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Customers driving major change at Origin

The nation’s largest energy retailer Origin has responded to customer feedback and announced a number of changes to the way it does business.

A recent survey conducted by Galaxy Research shows consumers want more from their energy providers, with 83 per cent of Australian bill payers feeling that the energy and utility sector is not offering good customer service – falling behind many other industries including the banks, airlines, health and fitness and pharmaceutical companies.

“The message from customers is loud and clear,” said Rebekah O’Flaherty, General Manager of Retail Sales and Marketing at Origin. “They expect more from their energy company.”

“We’ve listened, and more importantly, we’re committed to making changes. We’re changing the way we go about our business to reflect what customers want and this is just the start,” Ms O’Flaherty says.

Origin has announced several initiatives designed to better service the needs of customers including:

  • Getting rid of exit fees from all residential plans (commencing 31 March
  • Extending call centre hours to 7am – 9pm, Monday – Friday (commencing 5 May)
  • Opening a series of Customer Service Hubs and a dedicated webpage to listen to customer feedback originenergy.com.au/change
  • An end to all door knocking and cold calling by Origin to households (commenced 2013)
  • More flexible payment options which allow customers to pay their bills in weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments

The Galaxy Research shows that nine out of 10 Australian bill payers find many things about energy retailers annoying. The most annoying activities were identified as door-to-door sales (65 per cent), cold sales calls (59 per cent) and exit fees (53 per cent) – all of which Origin has now ended.

“The research shows that almost half of bill payers believe there are poor choices available to them for what is an essential service. We want to change that,” Ms O’Flaherty says.

Other survey results show that the majority of bill payers (88 per cent) have some frustration when dealing with electricity retailers. The leading causes of those frustrations include unnecessary fees and charges (61 per cent), hidden fees and charges (55 per cent), and lengthy on hold time (53 per cent)

About the research

The research was conducted by Galaxy Research and completed on 5 March, sampling 1,037 bill payers, throughout Australia, including both capital city and non-capital city residents.