Business Value Driver
Effective and trusted relationships with residential, small and large business, and wholesale customers.
With more than 3.95 million total services to customers, our customers are one of our most important assets. We finished FY20 with a net promoter score of +2.3, the highest that AGL has ever achieved, demonstrating our significant investment in improving our customers' experience.
As demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, drought and the 2019/20 bushfire season, any customer can experience a period of unexpected vulnerability. As an essential services provider it is critical that we support customers through difficult times by implementing measures that go above and beyond our regulatory obligations. Measures to support customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are outlined in the COVID-19 Response section. Additionally, we supported customers through the bushfires by providing energy bill credits for AGL customers who were front-line volunteers, while Southern Phone Company waived all January bills for bushfire-affected customers as well as for volunteer firefighters and SES across the country.
In addition, AGL's online Here to Help tool helps customers by providing tailored financial assistance options, identifying relevant concessions and grants that they are entitled to, providing tips to help them manage their account and energy usage, and linking them to other support that can help them get back on their feet.
We also relaunched our Farmers and Business Assist program in FY20 in recognition that rural communities and businesses are facing particularly challenging circumstances with ongoing unpredictable weather and events. This program assists eligible rural small businesses from drought-affected regions through measures such as debt relief and financial assistance on the installation of solar panels.
Since FY19, our focus has been on building customer loyalty with affordability initiatives such as our Safety Net for standing offer customers. In FY20 this commitment continued, with our decision to proactively reduce price for 90,000 customer services to equal or be less than the 2019 Victorian Default Offer rate, post any existing benefits being applied.
FY20 has also seen AGL achieve strong growth in customer numbers despite a reduction in the pool of available customers seeking to switch, as market churn rates have fallen. Over the past two consecutive years we’ve increased by over 140,000 services, 78,000 in the last 12 months. This is against a backdrop of both fierce competition and regulated price changes. Our Customer First Program has resulted in a large drop in customer complaint volumes due to the implementation of system, process and people changes to address customer pain points. By understanding and fixing customer pain points we have significantly improved the customer experience.
More customer accounts have moved online in FY20, as we continue to make it simpler and easier to access account information and interact when and where it suits. As customers become more connected and empowered, they demand more flexibility and control. We continue to develop products and services for the connected customer that empower choice and deliver value by helping them manage their energy use. For example, we have had good customer uptake of our Peak Rewards demand response programs in Victoria and New South Wales, under which customers are able to receive financial benefits for reducing their consumption during peak demand events. Over 20,000 customers signed up to this program in New South Wales and customers participated in six peak events. The first Victorian peak event was also very successful and led to a demand reduction of 4.5 MW.
Two years into our commitment to the Energy Charter, putting customers at the centre of our decision-making, along with bringing the voice of the customer into all aspects of our business, continues to be a strong focus. We also continue our support for vulnerable customers through our Staying Connected program, affordability initiatives and energy literacy programs. Our senior leaders have their remuneration tied to customer advocacy.
3.95 mTotal services to customers
28%Australian households served
+2.3Net promoter score
Historical data on various customer indicators from FY16-FY20 (including energy volumes sold, and consumer and business markets by state and fuel type) is available at 2020datacentre.agl.com.au.
The Energy Charter, to which AGL is a signatory, is available at energycharterpanel.com.au.
Building trusted customer relationships
AGL's NPS has improved significantly over FY20 and for the first time since the survey commenced in 2008, AGL recorded a positive NPS result, an improvement of 13.4 points from FY19. While this reflects an improvement of sentiment toward the energy industry more broadly, AGL has received a positive response to our support for customers during COVID-19.
Ombudsman complaints have reduced by 31% compared to FY19. This decrease in complaints reflects the structural improvements that have been made to improve the customer experience. Frontline staff have been provided with the tools and information they need to resolve customer queries quickly, particularly in relation to billing issues, and are empowered to deal with complaints themselves rather than redirecting customers to other areas in AGL's business.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
FY21: Targeting continued positive trend in NPS
FY21: ≤ 7,731
AGL’s commitment to going above and beyond our regulatory obligations is demonstrated by our extensive energy literacy and affordability programs and the help we provide to get concessions to the right people. For example, during FY20 we have been working with customers in Queensland to complete rebate application forms, making the application process easy for the customer and ensuring they receive the appropriate government assistance.
Staying Connected customer numbers have decreased in FY20. There was a reduction in customers entering the program due to an improved uptake of alternative medium-term payment solutions that allow customers to manage their consumption and arrears over a longer term, as well as an increase in customers successfully completing the program as a result of overall program enhancements. Additionally, we have seen a preference for customers to access the COVID-19 Customer Support Program over Staying Connected. The average debt across both Staying Connected customers and the mass market portfolio has also decreased, despite AGL having over $38 million of debt registered under our COVID-19 Customer Support Program. Refer to the COVID-19 Response page for more details.
Number of customers on Staying Connected
Average level of debt of customers on Staying Connected
Total average debt across mass market customer portfolio
- 1 During FY19 AGL updated the methodology used to calculate total average debt across mass market customer portfolio to incorporate all AGL customers rather than just those with debt.
Growth in customer numbers through innovative products and services
AGL has enjoyed strong customer growth in a challenging market with reductions in market churn, particularly in the second half of FY20, reducing the pool of available customers seeking to change energy providers. Customer energy services increased by over 78,000 compared to FY19. Our total services to customers increased by over 246,000 to 3.95 million, with the acquisition of Southern Phone Company in December 2019 adding over 167,000 broadband and phone services to our portfolio.
Total services to customers
FY24: 4.5 m services to customers
Improving trend and/or satisfactory outcome
KPI linked to FY20 remuneration outcomes for CEO and Key Management Personnel (page STI approach and outcomes )
The uncertain economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to result in new cohorts of customers needing assistance for the first time, making affordability and customer vulnerability essential focus areas. Difficult times provide the opportunity to earn customers’ trust by providing the support they need to keep the lights on. A large, healthy and engaged customer base is essential for future growth as we become a modern, multi-product retailer offering choice and value. By building trust and improving the customer experience in FY21, we will reinforce a strong platform from which we can deepen our customer relationships into adjacent markets such as telecommunications and smart home orchestration. We also plan to further develop our digital capabilities, with plans to roll out our Peak Rewards program across all States throughout FY21.