Getting things right for our customers

We want to make life easier for you, even when things go wrong. That’s why we’re working hard to improve the areas of our business which can cause customer dissatisfaction.

We're here to help

Helping our customers every day is important to us and we have friendly, UK-based staff on hand to help answer your questions.

You can get in touch with us in a number of ways from calling us directly, tweeting us @npowerhelp or through Live Chat.

Get in touch

On the phone

Our phones lines can get busy so the best time to call us is between 12 noon and 5pm Tuesday to Friday.

In September we answered



In September we had

2.69 million

visits to our website and app

In September we had


tweets mentioning @npowerhelp

What are you looking for?

We have information and support on a wide range of topics; our helpful tabs below will point you in the right direction.

Switching open/close

You’ve told us how frustrating it is if you have to wait longer than expected to switch your energy.

Our online guide explains the switching process. And, you can take a look at our latest tariffs here.

We can also help if you’re moving home, take a look at our quick guide here.

On the right tariff? open/close

We’ve simplified our choice of tariffs to make them clearly different. So now we offer four simple energy plans with clear differences and benefits and we hope there’s one right for you.* You can view our current tariffs here

*Energy plans are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Some plans may require online account management or payment by Direct Debit.

Billing open/close

We want to make sure you know you’re paying the right amount for the actual energy you’re using, so:

  • We’ve changed how our bills look so they’re much easier to understand.
  • We’ve posted a video to explain the changes we’ve made to make things simpler for you.
  • You can quickly check your bills online – it’s really simple to sign up for this.
  • Regular meter readings mean accurate bills – you can send us a meter reading online – even if you haven’t registered as an online customer.
  • And we’re billing 98% of our customers on time

Payments open/close

The amount you pay can depend on the time of year, the tariff you are on and the amount of energy you’re using. We want to make sure you’re paying the right amount so:

  • We’ve changed how our bills look so they’re much easier to understand.
  • We’ve posted helpful videos on our website to explain how payments are calculated.
  • Our online direct debit web page tells you all you need to know about paying by direct debit.
  • We’ve recently launched a handy app, for smartphones, which will also provide access to these details.

For more help and information on this please click here.

Meter Reading open/close

We read your meter regularly so we can make sure our information is up to date – such as checking it’s correctly recording your energy use and working safely.

  • We’re working closely with our metering agents to make sure they keep their promises when they say they will visit your home.
  • We’ll also remind you when your meter needs a safety check.
  • Regular meter readings mean accurate bills – you can send us a meter reading online – even if you haven’t registered as an online customer.

For more help and information on this please click here.

Difficulties paying your bill? open/close

No one likes the idea of money worries, so:

  • We work closely with organisations like National Debtline and Citizens Advice to help
  • Our Spreading Warmth Programme helps those most in need such as the elderly, low income families, disabled and chronically sick. We offer help to manage your bills, keep warm and reduce energy costs.
  • We have a dedicated Energy Efficiency Helpline to help you make your home more energy efficient, there by potentially reducing your energy use - and your carbon footprint.
  • Our npower Energy Fund helps npower customers who are struggling to pay for energy debt.
  • So, if you’re finding things difficult, please get in touch. We’d like to help.

Boiler Information open/close

  • Boiler care that you can count on.
  • We offer a wide range of boiler and heating care options and we’re proud that 97% of our boiler care customers would recommend us.*
  • We make sure all of our engineers are as expert in looking after the customer as they are at maintaining and repairing boilers.
  • Our Boiler Care Plans come with an annual service included, which can keep your boiler running efficiently.
  • For more information on boiler care options please click here

*Between January and December 2014 we asked all the hometeam customers we visited to complete an engineer feedback form. Of the 3197 Respondents 97% stated that they would recommend us.

