Scottish Power, Ovo, British Gas Customer Service Maligned in Damning New Survey

Which?’s 2023 customer service survey found energy to be the worst-performing sector for customer experience, with Scottish Power, Ovo and British Gas the most egregious culprits

Scottish Power, Ovo, British Gas Customer Service Maligned in Damning New Survey
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Published: March 22, 2024

Kieran Devlin

Kieran Devlin

Scottish Power, Ovo Energy and British Gas finished bottom among energy companies in Which?’s 2023 customer service survey, with energy also representing the worst-performing sector for customer experience.

In Which?’s survey, a quarter (25 percent) of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their most recent customer service experience with their energy provider. This dissatisfaction rate was the highest among the energy, financial services, retail, and telecom sectors.

The consumer advice organisation analysed data from its 2023 customer service survey and annual energy customer satisfaction survey to evaluate how well energy firms are performing in customer service and resolving customer problems promptly and effectively. Scottish Power, Ovo Energy, and British Gas were identified as the worst performers in providing quick responses and practical solutions.

“Customer service is in a dire state in vital areas, and some companies are routinely failing their customers – leaving them frustrated and stuck in endless loops trying to get help,” said Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy.

Scottish Power, Ovo Energy and British Gas all fared poorly in Which? research on which firms are best for giving quick and effective solutions when things go wrong. Failings in this area are particularly unacceptable when sky-high energy prices have left families and households struggling to make ends meet.”

Which? noted a prevailing frustration in many of the customer accounts surveyed was the lack of prompt responses and resolutions from companies when customers reached out about a problem. Too frequently, Which? underlined, this resulted in customers being kept on hold, trapped in endless chatbot loops, or transferred from one department to another without receiving a satisfactory resolution or helpful answer to their query.

Which? also highlighted that this was “particularly unacceptable” considering that soaring energy bills have significantly contributed to the cost of living crisis, leading to substantial profits for many energy suppliers.

“While many consumers will rightly consider switching, these firms must urgently make improvements so all customers are getting the standard of service and support they need and deserve,” Concha added.

Damning Findings For Scottish Power, Ovo and British Gas

Scottish Power received the lowest satisfaction score of -13 for contact wait times and 3 for issue resolution. Which? cited one customer who experienced sleepless nights and anxiety over unresolved billing problems after being left on hold and encountering unhelpful agents. Another Which? mentioned feared bailiff visits due to Scottish Power’s failure to rectify an incorrect bill.

Ovo Energy closely followed with a score of -7 for contact wait times and 7 for issue resolution. A customer Which? noted switched providers due to rudeness and unhelpfulness from Ovo staff during a billing issue call.

British Gas performed better, scoring 16 for contact wait times and 23 for issue resolution. However, one British Gas customer Which? cited recounted spending 43 hours on the phone and sending 24 emails over more than a year to resolve a billing issue. Despite her repeated attempts, she found the staff lacking empathy, causing her distress as she had to repeatedly explain her situation following her husband’s passing.

According to Which?’s dual surveys, the energy businesses that performed the best were Octopus Energy and E.On Next. Octopus performed most impressively for quick and effective customer service, with a satisfaction score of 46 for how long it took to get in touch with a person who could help and 55 for how long it took to get an answer to an issue. E.On Next achieved 35 for how long it took to get in touch and 25 for how long it took to get a query answered.

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