The human stories behind Octopus customer service

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We speak to around 40,000 customers a day and do our best to give each and every customer simple, considerate and proactive help. Being there for so many people takes a huge amount of work from across our team: but most of the credit has to go to our incredible energy specialists, who work tirelessly and go above and beyond to support our customers.

When you look at that bigger picture, it's easy to forget that every single one of those 40,000 contacts is a person-to-person conversation.

We remind ourselves through a Slack channel called Be Kind. It's an endless feed of joyfulness and hope: from lovely messages from customers to anonymous stories where a colleague has done something really special to help a customer or teammate. I wanted to highlight just a few special stories showcasing some of our wonderful team and lovely customers to share the moments that truly matter.

How Anne brightened up Jack’s 2nd birthday

A customer message reading: Hi Anne, can I just say a massive massive thank you! Your kind gift has made our day! Jack absolutely loves is! You have made my day and shedding happy tears, it's just so thoughtful and so kind! Wish you all the best, lost of happy hugs. Julie and Jack

Every day we speak to customers going through the most difficult of circumstances. There's no one size fits all approach to how we can help. Instead, our talented, compassionate team have the freedom and support to help customers however they think is best. We're so proud of Anne for going above and beyond for Julie, and finding a way to brighten up Jack's birthday too.

Here’s what Anne had to say about it looking back:

I was really really happy to be able to send a gift to Julie, she was so lovely in her emails and when she mentioned it was her son's 2nd birthday I knew the cuddly Octopus would be the perfect gift! I love that we’re given the autonomy to do these little things for customers that help brighten their day!

Fixing the cracks with engineer (and sometimes tiler) Graham!

Graham is one of our super-smart, smart-engineers. He visits customers' homes every day to install smart meters, EV chargers and more. He tells the story of one particularly special job here:

One of our engineers had to remove the box to fit the smart meters, but the top had been glued to the tiles, and as he tried to remove it, some of those tiles cracked. The next day I went back with my colleague Jedd Williams and we replaced the tiles and re-grouted.

grahams team manager shared a message in our #bekind slack channel stating: a big thanks to Graham! Unfortunately, we caused some damage to a customers tiles while changing a meter, as you all know some issues are unavoidable and accidents do happen ever after taking all of the precautons. However, it is how we react to these issues that sets us apart from the rest. Graham was the 1st to help, as usual bearing in mind it wasn't his job, a few trips to Homebase later (and co-op for the Easter eggs) we have a very happ customer. P.S Graham has very reasonable rats for anyone needing some tiling work.

It was coming up to Easter, so we also left some Easter Eggs, and some little fluffy Octopus’ as well! We left with one very happy customer and a really great feeling of job satisfaction!

We strive to transform disconnected, frustrating processes into something reliable, engaging and outrageously good. We set up Octopus Energy Services, our bespoke squad of talented octo-engineers, to maintain the same ridiculously high customer service standards when we’re visiting people’s homes.

You can read more about our awesome engineers on our blog with all-star engineer Zoe, and why not find out exactly what makes our smart meter installations so magical.

Talking through the important bits with Olivia and Amina.

We all want to save money on our bills, but it isn’t always easy knowing how to. That’s why we always make a point to let our customers know exactly what they can do to save money and be energy efficient (have a look at some tips here).

Here, a customer reached out to one of our Ops Members, Olivia to discuss energy saving tips which she was more than happy to provide. The customer then asked for one of our Constantine dolls to be sent out, which we do often as they’re quite adorable and very popular. The customer left this glowing review after his lovely chat with Olivia:

customer review stating: I feel safe with them. Since moving to Octopus 2 years ago, I have enjoyed great prices and customer service. All the staff are always incredibly patient with me, informed and very helpful. One senior member telephones me to see if I needed assistance which I did, on a complicated document she had sent. As an autistic person, this means a tremendous amount. A shout out to Olivia and Amina who recently went above and beyond to help sort a wonky smart meter as well as a matter relating to the blog (and 2 small octopus'). The little things as just as important to them as the big ones. But it's more than just that. They are transparent in their workings and dealings. The CEO, Greg Jackson can often be found on social media advising /clarifying situations and answering customer questions. In these troubled times, they care for not only me, and you by delivering as cheap energy as possible (often at a massive multi-million pound cost to themselves) but also by delivering green and renewable energy for the future. I study the energy markets a lot, and I know no other company as openly proactive as they are. From my own experience, I would not hesistate to recommend the staff and company. I feel save with them an trust the good people there. I truly feel all customers should feel this way about whoever they are with, but know not all do.