Putting Things Right

We’ve been working really hard to make sure we give our customers the best possible service. Since September last year, we’ve reduced our complaints by 42% (from September 2015 – 47,113 and September 2016 – 27,360)

Monthly Complaint Report

Total complaints

Total number of complaints we have received each month

Chart showing the total number of complaints received

We're working hard to improve areas of our business. See what we're doing to improve our service

How to make a complaint

We can solve most problems straight away but if you’re not happy and would like to raise a formal complaint, you can contact us - we'll try to put things right straight away:

Call us on

0800 316 9328
0330 100 8628

Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday 8am to 2pm.

View call charge information

Online: visit

Write: Complaints Team, npower, PO Box 177, Houghton-le-Spring, DH4 9AQ

Boiler and heating complaints

We have a team who can specifically help with any issues around a recent gas installation, boiler care package or a recent repair. Please complete our online form and the team will be in touch.

You can also find out about the process we take to manage and resolve complaints as quickly as possible.

Following an investigation carried out by the energy regulator OFGEM in 2015, we agreed to identify and make compensation payments to customers impacted by the issues identified with our billing and complaint handling processes.

npower identified customers impacted, wrote to them throughout February and March and completed the compensation payment.

Customers are urged NOT to contact OFGEM if you have any queries relating to your compensation payment – the payments were sent by npower so please contact us directly. If you haven’t heard from us and think you might be due a payment, why not use our 'Am I eligible?' online form and we will investigate your claim for you.

Am I eligible?

After we’ve received your details, we’ll check your account and confirm back to you in writing.

The following customer groups were identified as eligible for compensation payment:

Area Customer Payment
Complaints Any customer who between 1st July 2011 to 27th January 2016, had a complaint which was not resolved in 12 months.
Billing / Late Invoicing Any customer who we incorrectly back billed between 1st July 2010 to 31st December 2015.
  All customers for whom we did not proactively offer extended payment terms where we sent a bill that was over 4 months late between August 2013 and October 2013.
  Any customer still awaiting a bill for 12 months or more as at 31st December 2015.

For more information, please see our media centre.

Our latest response to Ofgem – September 2016 open/close

Mr Dermot Nolan
Chief Executive


29th September 2016

Dear Mr Nolan

Open letter relating to customer satisfaction of npower’s complaint handling

Thank you for your letter dated 22nd September 2016 highlighting your latest research into customer satisfaction with suppliers’ complaint handling. We are extremely disappointed with the survey results and agree they are unacceptable. This letter outlines the improvements we have made since the research was carried out and also addresses the areas of concern raised in your letter.

Since I took up the role of Chief Executive in October 2015 it became apparent to me that we had serious issues with our complaints and I immediately replaced the senior management team and instigated a recovery plan covering many of our processes and procedures. Since then, we have started to make fundamental changes to how the customer services functions operate.

We have also targeted improvements in the way we address customer levels of dissatisfaction and manage their complaints. Your survey results highlight six key areas which are listed below along with improvements we have made this year.

Making it easy to register a complaint

  • We have recruited more staff to handle customer complaints and we are seeing quicker response times in our domestic contact centres with a 54% improvement in August 2016 compared to January 2016
  • We have also completed comprehensive re-training and increased support for our advisors to effectively identify and register customer dissatisfaction
  • In our digital channels for domestic customers, we have increased our opening hours so customers can now contact us via online web chat between 7am and 11pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on Saturdays which an increasing number of customers are choosing to use

Being clear on next steps

  • At the start of the year, we recognised the need to be clearer about next steps in our conversations with customers and as a result we increased the number of quality checks on our letters and also gave our customer service advisors additional one to one coaching, specifically around complaint handling
  • Since we have implemented these improvements, we have seen a reduction of 61% in domestic customers seeking out the Ombudsman Services reflecting an improvement in the time it takes us to resolve each complaint
  • In our digital channels for domestic customers, we have increased our opening hours so customers can now contact us via online web chat between 7am and 11pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on Saturdays which an increasing number of customers are choosing to use.

