ScottishPower processes 550,000 customer email and letter correspondence items annually using a computer-based scan and workflow system:
- 2.3 percent are categorized as complaints
- A small percentage of these are subsequently escalated by customers to the independent energy consumer watchdog, Energywatch
- Other types of correspondence are governed by SP’s guaranteed standard (GS) of replying to the customer within five days of receipt of inquiry; otherwise, a penalty is paid to the customer.
The backlogs within the correspondence department were such that it was a daily struggle to avoid GS failures.
There was a 20 percent incidence in repeat correspondence due to poor resolution of the initial inquiry – in some cases, a second letter from a customer was received before the first one had been read.
The aim of this Six Sigma project was to improve the efficiency with which customer correspondence is processed.
In the six months immediately following implementation of the project solutions, there was a 90 percent reduction in the incidence of GS failures.
In addition, Energywatch complaints fell during the first three months after implementation to a level that is consistent with industry expectations.
Finally, ScottishPower has been able to maintain a “day 2” clearance position, which means that a customer’s correspondence never stays in the backlog queue for more than two days.