Official data for the number of complaints made by customers of utility companies in the first quarter of 2016 has been published by the ombudsman. Once again the figures show The Co-operative Energy treats its customers in a most un-cooperative way:
1sth quarter 2016: 2nd most complained about utility company
4th quarter 2015: 2nd most complained about utility company
3rd quarter 2015: 1st most complained about utility company
2nd quarter 2015: 2nd most complained about utility company
1st quarter 2015: 4th most complained about utility company
It is also a record of customer failure which reflects my own experience, now thankfully ended, of being a Co-operative Energy customer.
If the IT meltdown, poor security, numerous errors, poor service and tin ear to customers aren’t enough to put you off The Co-operative Energy, not to mention the paucity of interest in these issues shown by those running to be directors of Midcounties Co-operative, who own it, [the complaints figures are] another reason.
One small consolation from my own experience of their special combination of dreadful customer service and yet also lack of interest in sorting it from would-be directors during their election is the number of people who still come to my posts via search every day.
I hope at least I’ve managed to save a few people from my own fate. (Do share this if you know anyone else who is thinking about being a customer of theirs).
Which also makes it quite noticeable that whilst my posts criticising other organisations quite often result in someone from them getting in touch, no-one from Co-operative Energy has done so.
That either means the management team at Co-operative Energy is are blind to what is being said about their operation online – which is not only unwise for their reputation but foolish too, as online listening is a great way safety net to check what is really happening in your firm as opposed to what your management systems tell you is happening.
Or it means the management team at Co-operative Energy more generally just doesn’t really care what (ex)customers have to say. That may seem harsh, but would at least fit with the pattern of repeated failure that I’ve documented before.
From my experience of communicating with would be directors during their election, I suspect that some think the feedback from individuals is irrelevant. Hence the number who didn’t respond to me, a co-operative member, despite professing to be keen believers in co-operatives.
For others, I suspect they are so imbued with the idea of how wonderful co-operatives are that they, consciously or subconsciously, prefer to turn a blind eye to the reality documented by those official statistics for complaints.
Whatever the mix of explanations, there is one common conclusion: this isn’t an outfit that takes customer service seriously. If you’re thinking of being a Co-operative Energy customer, think again.