SSE will offer flexible customer services and improve complaints handling in a bid to attain a gold standard for customer service practices.

The energy supplier is aiming to become the first to meet the criteria of the British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision.

The company has committed to put in place flexible customer services that are designed, marketed and available to all customers, including those experiencing some form of vulnerability by 2018.

The British Standards Institute (BSI) standard recognises that no two customers are the same and some need more support than others. SSE will be able to identify when customers may need extra help and respond with a solution which matches their individual needs.

SSE group managing director of retail Will Morris said: “Some of our customers require more help or a different service and putting in place the improvements to achieve BSI accreditation will help us accomplish this.

“We’re committed to listening to what our customers want and improving our service based on what they tell us through initiatives like our Customer Forums. We never forget that energy is an essential service and it’s our responsibility to make sure we are looking after our customers and recognising that anyone can be vulnerable at different points in time.”

Over the next 12 months, SSE will increase its customer service advisers, make it easier for customers to get in touch, provide more support and advice to customers falling into debt and work with customers to test and rate its service with mystery shopping.

Small business, consumers and corporate responsibility minister Margot James said: “Every consumer deserves to be treated fairly, and energy suppliers should provide a quality, personalised service to all their customers.

“But it is good to see that SSE is leading the way and improving its service to consumers who need extra support.”

The move to achieve the British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision will require a number of phased improvements to SSE’s processes, starting with key areas including complaints, debt management and sales.

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