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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... 

Overall scores

British Gas and 02 were the best performers, while Virgin Media and Southern Electric could do better... 

Homepages

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. 

Graham Charlton

Published 13 May, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Mrs E Johnson

I thiink smart meters are good lets you know how much you spending and how much energy.

about 5 years ago

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Alfred Sibbons

I am so pleased with my in home display I can moniter my bills
Kind Regards
A.Sibbons

about 5 years ago

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mr colin chapman

smart meters are very good,you can keep your eye on what you are using and also avoid estemated meter readings.

about 5 years ago

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mr colin chapman

smart meters are very good,you can keep your eye on what you are using and also avoid estemated meter readings.

about 5 years ago

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Graham Norgate

The Smart metering and monitor are good in various ways.The traffic light system gives instant rough infomation and visually cannot be ignored.Its hard wired in our brains to look at traffic lights.Secondly I have a photo voltaic system on my roof producing electricity from the sun. The moniter tells me how much electricity has been imported and exported to and from my house. The readings encourage me to try and use the electricity the panels produce in the home.For the seriously interested in energy use the monitor give a wealth of infomation in the pattern of energy use over time.One final comment on saving energy, make sure that gas condensing boilers are set at the right temperature, not maximum as many are.

almost 5 years ago

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David

Contacted BG for information on government Green deal - using tel.number on website. Person answering sai 'wrong department' and gave me another number. That too told me 'wrong departmental number and gave me a third number.
Gave it up as a bad job. Total rubbishy service !

almost 4 years ago

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