Our promise to you
Our commitment to treat you fairly
At Spark, we want you to feel confident that you can get on with the fun things in life, safe in the knowledge that we’re working on the issues that matter and we’ve got your best interests at heart.
As an expert in the rental market and a popular choice for homeowners, we’re here to make energy as simple and easy as possible for our customers, right across Great Britain. Our aim is to treat every customer from every walk of life fairly, giving them the best possible energy experience with us.
It’s a complicated old industry – we rely on lots of complex systems, hardworking staff and dedicated partners to keep everything running smoothly. But while things aren’t always perfect, if something does go wrong, we promise to fix it as quickly as possible and at our cost.
We’re committed to treating customers fairly every day.
You’ll find details of what that means here and we’ll update it at least once a year.
When you join us
Whether you move in to a property that’s already supplied by Spark or you choose to switch to us, we’ll always let you know where you stand.
You’ll get straightforward and accurate information about who we are and the deal you’re on. Your contract and tariff will be simple, fair and live up to the promises we make in your welcome pack and on our website. We’ll always let you know if you could save and tell you about offers that we think are right for you, and we’ll never try to mislead you – putting the most important information up front and keeping everything and simple as possible.
We know that you’ll have lots to do when you move in to your new home, so if we already supply your home or have recently been asked to, we’ll always reach out to say hello and help you set up your account. When we talk to you, we’ll ask you how you’d like to be contacted during your time with us and our online tools let you to change your preferences at any time.
This year we’ve improved our welcome packs, made it easier for customers to set their contact preferences and increased our welcome call team to help customers get set off on the right foot from the word go.
When you need us
We know that everyone’s different so we offer our customers lots of ways to get in touch, putting the power in your hands to choose what works best for you.
There will always be times when our contact centre is busy or our inbox is particularly full. When that happens, we’ll tell you your place in the queue or when to expect a response to your email, and we’ll always point you to alterative, quicker options.
All of our customer phone numbers begin 0345, meaning they’re included in your bundled minutes from a mobile – so there are no nasty surprises when your bill comes in. And if we can’t answer the phone when you want us to then we’ll offer to call you back, holding your place in the queue until an agent is available.
We realise that energy never stops and we all do our home admin at different times. That’s why we offer 24/7 services. Regardless of your contract, how or when you pay, you can log in to your own ‘My Account’ at sparkenergy.co.uk or download and use the Spark App 24-hours a day. Give us meter reads, update your account, view and pay your bill and much more at the touch of a button.
We launched our mobile app in 2016, across Apple and Android platforms, and we’ve increased staffing in our call centre, adding overspill capacity for when we’re really busy. We’ve also developed our Live Chat function so that it’s available more often and is easier for our customers to use.
Because we’re always looking for ways to make things even easier for you, we’ve launched our new Customer Insight programme. As part of this, we’re gathering real-time customer feedback through our CustomerSure tool. Everything you tell us is translated into staff training and we publish the average score on our website alongside our Trustpilot score, which gives us immediate feedback on what’s good and what can be better. Along with our Customer Focus Groups, this all helps us to make better decisions on where to focus our efforts and invest, in order to make a real difference to you, our customers.
If we make a mistake
Nobody’s perfect all of the time, and we know you don’t expect us to be, but when things go wrong we want you to feel that we care and that we’re doing everything we can to put things right.
Lots of our customers inherit us with their new property, and we’re determined to give them a better experience than if they hadn’t, so we regularly publish our performance against the Big Six and work relentlessly to be better.
If you’re unhappy, our complaints process has three simple steps which are outlined on our website at sparkenergy.co.uk/complaints. We hope that we can resolve your issues quickly by speaking to one of the team, but if you want to raise a formal complaint then you’ll know where you stand every step of the way.
As an energy consumer you have rights, and at any stage of your complaint you can get clear, free and impartial advice on these from Citizens Advice by visiting www.citizensadvice.org.uk or calling 0345 404 0506 (0345 404 0505 Cymraeg).
And while we resolve over 9/10 complaints within eight weeks, in the unlikely event that we can’t, you can take your complaint to Ombudsman Services: Energy. They’re a free, independent arbiter, specialising in resolving tricky energy customer complaints and any decision they make is final and binding for us.
In 2015 we received fewer complaints per 100,000 than each of the Big Six suppliers and the average of the independents, resolving 70% of complaints within 24 hours. We also built stronger relationships with the Ombudsman Service and Citizens Advice – our Head of Customer Service meets with them in person at least every 3 months and has regular contact by phone, to learn where we’re doing well and what we could do better.
If you have a problem paying
We understand that sometimes things don’t go to plan and at times you might have difficulty paying your bill. We want to help, so if you talk to us, we’ll find a solution together.
There are a range of options available, starting with simple, independent advice. We’ve built partnerships with debt charities and government bodies who can help you get things back on track and we’ll only take further action if we can’t get to in touch to understand what we can do together.
The same goes for Direct Debits plans – we’ll always write to you if we think things need to change, before we take any action. If we don’t have actual meter readings from you then we’ll use the best estimate information available to us and ask you to get in touch if you think something’s not right.
All the information you need is here: sparkenergy.co.uk/difficulty-paying
If you have special requirements
Our Priority Services Register is a confidential list of customers who have specific needs or are medically dependent on their energy supply. You can find out more at: sparkenergy.co.uk/extrahelp. This helps us make sure we treat every customer in a way that meets their needs as fairly as possible.
On top of our Priority Services Register, our teams are being given additional training on how to identify and support vulnerable customers in line with our Vulnerable Customer Policy.
If you decide to leave
We always make it very clear that you’re free to choose another supplier at any time. We don’t want you to go but if you choose to leave we’ll provide you with the same excellent service as always.
This year, we’ve started noting tenancy end dates so we can get in touch near the end of your tenancy to make the move-out process as smooth as possible. And in 2017, we’ll be introducing a new refund policy, so that customers leaving us in credit will be able to get their final balance back quicker than ever before.
Upping our game
We’re constantly investing in ways to make things better for our customers.
We’re offering more digital tools than ever before to give our customers more choice and a faster, more flexible service, at any time of day. We’re regularly releasing new versions of our app – developing and enhancing it – all guided by our customer’s feedback.
Smart Meters are complicated but a huge step forward for our customers, putting them back in control. We ran our pilot roll out in early 2016 and have used that feedback to design our full roll out, which is set to kick-off again from early 2017.
We’re also using the information gathered from our customer insight programmes and feedback tools (Customer Sure and TrustPilot) to improve customer outcomes. This year we’ve invested in developing our billing system because we realise that estimated bills and inaccurate bills are the most common issues raised by customers. Our fully-updated system goes live in late 2016, unlocking new opportunities to improve bill accuracy and timing.
We’ve also updated our Customer Relationship Software more than 20 times since we first launched it in 2014 – each time with the aim of providing an even better service to our customers – but we’re not stopping there…
Our Institute of Customer Service trainers are delivering accredited customer service courses from our brand new Training Academy, launched this year. This new facility provides our dedicated team of trainers, coaches and HR specialists with the dedicated environment they need to support the current and next generation of Spark colleagues, including our new Modern Apprentices.
Our commitment to investing in our staff to improve service for our customers is clear and this was recognised in 2016 when we won ‘Customer Services Training Team of the Year’ at the Customer Service Training Awards and were shortlisted by Utility Week for their People and Culture award.