Customer satisfaction is an issue of great importance for EVN in all its markets. In order to learn from the diverse experience and knowhow in dealing with customers, Group-wide Customer Relations Days were held in June 2014 at EVN Macedonia with EVN representatives from Austria, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Ideas and concepts for further improving the quality of customer service throughout the EVN Group were developed in workshops, presentations and roundtable discussions that set the stage for a wide-ranging exchange of experience.
EVN’s customer service in Austria received roughly 640,000 (previous year: 680,000) telephone enquiries and 115,000 (previous year: 120,000) e-mail enquiries during 2013/14. In keeping with its continuous efforts to provide the best possible service, EVN has carried out systematic surveys for many years to measure customer satisfaction. The 2013 survey covered nearly 8,000 household custo mers and 1,200 commercial customers in Lower Austria.
Energy price structure and product composition
EVN offers reliable electricity and natural gas supplies at competitive prices. In keeping with the current low level of wholesale prices, EVN’s supply company reduced electricity prices for all end customers as of 1 October 2014 within the framework of EnergieAllianz Austria. This step will help a household with average electricity consumption of 3,500 kWh per year to save 10% of its energy costs.
Our product management regularly develops new tariff models that are designed to meet customer requirements and, where desired, can be based on fixed or variable energy prices and include electricity from 100% renewable energy sources or biogas. For many years, the electricity sold by EVN’s supply company has not contained any nuclear energy and is generated from 100% domestic production.
These latest results, combined with long-term trends, create the basis for identifying general developments in customer satisfaction and analysing relevant business transactions and also provide valuable information on suggestions for improvement. The results are discussed with the involved departments during workshops, in which approaches for future measures are regularly defined.
The overall satisfaction of EVN’s household customers remained nearly unchanged at the high prior year level (1.76) with a mean value of 1.80 in 2013 (on a five-step scale ranging from 1 = very satisfied to 5 = not at all satisfied). The price-performance ratio, an important indicator of basic customer satisfaction and loyalty, also remained high. The satisfaction of EVN’s commercial customers also remained stable at a good level compared with the last survey in 2011.
Customers view supply security and good customer service – both over the telephone and in eliminating supply disruptions – as two of EVN’s greatest strengths. For commercial customers, the price- performance ratio was another important reason for their satisfaction with EVN.
EVN‘s Customer Loyalty Index, which was introduced in 2011, measures customer loyalty based on various indicators. It has become a strategic monitoring instrument and was also calculated monthly in 2013/14. The goals of the index are to promptly recognise changes in customer loyalty, identify the causes and react quickly with suitable measures. The survey results indicated that c ustomers with an in-depth knowledge of EVN’s supplementary services have a particularly strong affinity to EVN.
Composition of electricity from the
Naturkraft Energievertriebsgesellschaft m.b.H.
in terms of primary energy sources 1)
The EVN customer service centre has been certified under EN 15838 since 2012 based on a monitoring audit for the certification of European Call Centres. This standard sets quality requirements for customer contact centres, with customer satisfaction forming the focal point. The audit covers personnel, organisation, processes, technology and service. This certification is a strong proof of the high quality of the service hotline, which is available free of charge to EVN’s customers.
A quality improvement programme has been in place for many years to monitor compliance with internal quality standards in responding to customer enquiries and complaints. This programme asks customers to report their experiences and is designed to analyse the quality of advising under specific scenarios and to identify opportunities for improvement as the basis for the implementation of corrective measures. The quality of EVN’s services was last tested from March 2013 to April 2014 in roughly 1,300 mystery shopping tests at members of the EVN customer service staff. Customer- oriented actions as well as service quality in direct customer contacts – via telephone, e-mail and personally – were evaluated by an external market research institute. The results led to the immediate implementation of important quality improvements. In order to underscore the importance of customer orientation, particularly dedicated employees were honoured at a closing event.
Bulgaria and Macedonia
The customer service staff at EVN Bulgaria responded to roughly 506,000 (previous year: 531,000) telephone enquiries and nearly 20,100 (previous year: 23,800) e-mail enquiries in 2013/14. The comparable figures for EVN Macedonia were approx. 343,700 (previous year: 340,000) telephone enquiries and almost 17,900 (previous year: 14,600) e-mail enquiries.
In Macedonia, 6,600 interviews and 1,600 mystery shopping tests were carried out during the reporting year to evaluate customer satisfaction. The results of these surveys and further internal quality analyses led directly to improvement and optimisation programmes that helped to reduce the number of complaints.
EVN Macedonia also demonstrated its commitment to the continuous improvement of customer service in 2013/14 by organising the international “Customer Service Week“, which was held in Macedonia for the second time in October 2014. This event draws several thousand companies from more than 40 countries and focuses on the importance of customer satisfaction and the significance of employees in customer-related fields.
- GRI indicator: Customer satisfaction (PR5)
EVN Bulgaria launched its “EVN next to you“ customer satisfaction programme during the reporting year, which organises meetings between representatives of EVN Bulgaria and its customers in their home cities and villages. These meetings give customers a platform to discuss basic concerns and problems in their respective region with EVN contact partners. Another step to strengthen the focus on customers was the opening of an EVN customer service centre in a shopping mall, where flexible opening hours together with fast and friendly service makes the personal contacts between EVN and its customers as pleasant as possible.
Combatting energy poverty
EVN places high value on energy consulting that is focused on customers and aligned with their needs. Accordingly, energy savings is one of the most important principles for these activities. While reducing energy consumption is a focal point in many households for ecological reasons, energy counselling is even more important for people at risk of poverty. The charity organisation Caritas and EVN therefore launched a joint project entitled “Households at risk of poverty“, which operates according to the “train the trainer” principle. EVN‘s energy advisers equip the Caritas social counsellors with the necessary know-how and special technical aids to offer energy-savings tips directly in the home – in other words: helping people to help themselves. This project was implemented in six steps:
- GRI indicator: Percentage of operations with implemented local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programmes (SO1)
Step 1: Development of consulting tools (guideline, checklist)
and selection of technical aids (energy measurement instruments,
flow restrictor to reduce the use of hot water, electric
Step 2: Expert advice on-site (initial evaluation and review)
Step 3: One-day basic course on energy consulting for social counsellors with EVN energy experts
Step 4: Joint advising on-site in the involved households
Step 5: Further training session and reinforcement of energy consulting know-how for the social counsellors, feedback round
Step 6: Roll-out of energy consulting services by the social counsellors
The Caritas social counsellors carried out 200 advising sessions during the reporting year, 150 in the regional Caritas agency offices and a further 50 directly in the apartments and houses of the involved families. Since the EVN energy advisory are constantly developing new tips and tricks for energy savings, regular training programmes are held to update the Caritas staff. EVN not only provides expert know-how in the form of training for the Caritas social counsellors, but also appropriate energy solutions for concrete savings in the individual households.