Making decisions promptly

  • Our customer advisors have been provided with additional support from managers and specialist advisors to up-skill their knowledge and understanding of the importance of getting things right for customers much quicker
  • We have also introduced more decision making rights for our managers and advisors to increase the number of times we can resolve customer complaints quickly
  • It is pleasing to note that the number of customers with complaints that remain unresolved after eight weeks has reduced by 48% from the start of this year

Time taken to resolve the complaint

  • While we made considerable improvements in halving the number of customers contacting us to raise a complaint this year compared to 2015, we also recognised that in some instances it was still taking us too long to resolve certain types of complaints
  • We have now re-shaped our organisation and improved our processes so we can better identify and resolve difficult complaints by routing them to specialist teams who have the expertise to address the issue quickly
  • Additionally, when we need to speak to our customers to talk them through the resolution of their complaint, we have updated our SMS messaging to proactively notify customers in advance that we’ll be calling

Keeping customers updated

  • For our business customers, we’ve fully rolled out bespoke case management in instances where the case is complex. We’re now also expanding this approach across our domestic customer service teams
  • This year we have reviewed and changed our ‘standard template’ letters so customers can see at a glance the progress and status of their complaint. We have further embedded this improvement within our teams by helping our advisors with their letter writing skills.
  • We have also seen the number of follow up calls into our complaint handing teams by customers reduce by 35% in September, demonstrating that customers are more satisfied with how their complaint is being handled.

Making things clearer for our customers (resolution gap)

  • We know in the past, we have complicated things – particularly with industry jargon so we have re-trained our advisors on the importance of using friendly, open – and simpler – language
  • In the last few months, we have seen a 100% improvement in the number of complaints we have successfully resolved over the telephone
  • We have also introduced simpler screens in our billing systems to support better quality conversations with our customers

Furthermore, we continue to work hard to understand the root causes of our complaints and use this information to ensure we are working on improving those things which will benefit our customers in the best ways.

Our plans for improving the business are on track and are reflected in our customer numbers which have stabilised in our Domestic business since the significant losses suffered last year.

I trust the information above illustrates how seriously we take our commitment to improving the experience for our customers and our commitment to improve our quality of service, I look forward to meeting with you soon.

Yours sincerely

Paul Coffey
Chief Executive

Industry complaints resolution assessment results open/close

In October, the energy regulator Ofgem wrote an open letter to all energy suppliers asking them to carry out an independent assessment into their complaints resolution processes across domestic and micro business customers. This followed research they carried out in February, which concluded that many customers were not happy with the way their complaint was handled. All suppliers were asked to publish the results of their assessments on their websites. We are also sharing the results with Ofgem.

npower’s own independent assessment, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has now been completed. The assessment covered our complaints policies, procedures and work instructions, a walkthrough of a sample of complaints to assess the complaint resolution process, listening to/reviewing a sample of complaint resolution calls to assess the closure of the complaint and interviewing key people in our business.

There were two areas where we fell short in some instances - a) the complaint had been closed with an assumption that an outstanding action was yet to be delivered by npower and b) we are not always using clear language when confirming with our customers that a complaint has been resolved to their satisfaction. To address these, we are taking the following recommended actions, many of which already feature in our existing plans to improve how we handle complaints:

  • We are taking an npower-wide policy and approach so we can consistently define when a complaint is fully resolved and improve on the definition
  • We are establishing new procedures across domestic and micro businesses to ensure consistency, and looking to rebrief our frontline staff before the end of the year. We will also improve how we interact with different teams within our business when handling a complaint
  • We are developing a mechanism so that customers can see how their feedback is being addressed
  • We will change the language we use - for example, our front line call advisors most commonly use the phrase, "Is there anything more I can do for you today?" as opposed to our dedicated complaints handling teams using "Do you consider this complaint now be closed / resolved?" which is more proactive
  • We will improve how we measure our complaint handling performance and how the root cause of a complaint is being understood and addressed across our business
  • We will also improve the performance and management of some of our third party partners - meter operators and brokers - so that they better support how a complaint is resolved – and prevent a complaint in the first place
  • We will improve our process where we’re unable to contact a customer about their complaint