I had a quick chat with Olivia, who remembers this exchange fondly:

These are the sorts of conversations I have all day long, and I try to provide this level of care to all the customers I speak to. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, which is why this review means so much. I had done exactly what I do normally, so it was lovely to be acknowledged and thanked for that. When customers reach out in this way to thank us for our every day service, it means we are really making a difference and helping people in a big way.

The customer even sent me adorable photos of his cats which I just loved.

Hodo's month-long battle through energy bureaucracy to help Rowena switch.

The energy industry is totally reliant on a shared database, storing meter information for every home in the country. It’s super common for suppliers to not update it properly leading to fiddly, complex issues when you switch. The only way to fix them? Find a consensus between the database, the old supplier, and a number of other creaky third parties which can easily take months.

Energy specialist Hodo rose to the challenge when Rowena’s switch to Octopus was blocked as her supplier had her incorrect details recorded on the National Database. As a general rule, this is an issue the other supplier has to fix but Hoda decided to go above and beyond to help the customer by correcting her details so she could complete her switch.

Looking back, here is what superstar Hodo had to say:

I had a lot of sympathy for the customer as she was going through a really hard time with multiple energy suppliers. It was a wiggly, complicated process but I was super happy to be able to help the customer.

Unfortunately, just as this process was completed, one of the suppliers informed the customer they had cancelled her entire gas account in error. This started a weeks-long process to get the issue resolved, but thankfully the customer is now a very happy member of the Octopus family!

A customer review saying: Dead Hodo. Thank you for your email. Finally, everything with British Gas has been resolved. What a great relief!! Thanks for all your hard work. I never doubted your expertise in bringing this nightmare to a satisfactory conclusion. You even saved me money. You are worth your weight in 22 carat gold! All the very best.

Her review was really touching as I could tell it came from the heart, and she truly meant it. She was so lovely and patient throughout, and I was thrilled when she was finally able to join us!

Having the difficult conversations.

With the energy crisis and rising prices across the UK, we know many people are experiencing financial difficulties. When this happens, we want people to know we are always there to lend a helping hand.

In this case, a customer reached out to Larisa, clearly in distress as she was experiencing some financial difficulties. Larisa quickly made it clear to her that we would be more than happy to put together a debt plan that works for her, and that we were there to support her (if you are experiencing financial difficulties, please do reach out to us).

customer review stating: Thank you. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for a member of your team's kindness and thoughfulness. I recently spoke to one of your colleagues about my usage, billing and financial situations. I explained not only would the usage now change but also my finances had dramatically altered. In fact, my whole life situation had been changed. She was incredibly kind, patient, professional and helpful. I couldn't have asked for better support. On Friday th most stunning bouquet of flowers and chocolates arrived with a wonderful note from the team at Octopus. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement! I've been telling everyone about this amazingly fantastic, generous gesture - I cant express how much it has meant to me. Before being a carer I worked in customer service for many years myself and I can honestly say the octopus team are really the best I have ever had dealings with. You are very much appreciated & should be really proud of yourselves. Thank you!

This is what Larisa had to say about the moving exchange:

I could honestly cry right now, just thinking about it. The customer was really unhappy at the beginning of the call, and I am really happy I was able to turn it around and make sure she was happy by the end of the call. I answered all her questions and added some credit to her account to help out, as it's important to provide useful, practical support.

We spoke for a long time about family and it was a really beautiful, emotional conversation. As she had gone through some difficult personal things, I decided to send her some flowers to cheer her up. I included a card reminding her that we are there for her, and to stay strong. I was incredibly touched when I read her review - it honestly made my day.

Armin and Jack support a customer through a medical emergency.

