SSE hangs up on cold calling

SSE was one of the first energy firms to end cold calling. It led the industry in 2013 and stopped the practice.

SSE was one of the first energy firms to end cold calling.  It led the industry in 2013 and stopped the practice.

It recognised that unsolicited telephone calls to potential customers at home were unwelcome and many people found them intrusive.

In future the company’s energy supply brands – Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro and SWALEC will only contact customers they already have a relationship with or potential customers who have previously agreed to a call.

SSE’s Group Managing Director, Retail, Will Morris said: “Nobody likes receiving a sales call out of the blue and so we are stopping it.

“It doesn’t matter that other energy companies still do it, or other industries for that matter, cold calling is not something that a company like SSE – committed to providing an excellent customer experience – should be doing any longer.

“We want to be a company that sells itself, one that is recognised for being the best in its sector and one that people choose to buy from.

”This decision to end unsolicited calls is part of becoming that company and demonstrates that we are dedicated to delivering what customers want.”

SSE’s focus is now on ensuring that existing customers get the best possible products, deals and customer service. This includes an Annual Energy Review where an energy adviser ensures they are on the best tariff for their needs and advises on ways to reduce energy consumption.

Research carried out by consumer organisation Which? found that eight out of ten people asked had received an unsolicited call in the last month. Eight per cent had received 50 or more. A quarter of the people asked said they felt intimidated by cold calls.

SSE has been at the forefront of energy industry attempts to rebuild trust among customers.

The company was the first major supplier to stop doorstep sales in July 2011, the first to introduce a sales guarantee (where if any customer has been mis-sold, the financial loss is made good), the first to simplify the number of tariffs offered and the first to introduce a customer service guarantee (where if the company fails to live up to a set of customer service promises the customer will get money off their next bill).

SSE has also come top for customer service in the uSwitch Customer Satisfaction survey for the last seven years.

Will Morris added: “Our customers are the most important people to us and we are constantly looking at ways we can deliver more of what they want. We are a company that listens and we will not be shy to make other changes when it is what our customers would like”.

The decision to close telesales will have an impact on the jobs of 70 employees in Thatcham, Berkshire and around 30 back office roles in St Mellons, Cardiff.

SSE intends to redeploy these employees to other jobs within Customer Service or other areas of the company wherever possible. A small team will be established to deal with inbound calls from potential customers but they will not make unsolicited outbound calls.

Press release by SSE's media team, republished on the 25/02/15.
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