Question

Is there a systemic issue? If not what's going on?

  • 5 October 2021
  • 9 replies
  • 85 views

Userlevel 7
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  • Rocket Scientist
  • 13652 replies

This is not intended to be critical, I have PP’s interests at heart but I have to be honest about what I’m seeing in the community and it’s worrying.

The number of customers who either haven’t received statements, haven’t been billed, have had SM’s fitted only to find their account hasn’t been updated for months, and other associated long term (anything over 3 months is long term) billing issues is very concerning.
In instances  where, from the info the customer is providing (a balance of £1000’s for example, or no billing for energy for months) a simple data check (Revenue Assurance) would throw up accounts which need immediate attention. it’s hard to understand why these haven’t been picked up and dealt with. They should never surface in the community, if they do every single one is a failure chalked up to PP (even if the fault lies with a rubbish system which relies on external services to validate readings/meters)

I can only conclude one of 3 things

Either you don’t have the checks in place (if so why not?)

or

You do have the checks but no one is looking

or

You don’t have the resources to deal with these accounts (so fix it or employ people who can)

 

I don’t want  to see you  suffer in precisely the same way with the same issues that caused Scottish Power and EDF to meltdown and have to spend millions fixing it and their reputations.

I know this is going to provoke a ****storm when you read it, and I don’t always believe what customers post (a lot of the time customers need to take some responsibility) but when I read that a customer hasn’t been charged for energy or billed for months even years so many times then I know something needs fixing.

I would add that we only see those who’ve found their way to the community, and given the near universal dislike of bot based customer services (I can back that up with recent evidence) I know there will likely be many more who haven’t managed to sort out their accounts because they file it under “tdsl” (too difficult sort later or ostrich syndrome)

I hope I don’t have to revisit this post in the future and say I told you so, I can only post about what I see.

(I have my hard hat on and cardboard down the back of my trousers but I don’t have a Kevlar vest, so I’ve stuck a tin lid up me jumper - you have to make do with what you have...)

(This isn’t going to get me a mention in the community roundup is it)

 

 

 

 


9 replies

Orchestrating a customer account and billing system can be tricky. But you make a fair comment (or two).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Userlevel 7
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@25 quid Oi, you’ve stolen my whitespace, give it back immediately! 

 

Userlevel 7
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I’m just LOL at your last line, our Wozeeta, re round up 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Userlevel 7
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I’m just LOL at your last line, our Wozeeta, re round up 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

LOL I’m teetering @Bev just teetering (but I’m not sure on what)

 

Userlevel 7
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Perhaps it will make it into the roundup @woz. If the customers are seeing something that they find concerning it is fair to flag it up. It shows that you care for and value PP as a company and also for their customers. If possible issues aren’t flagged up then it can never be looked into and or prevented.

 

I am certain that PP will not take umbridge to your observations as it is precisely that and you put them very kindly and respectfully.

This is not intended to be critical, I have PP’s interests at heart but I have to be honest about what I’m seeing in the community and it’s worrying.


To add to @woz’s points, now, I know you obviously can’t ‘tell us’ due to data protection, but what on earth has gone wrong here?

paid too much | Community (purepla.net)
In particular this bit:

“In the 3 months I have been with them I have paid nearly £2000”

 

Hi everyone, 

Firstly I wanted to reassure you there’s no widespread systemic issue in our billing system. 

I think there are a few aspects at play here! 

Firstly, it’s fair to say we’re seeing record amounts of contact right now due to the challenges in the energy market, and it’s taking anywhere from a day up to several weeks for our team to respond. That’s certainly being reflected in the number of questions coming to the Community, too. Here in the Community a lot of that contact seems to be focused around Members following advice to check their balance and statements, from people such as Martin Lewis.

On top of that, we’re busier than ever having requested that Members carry out account health checks ahead of Winter, to ensure their payments and billing are up to date. Which we absolutely believe is the right thing to do. :thumbsup:

What that does mean is more and more people are paying attention to, and contacting us about, their billing and statements. 

Separately to the above, our Industry Operations team are consistently working through accounts that haven’t received a statement for whatever reason, and monitoring for any potential issues. 

Whilst we’d love to automate this process, and automatically communicate with Members once they haven’t received a statement for X amount of time, at the moment that simply isn’t possible due to the complicated nature of these issues. Each one has to be looked into on a case by case basis, to understand what’s happening on the account - and the Member can then be kept up to date accordingly. 

Lastly, certain industry processes do take time to resolve, and involve billing being paused. Most commonly that’ll be reading disputes or erroneous transfers. Those can take around 12 weeks to get sorted. Although that 12 week gap is explained whenever a dispute or erroneous transfer is raised by our team, understandably it can cause further contact or worry before that advised 12 week period is complete. 

I hope that explains the increase in questions about statements - and reassures you that there’s no systemic error. 

Sorry this reply is long - your post was clearly well thought through @woz so I wanted to include everything! :grinning:

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@Nataly Understood Nataly but surely when such issues arise customers are told and are not left in remote silence? It must be easy to send a response to reassure that an issue is being looked at but current market conditions are creating an increase in queries leading to delays in they being addressed. Just don’t leave customers in the dark.

Also this is just one of those classic occasions which highlight the problems with Wattbot. A big lesson to learn from all this is, sort it. The theory behind Watt is fine but it does not work as it should. Remember most people don’t grumble but just suffer in silence. The number with issues is therefore greater than it may appear. I am not convinced there is a cure as a Bot cannot think like a human nor understand anything beyond a simple question framed in such a way that a two year old can comprehend. A bit like some of our newspapers. The answer is more cost, people. But it may be that is a price members would accept. 50p on the membership fee may be acceptable if the quality of service becomes excellent.

Difficult times but they highlight the weaknesses to be addressed. Those at Head Office should be deep in proactive thought to resolve this for the future. It can be, but somebody must grasp the proverbial nettle.

Apart from all that, did you enjoy the wedding?! We need to know about yours in due course!!! !

@Nataly Understood Nataly but surely when such issues arise customers are told and are not left in remote silence? It must be easy to send a response to reassure that an issue is being looked at but current market conditions are creating an increase in queries leading to delays in they being addressed. Just don’t leave customers in the dark.

Absolutely @G4RHL and that’s exactly what our Member Services team are doing. :slight_smile:

Given that Members are understandably more concerned about their billing at the moment, it’s leading to a lot of duplicate contact, or chasing the team multiple times. We’re trying to make the longer response times clear to Members whenever they email or go through to the team via chat - so hopefully that’ll help reassure Members that we’re on the case. :thumbsup:

WattBot is also something we’re consistently monitoring and working on improvements for (@Al O can vouch for this!), too. 

 

And yes the wedding was lovely despite nonstop heavy rain! :laughing: The cake was for the original no. of 80 guests even though, due to COVID, there were only 40 of us. So plenty of cake for us to take home after… clearly the most important thing (joking!). Mine?! Do you know something I don’t! 

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