Positive feedback from the assessment
PwC highlighted in their report that they received full support throughout the assessment, that we provided "prompt access to personnel and complaints records” and that “all npower teams involved in the assessment have demonstrated a high level of commitment and transparency in their conduct and have been accepting and open when responding to our observations and recommendations." In particular, their assessment noted:

  • Both our domestic and micro business areas had already begun significant complaints handling improvement projects before the assessment was carried out and that many of the recommendations already feature in these plans
  • In our domestic area, we have already put in place a project called ‘I Resolve’, which looks at every aspect of our complaint handling processes
  • Our new domestic customer bereavement team provides dedicated support to customers who are particularly vulnerable
  • We’re trialling text messaging domestic customers if a potential complaint trigger has been identified eg. providing an early warning if an unusually high bill is expected
  • In our Industrial and Commercial (I&C) area, we have controls and processes in place to monitor completion of actions eg. we have in place a report which identifies any failed Direct Debit mandates. We also regularly communicate with this group of customers on their complaint status. And we have a questionnaire across complaints and wider teams in I&C to assess knowledge of common issues and how to resolve these
  • We provide training on Standards of Conduct for all our staff
  • Our micro-business customer complaints are assigned to individual complaint handlers for end-to-end case management
  • We also have controls in place, eg. in the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) area to monitor our adherence to regulatory requirements

We believe these actions will enhance the significant improvements that we are already making. In June this year, as part of our Customer Transformation Programme, we carried out a full review of the entire complaints process covering both in-house and external partner processes. Part of the programme specifically targets more effective handling of our customers' complaints by our advisors.

Our SME customer area has also made a number of organisational changes this year and has appointed a new Customer Services Director and Head of Customer Experience. A detailed plan of improvements to the complaints handling process had already commenced and we have incorporated the PwC recommendations into the plan.

While we know there is still more to do, already, we are one of only two of the major suppliers whose complaints received (per 100,000 customers) reduced in each of the last two quarters. In addition our cumulative number of domestic complaints is now below 20,000 (down from more than 50,000 earlier this year) and we’re now resolving more that 97% of complaints within 8 weeks – an improvement from 94% achieved earlier this year.

We’re absolutely committed to putting in place all actions and we have set out a timescale for achieving each - plus, a monitoring process to make sure they are fully implemented.

Resolving a complaint as quickly as possible is incredibly important to us and we believe that by continuing our customer transformation activity, with further progress as a result of our ‘I Resolve’ project, we will continue our established actions to improve overall customer experience of our complaint handling.

We want all npower customers to have total confidence in us as their energy supplier.

Our reply to Ofgem – September 2015 open/close

Mr Dermot Nolan
Chief Executive
9 Millbank
London SW1P 3GE

1st September 2015

Dear Mr Nolan,

Open letter – npower – customer satisfaction with suppliers’ complaint handling

In response to your letter dated 10th August 2015, I welcome this opportunity to update you and our customers on the progress we have made to date. Our ambition to become the number one energy supplier is unchanged and in this letter, as well as providing an update on our progress, I will set out our plans for the future

Number of domestic complaints

Since our last update in October 2014, we have continued to focus on some technical issues related to our billing system. Our actions have resulted in an ongoing reduction in the number of complaints we have received in 2015.

