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Commercial Policy and Customer Care

Commercial Policy and Customer Care

As far as accessibility of channels is concerned, in spite of the constant increase in flows, the level of performance confirms the overall trend of improvement for branches where the effectiveness of the actions implemented for improving processes has led to a considerable improvement in quality.

  • family call centres: 92.6% of calls answered, compared with 94.1% for the first half of 2010, with an average queue time (AQT*) of 94.6 seconds, compared with 72.6 seconds for the first half of 2010.
  • company call centres: 93.3% of calls answered, compared with 95% for the first half of 2010, with an average queue time (AQT*) increasing from 51 seconds for the first half of 2010 to 71.4 seconds due to more customers using interactive voice response systems;

If the increase in average waiting times is attributable to an increased number of calls on both toll free numbers (40,000 additional calls in the half-year), it should be noted that 23,000 additional calls were answered in the half-year period compared with 2010. The opening hours of the family call centre were extended from 18.00 to 20.00, Monday to Friday, to improve accessibility and customer service.

  • family branches: average waiting times were reduced further to 11.59 minutes, compared with 16 minutes for June 2010, in spite of the 7% increase in flows;
  • company branches: average waiting times for companies were almost halved compared with June 2010, decreasing from 6.35 minutes to 3.45 minutes.

The results achieved are the result of continuous improvement activities focusing along two lines: organisational management aimed at optimising the organisation of activities and processes at several major branches, plus the optimisation of management, including flow-prediction management; the other, educational, aspect is aimed at the continuous development of people and is also supported by an improvement in work methods thanks to new knowledge-management instruments.

The above indicators also showed signs of improvement as perceived by customers contacting the call centre and branches. The satisfaction of customers contacting the family call centres and branches, measured on a monthly basis during the year, also showed an improvement compared with the excellent results achieved previously, confirming the excellent scores for company call centres in 2010, specifically:

  • family call centres: from an average of 73 for the first half of 2010 to 76 for the first half of 2011 (score on a scale from 1 to 100)
  • company call centres: an average score at June 2011 of 69 for the first half of the year already reached in the first half of 2010
  • branches: went from 74 for the first half of 2010 to 77 for the first half of 2011

The client base in the regulated water market shows a slight increase compared with June 2010, confirming the inertial growth for this service. The EHT (Environmental Hygiene Tariff) increase was higher than the inertial growth rate (+3.78%) following the shift to the EHT of several municipalities in the reference area. The number of consumers supplied for the liberalised electricity market confirms significant growth (+28.87%) due to both the continuous development of commercial activities and the acquisition of new customers following the awarding of the Service Protection contract in the regions of Tuscany, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Puglia and Lombardy. The number of supply points served in the gas market, on the other hand, fell slightly as a result of the effect of the competition that counterbalances the free-market acquisitions in the areas of commercial expansion.

29/06/200729/06/2006Change in supply points (no.)Change in supply points (%)

Figures expressed in thousands

Volumes of electricity and gas supplied in the first half of 2011 can be summarised as follows:

  • Electricity (Hera Comm & Hera Comm Mediterranea): went from 3,784 GWh in the first half of 2010 to 5,191 GWh in the first half of 2011, an increase of 37.18%, which reflects the dynamics of the customer-base development.
  • Gas (Hera Comm & Hera Comm Marche): went from 1,312 million m3 in the first half of 2010 to 1,186 million m3 in the first half of 2011, a fall of 9.60% due mainly to the milder winter compared with the first months of 2010, affecting industrial customers, business customers and small businesses combined.

In line with Group policies, Hera is continuing to encourage its customers to receive electronic bills and to register and use the Her@ ON-LINE channel. Confirming satisfaction with this service, the number of customers registered with Her@ ON-LINE increased by 34%, going from just under 85,000 in June 2010 to 114,000 in June 2011, a customer-base penetration of 7%. Customers who opted for electronic bills increased by 51%, going from approximately 18,000 in June 2010 to over 27,000 in June 2011, a customer-base penetration of 2.1%.


* AQT: In line with AEEG regulations, AQT measures the average time between the beginning of the call until the operator answers or the customer rings off, for calls in which the customer chooses to speak with the operator.


Group Invoicing and Collection System

Through its shared systems, Hera issued more than 17 million bills in 2010, following the multiservice strategy which allows our customers to simplify the administrative part and reduce payment costs. Requests have continuously increased for electronic sending of bills, implemented in the second half of 2008, with +99% of customers requesting activation of the service, which increased from 11,800 at the end of 2009 to approximately 24,000 customers in December 2010. This corresponds to approximately 31,700 bills which, for each invoice, are sent via email thereby causing less environmental impact and savings of 5.7 metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere and the absorption capacity of 760 trees, that is 380 more trees in a year.

The large range of payment methods available to Hera customers for bill payments (RID (direct debits) , banks, post offices, Sisal and Lottomatica betting shops, online using a credit card, and Coop Adriatica, Reno and Estense stores) has been very appreciated by customers who in 2010 expressed increased satisfaction through the Customer Satisfaction survey.

There was an increase in usage of the new method for customers to communicate self-readings of meters through SMS, available since 2007, in addition to existing telephone and internet communication, confirming its growth. The satisfaction of customers with this service is high.

Management channels

In 2010 the Hera Group continued its policy of strengthening customer contact channels, with the goal of making it increasingly simple and fast to contact Hera. The Group has 5 separate contact channels:

  1. family call centres
  2. company call centres
  3. branches
  4. web
  5. mail
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