Another award for Utility Warehouse’s impressive collection.
2021 marked the 20th anniversary of the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards – the longest-running, largest awards programme in the customer contact industry. This year’s Awards have been particularly thought-provoking, given the level of support many people have needed throughout the coronavirus crisis. Last month, home service providers across Europe gathered at a virtual ceremony to celebrate the companies that have done the most to protect customers over the past 12 months.
Competition was high, but this didn’t stop Utility Warehouse (UW) – the UK’s only genuine multiservice provider – from winning the Silver Award in the Responding in a Crisis – Supporting Customers (Utilities, Telecoms, and Technology) category. While Tele2 (Russia) took the top spot, UW outdid various big-name UK entrants with its thoughtful approaches to customer support. These British entrants included Shell Energy, BT Consumer, and Content Guru.
UW also made it to the finals for a similar award – Responding in a Crisis – Supporting Colleagues (Essential Services) – which recognises companies that go above and beyond to protect their employees.
UW’s Coronavirus Support
UW’s silver award celebrates the level of support UW has offered customers through a tough year. The multiservice provider reacted instantly to the COVID-19 crisis to ensure there was no break in the level of support offered to customers. First, UW made a seamless transition to remote work by setting up over 1,000 staff with remote equipment so they could work and support customers effectively from home. UW then:
· Hired additional remote customer service teams to accommodate the increasing need for customer support.
· Created a virtual appointment presentation so Authorised UW Partners (the company’s independent distributors) could keep their businesses going and sign up customers remotely.
· Drew up a selection of support initiatives to protect vulnerable customers during the lockdown. We’ll look at some of these support initiatives below.
Customer Service Solutions
UW’s customer service team stepped up to the mark when many customers faced pandemic-related difficulties and needed reassurance about paying their bills. UW’s specialist customer service team continues to review customers’ circumstances and draw up personalised payment arrangements, including payment holidays, to reduce stress around bill paying. UW never charges interest on these special payment arrangements.
UW’s dedicated customer service teams can also arrange emergency support for customers who have pre-paid meters, priority handset repairs for customers who rely on their landline phones, and emergency contact lines for customers who need urgent support.
Smart Meter, Landline, and Broadband Installation
While UK government guidance has limited landline, broadband, and smart-meter installation in Scotland, UW has been able to carry out installations throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Engineers are completing installations wearing full protective gear. They also wipe down all surfaces and comply with social distancing guidelines.
Priority Services Register
UW has offered customers the opportunity to join the Priority Services Register, which entitles vulnerable customers to priority services, such as fast-tracking through call queues, power cut support, meter reading, and gas safety checks. Vulnerable customers can also arrange for a trusted friend or family member to handle bills on their behalf.
Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment
Earlier this year, UW also became one of the first names to join Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment, which aims to reinforce and strengthen licence responsibilities. As a founding member, UW is collating feedback from vulnerable customers on its bills and communications. Energy UK is working with UW and other founding participants to analyse this feedback and develop additional support measures, on top of industry regulations, to protect vulnerable customers.
UW’s Other Awards
UW’s European Contact Centre and Customer Service Award is the latest in the FTSE 250 company’s collection of accolades. UW has won countless awards over the years, including highly coveted wins from independent consumer champions such as Which?, Uswitch, Moneyfacts, and Defaqto, who’ve also celebrated UW’s outstanding customer service, utility bundles, customer rewards, and home insurance.
For example, not only did UW scoop two awards at the Uswitch Energy Awards 2021 (and finish fourth in the Best Supplier category), but the company was also hailed the Which? Utilities Brand of the Year in 2020. Meanwhile, independent financial information experts Defaqto has recognised UW’s home insurance service and emergency cover with a five-star rating.
About Utility Warehouse
Customers can cut costs and save valuable time when they book one of UW’s home service bundles. These great value packages combine gas, electricity, mobile, landline, broadband, and/or insurance services into one, simple deal. Customers can take out as many or as few home services as they need to save the hassle of managing multiple providers and make the most of fantastic discounts. Customers can simply log into their account to see their home services and leave UW to do all the work.
UW customers can sign up through an Authorised Partner, who provides all the help customers need to get started. These Partners spread the word about UW’s utility bundles, onboard customers, and earn commission in the process. This means UW doesn’t need to spend on television or radio advertising – the company’s success has grown organically out of word-of-mouth recommendations. Partners can earn up to £370 every time they sign up a customer and play a key part in a major British success story. Anyone over 18 can become a UW Partner.
Once signed up, customers have access to a wealth of benefits, many geared towards environmental wellbeing. As a UW customer, you can receive a free smart meter upgrade, free LED lightbulbs, and – if you book all UW home services – 100% renewable energy. UW will also fund the planting of a tree in Bryn Arw (the Brecon Beacons) on your behalf.