Total complaints received

Q1 2014 – 450,178
Q2 2014 – 368,410
Q3 2014 – 326,139

Q4 2014 – 336,322
Q1 2015 – 285,952
Q2 2015 – 167,471

Complaints received per 100,000 customers

Q1 2014 – 8,303
Q2 2014 – 6,890
Q3 2014 – 6,258

Q4 2014– 6,568
Q1 2015 – 5,635
Q2 2015 – 3,338

Total complaints resolved

Q1 2014 – 446,606
Q2 2014 – 399,424
Q3 2014 – 341,946

Q4 2014 – 346,186
Q1 2015 – 288,206
Q2 2015 – 175,788

Complaints resolved per 100,000 customers

Q1 2014 – 8,237
Q2 2014 – 7,470
Q3 2014 – 6,561

Q4 2014 – 6,761
Q1 2015 – 5,679
Q2 2015 – 3,504

Resolved within 1 working day

Q1 2014– 86.12%
Q2 2014 – 81.43%
Q3 2014 – 84.95%

Q4 2014 – 88.53%
Q1 2015 – 88.45%
Q2 2015 – 74.4%

Resolved within 8 weeks

Q1 2014 – 94.13%
Q2 2014 – 94.43%
Q3 2014 – 97.19%

Q4 2014 – 97.44%
Q1 2015 – 97.48%
Q2 2015 – 95%

An important measure is how many complaints are outstanding after 24 hours – or ‘net complaints’. However, I also recognise that customers need to be fully satisfied with how their complaint is being dealt with so we are now seeing a higher percentage of complaints that are open for longer than 24 hours and have introduced a dedicated team who contact customers once all corrective actions have been completed prior to complaint closure.

I have previously highlighted a number of initiatives we have put in place to improve the billing and transfer processes for our customers. These initiatives have been a significant factor in the reduction of overall complaints received.

Last year, we increased the number of ways customers can choose to contact us to include live web chat and text messaging. Our live chat function has proved extremely popular and so we have expanded the team to 200 people, who have hosted over 260,000 conversations with our customers since January. Text messaging is now used to communicate with our customers in a very simple, quick way so we can provide updates on progress and to share information.

Key improvements and changes

In my last update, I explained how we were focusing on addressing the issues raised and delivering significant changes across npower to improve how we look after our customers. I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the progress we have made.

1. Customer Transformation Program (CTP)

We’ve continued to improve our processes and this includes introducing a dedicated project team, which focuses on the root cause of customer dissatisfaction. This has resulted in changes to our billing system and processes, including changing the minimum review threshold for direct debit and payment schemes to prevent any small payment change fluctuations. This accounted for a quarter of all the payment changes being made.

We’ve made meter read reminders more customer friendly so customers can now leave a meter read online. They will also only receive an interim bill if they choose to, avoiding confusion which can lead to complaints.

2. IResolve

We recognise the importance of continual good service throughout the time a customer is with us. This also includes how their complaint is being handled.

Therefore, we have carried out a number of initiatives, including:

  • Making sure our people are fully equipped to handle complaints more effectively. For example, we closed our contact centres in February to re-brief our people to correctly identify all the signs of customer dissatisfaction
  • Building a specialist team in the contact centre to offer immediate support to frontline people when resolving complaints
  • Moving complaints into one system to create a central point of control – this is currently underway
  • Extending the time a complaint is open to make sure we are confident we have fully satisfied our customers’ issues
  • Introducing a dedicated team (Customer Commitment Team) who contact our customers, where required, to confirm they are satisfied they have received everything they need and are happy for their complaint to be resolved
  • Adopting a new complaint management process - so far, 2,000 of our complaints received this treatment, which gives customers a single point of contact for the duration of their complaint. Regular progress updates are also provided
  • Introducing more robust opening and closing codes for our complaints – this has helped us to understand the root cause of complaints and so aid prevention

3. New Way of Working (NWoW)

This program has transformed the way we work by using proven methodology, which is now embedded within our business.

NWoW is based on the 5 lenses and principles of lean management: Process Efficiency, Performance Management, Mindset and Behaviours, Organisation and Skill and Voice of the Customer.

Following its implementation in our Customer Relations team, we have increased our complaint closure rate by 72% meaning our customers experienced a faster resolution to their concerns.

