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Audio Transcript: SP Energy Networks BSI Kitemark Award

Video Title: BSI SP ENERGY NETWORKS CASE STUDY

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So we are basically the people that keep the lights on, we've got three and a half million customers across two licensed areas in the UK. One in central Scotland and one around mid Cheshire North Wales area, and we deliver supplies to customers whoever their supplier is, whoever they pay their bills to. We keep the lights on for those customers.

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So as an organization we're really striving for excellent customer service. We strive to be a service leader in the UK and we benchmark ourselves against the top 50 companies in the UK every year to make sure that we're stacking up. And we've gone for the BSI Kitemark really to help test our processes and make sure that the things that we're saying that we're doing that we really are doing. It's important that we get our organisation and our people and processes lined up, and to deliver the service that we want it needs to be really consistent and going through the BSI standards really helped us to drive that and test that.

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So I think it just helps reinforce the messages that we really driving, we’ve work hard to really improve our service over the last eight years. We've had a real cultural change through our organization. We've been on a long journey with our service improvement and I think this is just another thing that really reinforces that we are really serious about this. And it helps us externally to be able to prove that we are doing what we say we're doing. We can show that externally to both our regulator and our customers can see that the service that we're delivering is a really high level. Because I think British Standards are a recognised standard that people would recognize the brand and I think it's a trusted brand as well.

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So I think, listen to what your customers are saying, look at the processes and make sure that you're trying to drive consistency. At the end of the day it's about your people and you need to get everybody facing in the same direction to get that consistency. And generally people want to deliver good service and they care when they come to work. There's not many people that come and really don't want to do a good job and I think if you can harness that and put that into processes that are clear and consistent and just really drive out any differences then you'll get there.

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So we have extensive social program that we've built on top of our customer service program. We have a range of partnerships that we've developed. We work with about 150 partners who help us to shape training for our staff but we also deliver services to our customers. So things that you probably wouldn't necessarily expect to get from an energy company, certainly from a network provider. We offer things like pending services, we offer income maximization to make sure customers can check that they're on the right benefits, debt advice, we support customers with dementia in their homes. So there's a wide range of services that we offer but probably things that customers wouldn't necessarily expect to get from us. And we're doing that to be part of the community that we're in and we're working with partnerships so that they can deliver services to our customers. All of that's free of charge and to help them facilitate that what we do is we offer things like our office space, we offer volunteering time so that we can give something back to these organizations that are helping us, that are helping our customers.

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So I took about four and five different stages to the BSI audit. I started off with the understanding what the standard was for the customer service Kitemart. Then I broke it down to the processes we have within the SP engineer network distribution model. After that it was approaching the districts to sit there and prepare the process teams to let them understand what the standards were and make sure we didn't have any gaps, so a bit of gap analysis and then finally when we had everybody prepared we were ready for audit that went for a stage one review and then we went to a stage two full audit.

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As part of the customer service standard we went through a full review of the faults process and the planned outage process and behind you here you can see we have the core of where the customer calls in. So when the customer calls with a fault it will be taken by the one of the teams in the background there who will take the customer calls. And the team immediately behind me here, they will then look at the systems to make sure to see if there's any faults in the network and then these guys are the people, they're called the control engineers, who liaise with the staff on-site. And these are the guys that come out to your house and check if your powers on and also these are the engineers who fix the faults and deal with any of the vulnerabilities on site. The good thing about the Kitemark assessment was it reaffirmed that we were carrying out the right standards to meet the vulnerabilities and the customer service we were trying to achieve. But also it was quite interesting to see that the true stories coming out from the processes and that we can relate them to the standard – to show that we were doing a good service. So it was a bit like a pat on the back to say well done, we’re actually managing a process to a certain standard.

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We learnt a lot from how well our staff were behaving on-site, to how well we were managing our customers and also to show that we actually had the process already embedded as a culture instead of having to learn new skills sets and new things to deliver to the standard.

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The customer service Kitemark can provide tremendous benefits to service providers and their customers. In fact eight out of ten customers say that they would go elsewhere if they experienced poor customer service and with the advent of social media where it is so easy to actually provide negative responses it makes it even more important that we all strive for excellent customer service. We know that the focus on customer is absolutely crucial to a successful business and we also know that the customer service Kitemark is an independently assessed mark of trust that really identifies and shows to your customers that you take customer service seriously.

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