Yorkshire based A Shade Greener identified that customer support was going to be a key factor when they were the first company to start offering free solar panels to the public.
Director, Stewart Davies noted:
"We knew that as a relatively unknown product in the UK there was going to be a need for a dedicated customer service team for customer contact. Solar in general was still an unknown entity when we first started back in 2009 and there would be a need for ongoing solar awareness programme to explain to the public what solar photovoltaics is, and how it can help homeowners to reduce their bills and do their bit for the environment at the same time."
The call for greater customer support comes after a recent investigation by A Shade Greener to identify any weak points in its current level of support.
Sarah Dyson, head of customer relations at http://ashadegreener.co.uk/
"Even though we had improved our response time for 98% of internet enquiries to within 48 hours we were getting a number of enquiries from customers asking why they had not been contacted at all. We deal with thousands of applications every week and wanted to ensure that every one of the people who had taken the time to contact us got a timely response. Despite investing in our Customer Relations infrastructure, and putting measures in place that we thought would ensure people didn’t slip through the net, we were surprised to find that there was still a growing number of emails and calls from members of the public who were asking why they hadn't been contacted. Our investigations finally revealed that the majority of those customers had actually tried to contact other companies in the same industry, not A Shade Greener, and they were either chasing us in error or sometimes contacting us in desperation."
A Shade Greener is calling on all free solar providers to adopt a simple code of conduct for customer contact.
1. Having a dedicated team for customer contact.
2. Endeavouring to work to a guaranteed maximum turnaround time for enquiries.
3. Providing multiple avenues of contact such as through Facebook, where customers can ask questions and provide feedback, and ensure that the same is monitored 7 days a week.
4. Educating the public about solar and how free solar works by having more FAQs and information pages on their websites.
Sarah added http://ashadegreener.co.uk/
"We are also aware of the need to make customers aware that not every home is suitable for free solar. In the free solar industry, criteria for suitability are entirely dictated by our lenders. We have to ensure that an installation will generate sufficient income with which to repay our lenders. Hence, we cannot install ‘bespoke’ systems. We have to install standard arrays that we know will generate sufficient income, because they are tried and tested. Shading is the worst enemy and it can come from the least obvious obstacle. From the public’s perspective it is often difficult to see why some homes can have free solar and others cannot. We would like to see all companies that offer free solar giving a clear explanation to those members of the public whose properties are simply not suitable."