4. Training

As part of our induction for new employees, they complete an intense training period followed by ‘on the job’ support and coaching to embed knowledge. As part of this training, we have created a module specifically around complaint handling. We also use the modules for our current people as refresher courses and coaching. We’ve recently introduced a digital platform for our people to use as best practice sharing, such as asking questions and sharing knowledge around their specific field of expertise.

As part of the IResolve implementation, we trained all of our current people to make sure we offer a consistent and improved experience for our customers.

5. Support and tools

Our ultimate aim is to resolve complaints quickly; putting customers at ease that their account is up to date and actions required are taken the same day. The investment in our specialist teams supports that aim, providing advice, guidance and, where required, technical resolution for our advisors so they can resolve a complaint at the very first contact. I recognise that sometimes this is not always possible so we have streamlined the process so if a complaint needs to be escalated to another team for example, this is now much quicker. By providing clear and easy processes for both our advisors, senior advisors and our management team, we have a consistent and efficient process for dealing with complaints that we are not able to resolve immediately. Keeping our customers informed is really important to me so we have introduced varied communication methods to support this. We continue to refine and improve our process following feedback to make sure we are always moving forward to improve customer experience.

6. Feedback

We need to know how our customers feel about the service they have received as this is vital in evaluating our success. With this in mind, we launched a new system called Rant and Rave so we can capture - and use - this information. The system allows customers to comment on their experience and individual feedback to our people on the service they offer. Every month we see around 20,000 pieces of feedback from our customers, enabling us to continue to prioritise our improvement plans. It also helps us review the performance of our people.

An update on our microbusiness activities

Most of our microbusiness customers are serviced by our npower Business area, with a smaller number by our npower Business Solutions segment. In the last year, we developed a single complaint handling policy which covers both domesticretail and microbusiness complaints. This approach ensures that our customers can expect the same level of customer experience in these business areas. We have given extra training and empowerment to our customer facing staff so they can resolve more complaints at the first point of contact. Where this is not possible, they ensure a smooth transition to a dedicated complaints handling team. We have also made changes so we correctly capture all complaint information which we use in our root cause analysis. We will not close a complaint until the customer has agreed it has been resolved to their satisfaction. To support this we use all appropriate communication methods to contact a customer if we need their help with resolving the complaint and we let them know the impacts of them not getting in touch with us.

We are also increasing our focus on the performance of third parties (internal and external) we work with, so their processes and services meet our and our customers’ requirements.

However, we know there is still more work to be done to resolve some complaints far more quickly. In these instances, it is important to achieve the right balance and still make sure the customer is completely satisfied. This is working well as already, we’re beginning to see a reduction in repeat complaints.

Over the next period we are expecting to see continued improvement in the average complaint handling time and also in the number of complaints we receive as a result of all of the above initiatives.

Resolution of Complaints – Audit

Last year, an independent assessment of our processes was completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to determine if a complaint had been fully resolved for our domestic and microbusiness customers. PwC not only reviewed our processes, but also how we, ourselves, monitor our complaint resolution procedure. In my last letter I stated that the results of the audit would allow us to put together an action plan to address any areas identified as requiring improvement. As part of the review of this action plan, it was determined that the majority of the areas were already being addressed within the transformation of the complaints journey through IResolve.

I feel we are making significant improvements within our customer services. However, this is an ongoing journey - and I know there are still areas where I want to improve to make sure we are delivering a first class customer service. Our website will be updated with a copy of this letter in line with our domestic complaint reporting in the next week.

Yours sincerely

Paul Massara

Our reply to Ofgem – October 2014 open/close

Paul Massara

In September, the energy industry regulator Ofgem published the results of its latest consumer research report into domestic and micro-business customer satisfaction with energy companies’ complaints handling. Ofgem felt that the results were unacceptable and called on all suppliers to provide a public response to the issues they raised.

