Hera Comm’s commercial strategy for the sale of energy services to small and medium customers (households and companies) relies on commercial partners that operate across various sales channels.
In 2018, Hera Comm confirmed its fundamental guidelines, i.e.:
- the selection of agencies according to the principles and methods defined in the Group’s quality system;
- having all partners sign the agency mandate, which includes the Group’s Code of Ethics;
- specific training provided to agency managers and to their agents by Hera Comm staff;
- identification of door-to-door agents who must show their identity card to customers they visit;
- periodical mentoring at final customer premises by Hera Comm staff in order to assess the conduct of the sales network;
- final customer surveys to monitor the quality of the sales network’s operations.
In addition, the monitoring of sales activities was also extended to branch offices and inbound call centres.
The extension of the commercial network continues as in 2017 and led to opening new points in Livorno, Prato and Piacenza. The commitment to remain close to customers is manifested not only by opening new stores but also by periodically checking the adequacy of the existing ones, in terms of location and size, in order to optimize the presence and coverage of the area in line with the growth in the number of customers and services offered.
At the end of 2018, the sales channel dedicated to small business customers had more than 120 business agents, active in 9 regions of Italy, with specialist training in energy markets and related offers.
The proximity to our customers and their protection remain the fundamental principles of Hera Comm’s sales activity. In addition to measures to care for unwanted activations and contracts, as required by ARERA’s resolution 153/2012/R/com as amended, Hera Group has added other safeguards to those already required by ARERA:
- sending a welcome letter to residential and non-residential gas customers also for contracts concluded in Hera Comm’s offices;
- making withdrawal easier, by requiring an email, a normal letter or a fax (not just by registered letter).
For Hera, it is fundamental to acquire the customer’s consent clearly, responsibly and unequivocally. To do so we have added even more specific quality controls, in line with what is required by the Consumer Code:
- for contracts offered by phone, a second call must be made to check that the customer has received the contract and actually wants to accept it, and to monitor, at the same time, the quality of the sale effort carried out by our teleselling channel. In addition, the customer can retrieve the telephone recording of their conversation via the web portal or automated phone system;
- for contracts proposed following a visit to the customer’s home, besides the welcome letter that is sent to them, a phone call is made that assesses the quality of the sales channel and gives the customer a chance to exercise their right to change their mind.
The continuous improvement of sales processes, together with the constant monitoring of sales channels, led to significant results in 2018 in terms of complaints for unsolicited contracts. The number of complaints fell by 50% to 47 contracts, compared with over 310,000 contracts concluded outside business premises. All complaints for unsolicited contracts were accepted and 100% of the cases were subject to recovery measures.