with quality standards set by the
Authority for 4 services
average waiting time at branches
and chance to reserve an
appointment with an operator
thousand analyses
Group drinking water, 1,100 per day, of which 63% on the supply network

The call centre

The increase of informative and commercial contacts confirms our customers’ appreciation for this channel, which they use to resolve their needs practically and effectively. The growing number of customers that call the call centre from a mobile phone testifies to the success of the company’s decision in 2016 to make this method free of charge.

The direct debit and electronic billing campaigns in 2017 were successful, as shown by the high number of customers that chose these options.

At the end of the year, a special toll-free number was set up for the “quantity-based tariff” for waste management services, which gives residents in the affected municipalities a dedicated information service. The number will remain active to support the launch of this service in the municipalities that gradually switch to this charging method.

In 2017, the structure of the interactive voice service dedicated to the residential market was significantly simplified to improve the experience of customers who access it.

Call center quality
2015 2016 2017
Average waiting time at the call centre for residential customers (s) 38 40 34
Calls with satisfactory outcomes for residential customers (%) 94.7% 94.0% 95.7%
Number of residential customer contacts at the call centre (thousands) 2,311 2,732 3,082
Average waiting time at the call centre for business customers (s) 26 36 38
Calls with satisfactory outcomes for business customers (%) 96.3% 94.8% 94.7%
Number of business customer contacts at the call centre (thousands) 370 375 393

The average waiting time, based on a telephone call by a customer that wishes to speak to an operator, is the time between the moment a request is made to talk with an operator and the beginning of the conversation. It does not take into account the initial information provided by the automatic answering system. The data refer to the call centres of Hera Comm, AcegasApsAmga, EstEnergy and Marche Multiservizi.

The technical indicators of the residential market call centre improved in 2017 despite the 13% increase in calls handled compared to 2016.  The service level reached 95.7% for residential customers, improving compared to 2016 by almost two points, while the average waiting time confirms the positive trend that has fallen to 35 seconds.

The service level provided by the business call centre was in line with the previous year, despite a 5% increase in the number of calls handled.

Another important result for Hera Comm is the ratio between the number of calls handled and the customers served, which is among the lowest in the industry, as published in Arera’s annual report on the quality of telephone services. The overall values achieved by Hera Comm for the technical indicators of the call centres have largely improved compared to the levels required by Arera.

In 2017, important releases were made to the Customer Relationship Manager to support operators both in managing commercial activities and in all management activities requested by customers through the call centre channel. Another important and innovative action concerns the sale of value-added services to customers (as indicated in the section on commercial policies), thus laying the foundations for the new commercial objective that will consolidate in 2018 by offering innovative products aimed primarily at saving energy and optimizing consumption.

An important communication project involved all call centre operators in a training course to guide operators to use a new language. The project aims to improve the customer experience of our customers by incorporating the suggestions they provided during the workshops held last year.

In 2017, a great deal of effort was put into caring, feedback and prevention of critical situations, ensuring proactive support for customers facing potentially complex situations.

The business call centre continued to innovate its service offering for business customers. Innovations in the ways critical cases are handled have improved problem solving, prevented many complaints and improved customer relations.

As regards Hera Group’s commercial call centre, calls are handled both by internal staff and by the staff of specialised Italian companies who have their operations located exclusively in Italy and in particular in Bologna, Padua and Venice.

The trade promotion activity is carried out by Italian-based and Italian-owned sales agencies, that rely on operating units both in Italy (predominantly) and abroad. Their staff is employed directly by these sales organizations, who have signed with Hera Comm a standard agency mandate.

Also, considering management of the emergency service call centre for gas, water and district heating, which is always active in the event of failures and emergencies and manned by dedicated staff inside the company and located at Forlì, during 2017, over 90% of the calls was handled from Italy.