According to a survey of the customer experience of twelve utility and broadband suppliers' websites, British Gas was the top performer, thanks to a usable website and clear product and pricing information.
For the study from eDigital Research, 20 customers and 20 non-customers tested the websites of 12 home services suppliers for usability and customer experience.
Here are a few highlights from the report...
British Gas and 02 were the best performers, while Virgin Media and Southern Electric could do better...
British Gas topped the study with an average score of 77%, thanks in part to a clear homepage, which uses graphics and colours effectively to make it easier to find information.
British Gas has clearly considered what customers will arrive at the site looking for and made this easy to find, which cannot be said for Orange, Sky and Virgin Media, who are rated in the bottom four in the homepage category.
The problem is that these companies are using their homepages as portals, which means that new visitors looking for TV, phone or broadband services have a tough task.
Here's Sky's homepage; Orange and Virgin Media's are very similar:
Email customer service
As is often the case with this type of survey, the lowest scores were seen for email customer service.
Many customers hate having to call up companies and wait in queues before finding someone to talk to, so an email alternative should be provided. Email can be the best option from a customer perspective for non-urgent queries, and has the potential benefit for companies of reducing pressure on their call centres.
With an average score of 49% in this category, some of the 12 companies studied here clearly need to improve. Southern Electric and EDF are the bottom two, with scores of 26.4% and 25.9% respectively.
E.ON scored 73.7% for email customer service, thanks to an easy to use form, and swift responses - it promises a reply within five days, but many users were contacted within 24 hours.