Customer Experience Awards 2022 – Judging the UK’s Best Customer Service Award
October 2022 saw the 13th Annual UK Customer Experience Awards take place – and the first to be held in person following on from Covid-19. The fact that so many CX professionals were able to take part and celebrate success made this even more special this year.
The awards centre around all aspects of customer experience and this objective remains the same – to celebrate Customer Experience in the UK. The initial written entries were submitted for judges to review, and then final presentations and a Q&A session were held on the day.
Rob Dermott, Director of psd’s Customer Contact Practice, judged for his 8th time and was glad to see that normality had returned. Here he shares how the day was and celebrates the success of the winners in the ‘Best Customer Service’ Category.
This was my 8th time judging for the event and my third as a Chair of Judges. This year thankfully the event returned to the home of the CX Awards – Wembley Stadium in London which certainly beats judging and presenting via Zoom. It’s a full day event, with close to 800 people taking part in their respective categories or judging. The event is real opportunity to network, present and share best practice in what might now seem the old-fashioned way – face to face!
I was joined on the judging panel by Gemma Colby, Head of Customer Experience at Yell – who was also the UKCXA CX Leader of the Year in 2021 and Luke Bishop, Head of CX at Katkin, who together judged the ‘Best Customer Service’ category.
This was one of the most hotly contested categories on the day and those presenting included Swish Fibre, BT, Department for Education with Teleperformance, SGN, Octopus Energy and Solus Accident Repair Centres. This category was focused on organisations that provide exceptional assistance for customers across all touchpoints and celebrates those that serve their customers the best. There were some excellent presentations demonstrating the best of Customer Service in the Industry.
The winners on the night were Octopus Energy followed by BT and SGN.
Speaking to Gemma Colby:
The standards of entries at the UKCXA22 were extremely high, what was it that Octopus Energy demonstrated to scoop the top accolade?
“It was a pleasure to participate as a judge in the ‘Best Customer Service’ category at this year’s UK CX Awards. I walked away inspired by all the finalists who showed how they were translating their ultimate company purpose to something very tangible for their frontline teams and showing up for customers in a great way. Octopus energy showed great passion and some incredible results, they are well deserving winners. A huge well done to Brooke, James and the Octopus team.”
Rob Dermott caught up with Brooke Owen – Ellam, Energy Specialist and James Doyle – Head of Operations at Octopus Energy who were part of the team who presented on the day to find out more about how they did it…
Why did Octopus Energy enter the UK CX Awards 22?
“Customers are truly at the heart of everything we do. Octopus Energy launched to help build a better cleaner energy future for customers across the world by leveraging the power of technology. Since day one, we’ve fought for fair energy pricing for ALL, and today we’re continuing to push for significant reform to get the UK out of the energy crisis, to end reliance on fossil fuels in energy, and create a future where our energy production starts from home. We promise honesty and transparency around everything we do, paired with our ‘healthy’ obsession for our customers meant that getting the opportunity to share our story of what we do to look after real people every single day and learn from others who share the same passion was incredibly meaningful to us. The CX Awards gave us the opportunity to do so!”
You entered the Best Customer Service Category and came first. Congratulations! What did the business do to ensure you provided extraordinary Customer Service?
“Thank you! To achieve our goals, we have adopted an agile approach, keeping our customers at the heart of the solution. As a company we have focused on learning and improving! We have listened to our customers’ needs and the team’s feedback and have unlocked practical solutions which have really made a difference. The way we have done this is by developing resources and tools and investing in technology ahead of time to improve customer experience and by supporting our team members on the front line. Taking the most recent meter reading day as an example – we increased the capacity of our website so customers could self-serve and enter the readings themselves and we put a huge focus on clear communication to our customers. Our aim is to de-jargonise the Industry and this is a cross team effort to deliver!”
What part of your Customer Service delivery are you most proud of and why?
“Our unprecedented crisis support has to be the part we are most proud of. We’re proud to be supporting ALL our customers and providing specific help to the hardest hit. When the crisis landed, we promised extra financial help, to hold down prices and to put customers in control of their bills and save money over winter. We’ve achieved all of this and more! We have a £15m OctoAssist Hardship fund which 100,000 have benefitted from to date. 7,000 energy-efficient electric blankets have been donated to our most vulnerable, 3,500 thermal cameras lent out for free to spot and act on heat loss and 500,000 in-home consultations planned from our Energy Experts to help vulnerable customers to reduce their bills. £200m+ has been shouldered and advertising spend has been frozen meaning we have been able to lower standing charges by 4% and enabled 100,000 customers to get standing charges cuts for up to 6 months from October 1st. The level of support we have been able to provide during such a difficult time for households is something we are extremely proud of and something we will continue to strive to do more in.”
How are you going to keep up the great work within Customer Service moving forward?
“We are going to continue to invest in our people and technology and aim to do even better. Successful customer service comes from our Energy Specialists having a real passion for people. We will continue to provide our teams with the skills and knowledge they need to feel empowered to go above and beyond for our customers. As part of our mission, we are building a greener energy system for all in the race to net zero. This will enable our customers to move to greener choices and provide incredible cost savings. One of our recent innovations is affordable green heating. We are developing heat pumps to match or go below the cost of a gas boiler and we are making it super easy for our customers to explore ditching gas for good via our online portal. We are providing cheaper local wind power through our Octopus Fan Club and are making the move to electric vehicles more affordable through our unique salary sacrifice scheme. These innovations are something that we will continue to invest in to move towards a greener future, make energy more affordable for our customers and ensure customers are at the heart of everything we do.”
Octopus Energy really demonstrated that Customer Service is at the heart of everything they do and to be a winner they must put customers at the core of this. Their entry really demonstrated outstanding Customer Service and that is why they were the ultimate category winner. Well done Octopus Energy!
The awards are an outstanding opportunity to celebrate Customer Experience – and this was just one award winner amongst many on the day. As with all who take part, delivering outstanding customer service / experience throughout the year is core to how these businesses operate, retain customers and deliver great customer outcomes. Well done to all who took part in every category and good luck for the year ahead.
For more information about the UK Customer Experience Awards 2022 and winners:
For more information about Octopus Energy and awards they have won:
For more information regarding psd Customer Contact:
Rob is Director of psd’s Customer Contact & CX practice, specialising in senior positions across FM & Support Services, Consulting, Healthcare, BPO, Utilities and Affordable Housing organisations.