We recently received an angry letter from a South Australian resident who is disputing incorrect charges being applied to their electricity bill.
The issue resulted when a customer’s notification of a change of address was lost/not documented by the electrical supplier AGL. As a result the resident’s electricity was cut off at the new home. The funny thing is despite AGL apparently not receiving notification, the company managed to invoice the resident twice (one for the new property and one for the old property). How can AGL claim ignorance or missing records if they managed to invoice the resident even charging him twice for the establishment fee!
As you could imagine the resident was furious and what made it worse was the lack of customer service or service recovery implemented by AGL.“The sad thing is that your concept of customer service is that AGL has the right to threaten customers with bad credit rating, debt collectors and legal proceedings.”
After reading through the number of emails sent by the resident, it is clear that AGL has not listened, even though the resident clearly asks for answers.
Companies should have policies in place to treat customers differently based on factors such as spend and loyalty (such as what RACV does with their Royal Auto Club). In this instance the resident had proven loyal to AGL – therefore the answer to solve the issue would have been to base “his final account on his consistent periodic history of actual meter readings” – which is what he asked for initially. Of course admiting the mistake, would have helped too!
This case is also an important lesson regarding the power of digital and social media platforms – complaints are no longer between just an organisation and a consumer. Instead they can be transferred to 1000s of individuals by a click of a button. So it you don’t have customer service strategies in place don’t expect to be around in the future.
As the resident kindly stated in his sign off “I can not wait for the day when my roof is covered in solar cells arrays and a hot water system and I am no longer dependent on the electricity industry.”
So put it bluntly you must hold on to your customers, because they may not be there tomorrow! Neither will be the 1000s of people who read the complaint online!
Until next time,
Cents and Sensibility
Julia Taine, Executive Director of Vent2Me, is a marketing problem solver and mentor. A mover and a shaker, Julia sees a niche in an industry, and takes it, by making it her own. Julia started Vent2Me, because people she knew were struggling with their online presence and their digital strategies. Julia knew she could help these people, and so here she is today.