The report stated that the level of customer satisfaction with complaint handling had dropped from their previous survey two years ago. Particular areas for improvement were identified. These included companies being proactive, taking ownership of complaints, communicating the next steps and timings with their customers, empowering complaints handling staff to take decisions and improving the speed of resolution.

All suppliers were asked to publish their response by 24th October.

Our official response to Ofgem, from our Chief Executive Paul Massara is published below.

Dear Mr Nolan,

Open letter – npower – customer satisfaction with suppliers’ complaint handling

I write in response to your letter dated 26th September and welcome this opportunity to publicly respond to the issues you raise. I want all npower customers to have confidence in us as their energy supplier and so it was with concern that I noted that your survey identified instances where we may have fallen short of meeting their expectations in how we handle complaints. In this letter, I will address the issues you have raised – as well as share some of the improvements we have been making.

Number of domestic complaints

Following the installation of a new billing system, we saw some technical issues, which resulted in a higher than usual number of complaints from affected customers. We focussed all of our efforts in resolving these problems - including rectifying the IT issues and deploying additional people. I am pleased to report that these actions have helped reduce the number of complaints we have received in 2014.

Total complaints received Q1 – 450,178
Q2 – 368,410
Q3 – 326,139
Complaints received per 100,000 customers Q1 – 8,303
Q2 – 6,890
Q3 – 6,258
Total complaints resolved Q1 – 446,606
Q2 – 399,424
Q3 – 341,946
Complaints resolved per 100,000 customers Q1 – 8,237
Q2 – 7,470
Q3 – 6,561
Resolved within 1 working day Q1 – 86.12%
Q2 – 81.43%
Q3 – 84.95%
Resolved within 8 weeks Q1 – 94.13%
Q2 – 94.43%
Q3 – 97.19%

Total complaints received
Q1 – 450,178
Q2 – 368,410
Q3 – 326,139

Complaints received per 100,000 customers
Q1 – 8,303
Q2 – 6,890
Q3 – 6,258

Total complaints resolved
Q1 – 446,606
Q2 – 399,424
Q3 – 341,946

Complaints resolved per 100,000 customers
Q1 – 8,237
Q2 – 7,470
Q3 – 6,561

Resolved within 1 working day
Q1 – 86.12%
Q2 – 81.43%
Q3 – 84.95%

Resolved within 8 weeks
Q1 – 94.13%
Q2 – 94.43%
Q3 – 97.19%

We believe the most important measure is how many complaints are outstanding after 24 hours – or ‘net complaints’. The following graph illustrates a 60% reduction since February this year in net complaints.

Domestic complaints graph

Your survey highlighted the importance of treating customers ‘as an individual’. We offer a choice of channels for customers to contact us. We also handle complaints using a more personalised approach already incorporating further skills into our specialist complaints teams with plans to roll this out further across our Customer Service teams.

We want to keep our customers up to date on how we are improving so we publish our progress on reducing complaints – including Ombudsman cases - on We also outline our complaints process on our website. Any customer whose complaint has not been resolved within 24 hours is signposted to this.

In your report, you stated that 38% of complaints are about billing, whereas earlier this year, over 70% of our complaints were billing related. We recently announced that we had reduced the number of late invoices from 527k (equating to 340K customers) in mid-May to 100K (equating to c. 63k customers). This will significantly reduce the number of complaints we receive. We also saw issues with our transfer process (which had the second highest proportion of complaints in your survey). I am pleased to report that these issues have been resolved so we will also see significant reductions in this category.

Key improvements and changes

Since your February survey, we have focussed on addressing the issues raised and delivering significant changes across npower to improve how we look after our customers. We have a number of initiatives in place to do this.