Here, one of our wonderful operations team members got a call from a customer who was clearly unwell. The customer asked for an ambulance, and our team quickly mobilised, with one team member keeping the customer on the phone and another calling an ambulance to his address. It was all quite worrying, but thankfully the customer was fine and well, and support arrived quickly!

A picture of a message sent by a team member saying: A massive shoutout to armin and jack today handling a customer who from the start of the call was slurring his speech and requesting an ambulance. Between armin staying on with the customer and Jack calling the ambulance the customer 30 mins later started to chat more coherently and was happy and appreciate of the support given!

These stories aren't the exception. They're the rule: just a handful of examples to show you the truly amazing stuff that happens thousands of times every day.

Looking out for customers is so much more than the occasional big gesture, or emergency service. Whilst that is also super important to us, we want customers to know they can expect a great service every conversation with us.

So on top of all the really special stuff, here are the kind of things we do every day:

customer review stating: 5* review. I am a new customer to Octopus, having only been with you a few months. I recently received a horrendously high gas bill which sent me into a complete melt down as I couldn't understand it. After several contacts with customer services, which were a bit fruitless to be honest, I happened to speak to a young guy named Mohammed. Im emailing you to sing his praises! I was literally hyperventilating, thinking 'no one is understanding me' and this guy immediately saw the problem! He was so reassuring to me, spoke very kindly and made sure I was okay. He was very knowledgeable and articulate and talked me, step by step, through what was going on. Constantly checking I was okay and understood what was going on. He really is an exemplary employee and I'm so thankful that he was the one that answered the phone call. I wanted to contact you, to praise him to you as he turned a few stressful days into a calm and happy weekend. I believe he is just the sort of person that makes a huge difference in customer care and I can't thank him enough. If you have such a thing as employee of the month, he certainly gets my vote!

We find that it isn’t just our constantine toys that bring smiles - sometimes it takes crayons and a colouring book when meter appointments coincide with a particularly hectic day. As a part of our innovative Octo-kids initiative, these colouring books help kids understand green energy through playful illustrations.

customer review saying: I had a smart meter fitted today at my home. My mum was at the property with my toddler as I had my covid jab. I would like to pass on my thanks for the job they did and also to highlight how kind and respectful they were. I understand that Arron came back to my home shortly after leaving to pass on some crayons and a colouring book to my son. This was such a thoughtful gesture, particularly as my son had been stuck in all day. I do hope my comments can be passed on to them and their line managers. Times are challenging and a little kindness goes a long way and really makes all the difference. Thank you.

Homes going off supply and other emergencies are rare, but we understand how stressful they are when they happen. That’s why our emergency teams and engineers work round the clock (weekends and late nights included) to ensure that your home stays warm and well-lit. On average, all queries sent to our emergency@octopus.energy email get picked up within an average of 45 - 90 seconds - so you’re not left in the dark about getting back on supply.

Here is a wonderful email from a customer and brand-new mom, who our engineers helped get back on supply.

customer review saying: Hello, I was wondering if it would be at all possible to be able to speak with Ammara personally so I can thank her not only for the flowers she sent me but for her amazing help and dealing with our no electricity issue so brilliantly Monday morning, whilst I was in labour. We welcomed a little girl named Hattie to the world early on Tuesday after a very long day. I would love to be able to thank her personally.
customer trustpilot review stating: Well done Miss Olivia R who handled my query very well and explained in details the contents of my statements, debit balance and payments taken by Octopus. The balance from Engie was also discussed and accepted by me. She should be promoted to a better position with responsibility and train staff on dealing with customer issues and complaints. Well done to Olivia! More power to her and wish her will with Octopus Energy. She is one in a million!

Fun Fact: Olivia got this review from a customer when she was 2 months into the job, and now she actually does train other Ops members!get in touch

It isn’t just about the occasional big gestures; it’s about being there to listen and help, day in and day out.

We'll always be here to do that. Of course, we don't get it right 100% of the time – we're humans so can't be perfect. If we've ever got it wrong for you, get in touch and we'll work tirelessly to help make it right.

Published on 1st August 2022 by:

image of Samsam Farah

Samsam Farah

Writer

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!

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