First Utility most improved energy supplier

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24 January 2014, Gas, Electricity

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Nearly one year ago Datamonitor Energy wrote a piece about First Utility, describing it as an oddity in the UK residential supply market ("First Utility's customer service failings identified in new Datamonitor report," March 25, 2013). The energy provider had not been prone to the poisonous public perceptions affecting the Big Six, and its smaller size should have translated into more agile customer service functions. However, in the 2013 Which? Switch Energy Satisfaction Survey, First Utility achieved a rating score of 50%, putting it in 11th place in the league table right in among the Big Six suppliers - a disappointing performance for the company.

In previous years First Utility has been beset by account management issues, with a huge influx of customers, attracted by price-based competition, flooding its customer operation facilities. This inevitably caused the supplier's systems to wilt under the pressure. However, since then First Utility has undergone an extensive investment program to catch up with its competitors. Increased investment in personnel and a new billing platform have resulted in real customer service improvements, a successful strategy also followed by Opus Energy in the B2B market. However, those controlling the budgets within other under-pressure utilities might not want to acknowledge that additional expenditure is the solution, meaning that widespread improvements in customer satisfaction may be some way off.

For First Utility, however, the increased investment has already begun to bear fruit, pushing it 13 percentage points clear of the nearest Big Six brand in terms of consumer satisfaction in 2014. This means it is in a much better position to really live up to its "consumer champion" tag, echoed through its "Fight the Power" campaign. However, challenging the suppliers at the top of the table, such as Good Energy and Ecotricity, will require further investment as it increases customer numbers at a much faster rate than the likes of Good Energy. / / @DatamonitorEN

Source: MarketLine

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