1. Customer Transformation Programme (CTP)

This programme, which began in 2012, focusses on the entire customer journey. It allows us to identify and address the six areas which drive customer complaints, which we have named ‘I join’, ‘I move’, ‘I pay’, ‘I enquire’, ‘I leave’ and ‘my terms change’. Segmenting these areas has meant that we can quickly and efficiently make changes to our processes. For example:

  • We now have a dedicated team to support customers who may have experienced a delay in receiving a bill
  • We have introduced a dedicated Bereavement Services Team to support customers who are going through a particularly difficult time. To date, we have seen a 60% drop in complaints in this area
  • We now have senior advisors in our key customer service areas who can offer support to our front line advisors in resolving a complaint during the first contact with a customer. They also offer one to one coaching and the role is allocated to a single team of advisors which improves our ability to resolve more complex queries while the customer is on the telephone

2. New way Of Working (NWOW)

This programme is key to successfully delivering our Customer Transformation Programme as it transforms the way we work using proven methodology. The programme has been introduced across our operational areas with specific focus on:

  • Voice Of The Customer - so our customers are at the heart of everything we do
  • Performance Management - so everyone at npower is fully accountable and their performance measured through a balanced set of KPIs, including key customer metrics
  • Organisation and Skill - so we can shape our company to focus more on our customers’ needs
  • Mindset and Behaviours - so we work collectively to increase employee satisfaction and empower them to bring forward new ideas and also drive continuous improvement
  • Process Efficiency - so we can focus on looking after our customers in a cost effective way by building efficient and standardised processes

To date, around 2,000 of our employees have experienced the NWOW programme – with a further 400 currently undergoing training. We are already seeing significant improvements in the business areas, which have experienced the programme. For example, your report stated that for the industry only 54% of domestic customers felt their complaint had been resolved - we are confident that our approach through our CTP and NWOW initiatives has increased our success rate in this area. We are also seeing a reduction in call waiting times and have increased the number of ways customers can contact us – including live web chat and text messaging. Web chat in particular, is proving a success with our customers. In September alone, we took part in over 17,000 web chat conversations and have resolved 80% of complaints during the live chats according to feedback from our own surveys.

Actions we are taking in light of the Ofgem /Gfk report – microbusiness customers

The majority of our microbusiness customers are looked after by our specialist Small Medium Enterprise departments. This is an area which we have already begun to look to improve how we handle any complaints. To date, we have:

  • Started to change our operational structure to embed a business model that puts the customer at the heart of our services and products
  • Changed our products to remove unpopular auto rollover contracts and to offer products more closely aligned to our customers’ needs

Your report highlighted that for this sector of customers, taking a proactive approach to resolving a complaint is the biggest satisfaction driver and that four key areas in which satisfaction has declined since 2012 – the supplier’s understanding of the complaint, the professionalism of the supplier, the ease at which the customer can find the correct person to contact and feeling that someone has taken ownership of their complaint. We are confident that the following actions we have taken will address these issues. We have restructured our complaint handling teams, empowered our frontline staff so they can resolve problems more quickly and improved our insight into what actually causes a complaint. If a complaint cannot be resolved immediately a designated complaint handler is allocated. While this is all very much work in progress, already, our own surveys indicate that we are seeing steady improvement in customer satisfaction.

Resolution of Complaints – Audit

After a competitive procurement process, we have engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to carry out an independent assessment of our existing processes to determine if a complaint has been fully resolved for our Domestic and microbusiness customers. It is important that the assessment is thorough and so we have committed to provide enough resource to fully support this activity across the 3 organisational service areas. PwC held a kick-off meeting with our teams on 20 October 2014 to ensure that all parties understand the objectives, timeline and information required to support this assessment. PwC will not only review our processes, but also how we internally monitor our complaint resolution procedure. They will also assess our commitment to fully resolve the complaint. The results will allow us to complement our own clear action plans for any areas which have been identified as requiring improvement.

Our brand values are absolutely aligned with our customer service improvements in getting it right for all our customers. With the progress we have made and the plans that we have in place, I am confident that our customers will see a significant change in how we look after them – and also how we resolve any complaints.

Yours sincerely

Paul Massara