimize the service offered.
Handling of complaints
In all the countries where Enel operates, customers have available various channels through which to make a complaint or an information request (post, website, toll-free numbers). Enel constantly monitors the feedback received in order to understand the perception of customers and any ongoing problems and to immediately implement the due corrective action.
In Italy control is guaranteed over the commercial quality of all the contact channels through systematic monitoring of sales and operational processes. The controls are carried out in a number of ways, personal accompaniment, mystery calls, listening again to vocal signature made by phone, and analysis of customer complaints. Part of this is the new quality control model which introduces for agencies, for physical contact points and for phone-based partners a system of bonuses and penalties linked to achieving minimum contractual thresholds. The previous model was based only on individual controls with precise findings which envisaged specific penalties on the basis of the number of recordings in the sample identified. During 2015 the process was introduced for notifications of significant non-compliance from the regulatory, legal and antitrust viewpoint by the commercial partners of Enel Energia. The notifications are managed through a portal and assessed by a team consisting of the “Quality and Commercial Support”, “Legal”, “Regulatory/Antitrust” units, so that the most suitable actions are taken, which range from the application of contractual penalties up to legal action.
In Iberia the issue of improving the management of complaints is of great importance since it is one of the fundamental objectives of the aforementioned Plan de Excelencia en la Atención Comercial. In 2015 this produced a 9% increase in customer satisfaction among mass market customers for the resolution of complaints. The figure of the Defensor del Cliente - Ombudsman remains active and is a unique example of its kind in acting as a bridge between the company and its customers; this figure is still present in Brazil and Colombia.
In Chile, in order to enable a better processing of complaints and to guarantee greater focus, periodic meetings are organized with customers which are called Comités de Clientes, which managers of the company take part in and review specific cases and operating indicators. All this has led to the implementation of numerous actions which have resulted in a significant reduction in complaints.
Care of vulnerable groups
Enel is close to citizens in order to improve and maintain access to electricity in the most destitute areas and among the poorest populations. In all the countries where the Group operates there are forms of support (often linked to State initiatives) which assist some segments of the population in paying electricity and gas costs, so as to allow equal access to energy. In Italy, since 2008 for the electricity sector and since 2009 for the gas sector, there has been an incentive for residential customers in a state of economic need and – for the electricity sector alone – for customers who use life-saving electrical medical devices (the so-called “social bonus”). The bonus is financed with State resources and with specific tariff elements set by the Authority.
The request for the bonus is handled by Municipalities and – should it be granted – customers are given a credit on their bills which varies on the basis of the number of family members, their energy use category and the climatic zone in which they live (for gas) or the type of hardship they suffer (for electricity). In 2015 the electric bonus was granted to around 258 thousand customers by Enel Energia and to around 668 thousand customers by Enel Servizio Elettrico.
In the same year Enel Energia also granted the gas bonus to around 160 thousand customers. As regards electricity supplies in Italy, customers with smart meters, should they fail to pay, are not completely cut off, but the available power is reduced to 15% of the contractual figure. As part of the loyalty program “Enelmia” of Enel Energia, discounts have been offered to customers in national and local shops which join the scheme and which are taken from among the spending categories which have the biggest impact on household budgets: food, petrol, and free time. During 2015 with the Enelmia card discounts of 1.2 million euro were applied.
In Spain the social bonus is still active and is for customers with installed power of under 3 kW and who belong to the most disadvantaged social classes (i.e. pensioners, the unemployed, and low income households). In 2015 this bonus was used by around 1 million customers, for whom energy volunteering programs were launched through which Endesa employees can help poor families in optimizing their own consumption and improving their electrical equipment.
In Romania a project was started dedicated to residents in poor areas of Bucharest, which is structured in three stages: a preliminary stage in which the needs of residents are assessed; a consultation and assistance stage in which the possible solutions are analyzed; a stage of implementing support projects including: debt restructuring, legal assistance, and access to microcredit.
Also in Latin America, in particular in Brazil, the tarifa social is still active, financed by the federal government, which enables discounts of up to 60% to be offered on total invoicing in order to guarantee access to electricity to the less well-off..
Codensa is the first Colombian company to have developed and made available to other companies a guide to realize a customer-focused service model, an initiative inspired by the social precepts of the UN convention on the rights of the disabled, and which is part of the directives and strategic objectives of the diversity policy of the Enel Group. This guide is part of a broad process of change at company level, which includes the modernization of assistance centers and the training of customer service staff.
(7) PSC=ICS/ICSmax where ICSmax is the highest score achieved during the recording by one of the traders in the ranking; for the 1st half of 2015 this figure has not been published by the AEEGSI.