Case studies

We’re working on some exciting projects that are helping us to stay one step ahead as we continue to strive to deliver highest standards of customer service. All of these projects have our customers firmly at the heart.

Supporting customers during gas loss

Back in November 2015, more than 750 properties in Consett, County Durham lost their gas supplies for three days, after a burst water main flooded our network.

We’d learnt from previous incidents about how to provide tailored support in the most trying times, and were able to apply this knowledge.

We sent regular text message updates to customers, using data supplied by Northumbrian Water, provided free hot food and set up an immediate hardship fund to help residents top up electricity meters.

As Consett is an ex-mining community, we sourced oil heaters, rather than the usual electric ones, to keep customers warm. The dry heat from electric heaters risked exacerbating symptoms of those suffering from respiratory conditions.

Customers were fantastically patient throughout a very difficult three days.

Instant payments for customers

We’ve introduced Ping It – a new online instant payments service for customers. The service means that compensation can be paid instantly. This is proving to be particularly beneficial to small businesses who no longer have to wait weeks to receive compensation following issues such as network-related gas loss.

Understanding our customers

To improve our services, we need to understand what customers really want and need.

We’ve begun to survey customers from all walks of life to get feedback that is truly representative of our region, so we can tailor our services more accurately.

In this past, we’ve been guilty of assuming we know what customers want, without asking them directly.

As part of our efforts to understand our customers better, we’re trialling a new instant SMS feedback tool called Rant and Rave. This allows us to take the temperature of our customer base in real time.

Staying in touch – even after our engineers have left

When we are called out to a gas emergency, our role formally ends once we have made the situation safe and restored mains supply.

However, the story doesn’t always end there for customers, as they often need to liaise with third parties to get their gas appliances checked and back up and running.

We now proactively call back these customers to make sure things are in hand. For customers struggling financially, we make calls to third parties on their behalf.

Since we launched the service in March 2016, we’ve made more than 10,000 proactive calls – ensuring customers are looked after.

Award win for our North East call centre

Our North East customer contact centre won the ‘Best of British Dream Team’ category at the 2015 North East Contact Centre Awards.

The annual awards recognise the best practitioners in the contact and call centre industry from across the region. We were up against national household names including Barclay’s Bank, Tesco Bank and AXA.

The achievement reflects the collective effort of an enthusiastic and conscientious team, who go the extra mile for our customers.