Guest Blog: npower’s Wayne Mitchell on Invoice Redesign

Making the bills make sense Whenever I buy something, I always want to clearly understand exactly what I’m paying for. Is service included? What about VAT and other extras? And […]

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By george marshall

Making the bills make sense
Whenever I buy something, I always want to clearly understand exactly what I’m paying for. Is service included? What about VAT and other extras? And how is the price broken down?

It’s no different at work, perhaps even more so when you’re spending someone else’s money. Focusing on the detail is important – and that’s why this month, we’re unveiling new-look electricity invoices that make it clearer what our npower Business Solutions customers are paying for and why.

Non-commodity charges increase
Over the past few years, as new non-commodity taxes and charges have been introduced, detailing these on our existing bill has started to look overcrowded and complicated (as indeed many customers believe these charges to be!).

Business requirements change too. Clearer information that’s easy for all to see – not just to those who are familiar with the ever-evolving make-up of energy bills – is also increasingly necessary. Especially when regulations such as the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme and Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) require board-level engagement with energy matters.

So when it comes to making sure our electricity invoices are as clear and easy to follow as possible, we’ve done extensive research with focus groups as part of our Business Voice panel, talking to customers and consultants. And we’ve gathered feedback via our regular Customer Satisfaction surveys.

Meeting customer requirements
We’ve also reviewed market changes and developments to make sure we provide all the relevant information that customers now require. For example, adding electricity meter serial numbers (MSN) to invoices and listing consumption separately where a customer has more than one meter, as our Customer Service teams tell us this is a regular query when customers call.

We’re including specific contact details for all those customers who have a Customer Relationship Managed (CRM) account too, so it’s clear who to call or email and how. The aim is to save us all time – customers when calling, and our Customer Service team when trying to track down the right contact for CRM callers.

The benefit of initiatives such as these, and others we’ve been introducing, is that telephone traffic is reducing. So our team is more efficient and no caller now has to be put on hold.

Cutting down on estimated bills
Our ultimate aim is to ensure every electricity invoice is based on accurate meter reads. Of course, for Half-Hourly meters, that’s easy, as readings are automated. But for Non-Half-Hourly meters, we rely on customers to submit regular readings in between manual meter reads by our team.

We appreciate estimated invoices aren’t great for budgeting either. So to encourage greater awareness of where bills are lacking actual readings, our design team has created a new section on the front of the invoice to clearly communicate this, along with information on a choice of easy ways to submit future meter reads.

Committed to getting the details right
I appreciate a blog all about invoices is not the most riveting of topics. But we believe that getting the details right is important for our customers, and this is just one of the many ways we are aiming to do just that.

If you’re a customer, you’ll see these changes for yourself soon enough – new-look electricity invoices for our Client Services products and services will start mailing in the next few weeks, while new supply invoices will follow in shortly afterwards.

As ever, let us know what you think. Our hope is we’ve got it right – but we always welcome your feedback, both positive and constructive.