Scottish Power, one of the Big Six energy firms, has accepted a sales ban which will begin on Wednesday. The ban means that for the next 12 days, Scottish Power will not be allowed to proactively seek new customers and all work being carried out by the outbound sales team will be put on hold.
Ofgem is the energy regulator throughout the UK, and first launched an investigation into Scottish Power last November, after being concerned about the way in which customers are treated. The Big Six signed up to Ofgem’s three targets, designed to improve the way that the companies treat their customers. They agreed in advance that if the targets were not met within three months, they would accept a sales ban.
The first target was to reduce the average waiting time a customer spent on the phone from three minutes to two minutes, and the second was to reduce the number of unpaid bills, taking them from 75,000 to 30,000. Although Scottish Power met both of these targets, they failed to meet the third, which was to completely eradicate a backlog of decisions made by the ombudsman. Although Scottish Power had told Ofgem that it had cleared the backlog in January, Ofgem recently discovered that evidence that proved that this was a lie. As a result of it, around 2000 customers are currently receiving free electricity.
The 500 sales advisers that usually work on outbound sales will spend the 12 days of the ban assisting the various customer service centres around the UK.
In order to develop and maintain a high level of customer service, Scottish Power have invested £200 million a new customer management system.