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Sticking up for good customer service and value

By Jessica Lennard Friday 05 December 2014

The other day, one of the people who works here at OVO produced a chart that made us very proud. It plots customer service against price. An expensive company with poor customer service would be in the bottom left hand corner. A cheap company with excellent customer service would be in the top right box. Forget for a moment about whether it’s an energy company, a telecoms company or a food and drink company. Any sensible retail business wants to be in that top right hand corner. This year, despite more than tripling in customer numbers, OVO has been consistently cheaper than our main competitors and – thanks to votes from our fantastic customers - topped all the major customer service polls, including uSwitch and MoneySavingExpert.

Although we’re thrilled with the successes we’ve had, it’s a massive challenge and it certainly hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Unlike the Big Six who inherited all their customers during the privatisation of the energy industry, all our customers are switchers. We know if we don’t work hard enough to deserve their business, they’ll vote with their feet – and quite right too! 

So we think a lot about that top right hand corner and how to stay there, especially when we’re growing so fast. Many companies don’t set out to be there – it’s either ‘no frills, cheap and cheerful’, or ‘pay more for a luxury service’. A recent Daily Telegraph article suggested that the only way to be competitive on price was to sacrifice good service. But that’s not the sort of company OVO set out to be; and making sure that’s not what we become is a top priority for us.

We think it works like this…

Combining low prices with good customer service depends on innovation and efficiency. Partly, it’s about technology: building IT systems, customer apps, websites and other engagement tools that make it simple, easy and fun for customers to understand and manage their energy accounts. If people can do things automatically or easily online rather than phoning up, our costs come down and we can offer lower prices. A lot of the things we’re trying are new or haven’t been done before, and unfortunately sometimes we don’t get it right first time. But overall, we know it’s key to great value and happy customers. 

Identifying and recruiting the best possible people is also crucial, particular our call centre staff. Time and time again, call centres are identified as a source of frustration for energy customers: ‘It took forever to answer the phone’; ‘The call centre is in India’; ‘They put me through to someone else’. So we invest in smart people and give them the power to solve customers’ problems ‘first time’. Again, happier customers, lower costs. 

Finally, we’re firmly committed to always offering the best price we can, but – importantly - making sure this is broadly reflective of the real cost of doing business, because that’s how customers can trust us that they’re getting a fair deal. We respond quickly to changes in wholesale prices of electricity and gas, passing on savings to our customers whenever we can. We don’t offer super cheap, short-term tariffs which are only available to new customers. And we don’t charge higher prices to customers who’ve been with us longer, just because we think they won’t bother switching away from us. 

We can’t promise we’ll get everything right all the time. But we can promise that we’re not taking our eye off that top right hand corner. It’s where we set out to be, it’s what our customers deserve and it’s where we’ll work hard to stay.

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O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.

 

1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.

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