Clarity of Customer Communications
For the UK to reach its 2020 carbon reduction targets, it is essential that families and businesses are enabled to take greater control of their energy bills. To help make this a reality, npower is responding to the needs of customers by simplifying tariffs and improving the accessibility and functionality of our online information.
We strive to help customers make the energy choices which are right for them and right for the environment. In 2012, we worked closely with Ofgem on the introduction of simpler, clearer and fairer tariffs and will be among the first of the major energy suppliers to introduce a more straightforward pricing system in the summer of 2013.
The new pricing structure will simplify all our standard tariffs, ending complex, two-tier tariffs and introducing a new single rate for each unit of energy used. Customers will also pay a basic fixed standing charge to cover the cost of bringing gas and electricity to their door. This fixed standing charge has replaced the seasonally weighted elements of some gas tariffs that had some people paying up to 15 times more in standing charges during winter than in summer.
The introduction of a simple standing charge is the first step in a journey which will see npower reduce the number of its standard tariffs and replace them with a small number of simple tariffs that meet new regulatory guidelines. In tandem with these pricing improvements, we are also working to simplify our bills and develop online billing services via mobile devices and npower.com, to be implemented in 2013.
A better online experience
Our customer feedback shows that, increasingly, people prefer to send meter readings and pay bills online. As part of an ongoing overhaul of customer services throughout 2012, we have made significant improvements to the customer experience provided by npower.com’s online account management and mobile apps, which will be implemented in 2013.
The support pages on npower.com are used by around two thirds of visitors to the website. To improve their usability, we have upgraded them with self-service in mind, so that customers can get information and make changes quickly and easily.
To help people avoid any unpleasant surprises when bills arrive, we have also launched an Energy Tracker tool which is fully integrated with live customer account data and allows them to view how much energy they are using.
npower.com is currently seeing a 50% increase in mobile traffic year-on-year, with one in five customers now viewing the website from a mobile device. To cater for this increasing demand for information on the go, all of our self-service web pages have been upgraded to use responsive design, which means that the website changes to fit the size of the device on which it is being viewed. These upgrades mostly apply to Apple and Android apps, and are designed to give customers more choice in the way they manage their account in real time. The new options available to customers include the ability to pay bills, submit meter reads, see current bills and payment history and request meter read reminders.
Tariff simplification and improvements to online services are just two elements of a far reaching customer-centric approach that is being applied across npower’s entire business.