FilterCumbernauld, Scotland (UK)
I have been working at SSE (More than a year)
Good starting salary with the opportunity for a pay rise each year
Opportunities to move up the business
Fairly flexible with shift changes to fit around your life as long as they are reasonable
If you're struggling with something they support you in trying to resolve this
Sometimes management can be too concerned with stats
The length of time you can wait calling through to other departments for the customer
I've never had to phone in sick but I've heard from colleagues that they will try to convince you to come in to work anyway even if you're being sick etc.
Advice to Management
Make sure you're available for you team on shift to ask questions
Apart from that no real advice as they seem to do a good job overall
I have been working at SSE part-time
Good pay for a part time job. Extensive training and you're eased into the job in a "grad bay" environment. Free parking if you can find a space. You're given your own headset to take home so you're not left searching for one before you start. Free stationary. The ability to actually make a difference to people's lives and financial worries if you really put in the effort.
Targets are almost impossible to achieve.
Targeted call time is less than 640 seconds but no lower than 560, leaving just over a minute for error. Call structure is made unnecessarily long and convoluted however you are expected to whizz through calls ticking all the boxes to avoid pressure over stats and low quality scores.
In general enquiries, you are for some reason expected to pitch 2-3 product sales on every single call, regardless of what the call is regarding. If a customer calls to raise a complaint, to be transferred to another department or even advise they cannot afford to pay their bills, you must attempt to sell them products or you are pulled up. If you are a compassionate person you will struggle with this job. You are targeted on sales "leads". If you get one, you're waiting at the very least 5 minutes to get through to sales for them to put it through for you.
Anything that will actually save the customer money is made as difficult as possible. Tariff changes in particular seem to be impossible to arrange over the phone. If the customer is unable to change tariff online (so, elderly and otherwise vulnerable customers) the tariff change department will keep you on hold for ages and even then will often refuse to take the call and insist you complete a lengthy form for a call back because they are " too busy". You are expected to complete this form, a standard note detailing the tariff the customer wants to go on, take meter readings, calculate an annual forecast and set up a direct debit for them before they will even consider calling the customer back. The callbacks have a backlog of about 3 weeks currently. This understandably creates a lot of customer complaints which the general enquiries agent must take responsibility for.
Some departments will refuse to deal with customers directly and make you go backwards and forwards with the customer on hold. This is terrible customer service. Other departments will even refuse to deal with you directly, and insist you send them a form requesting their assistance. It will then take them ages to get back to you and they will often reject your request over something petty (for example, I had a request rejected a week after it was submitted because I stated that the customer's meter was "about 2-3 feet off the ground" and I was given feedback that I needed to tell them if it was 2 or 3 feet.. Absolutely appalling.)
Things that common sense tells you is bad customer service are insisted upon. For example, it is for some reason absolutely imperative to ask the customer what their name is before asking how you can help them. I have been pulled up for this. This often winds customers up especially if they have had to wait in a long queue.
If a customer mentions the wait time, you absolutely have to open a complaint, advise them that you have opened a complaint and that you will do your best to resolve this complaint before the end of the call. Most customers will then inform you that they are not raising a complaint and you have to explain that this is company policy as they have shown dissatisfaction. This often starts interactions negatively and afects raport on the call. It also eats into your call time and means that the customers already waiting are queuing even longer. An apology should suffice in this instance since almost every customer will mention how busy we are or their hold time.
Before you access their account you must inform the customer that you understand their query and that additionally you will " attempt to save them money elsewhere. "Attempting to save them money elsewhere" equates to pitching talk and broadband packages, boiler cover, wiringcover and trying toget permission to send marketing emails etc etc. If you do not offer these products, you get pulled up.
Customers randomly get anew automated survey asking about your customer service. There are 5 questions and only one of them asks about the customer service they received from you personally. Even if the customer marks you 9/9 for customer service but they do not rate the company similarly or they would not recommend the company to their friends, you get a bad score for your customer service.
If you get stuck on a call past your finishing time you are not paid for the extra time. You are only able to "bank" this time if you immediately tell your manager. I rarely do this as it seems petty bringing up 10 or so extra minutes on the phone and my manager goes for an hour long "manager meeting" 30 minutes before my shift ends. I'm certain this system is in place because people will feel awkward about mentioning a few late finished here and there. Although SSE don't track you being logged on longer than you should be, they will immediately pick up on lateness. One girl in my training group was publicly pulled up for being 1 minute 20 seconds late. If they can monitor lateness to this extreme, they can certainly monitor time you run over and should be paying you for it.
In some departments you are expected to work Saturdays. On Saturdays the canteen is closed which is infuriating as the site isn't close to any food places if you don't drive and the shift is 8am-5pm. They do stock a vending machine with over priced microwavable items for Saturdays, but none of them are vegetarian. When it is open, the canteen is extortionate. A black coffee is £1.40 which is only 15p cheaper than starbucks and about 15 times lower quality.
If you are sick, they expect you to call them every single day even if you have a doctors note stating that you should be off for a certain period of time. If you are off for more than a week they will actually send someone to your home to check on you. Managers are completely unsympathetic. I once had to take my elderly grandmother to the hospital as a matter of emergency and when I called to advise I wouldnt be in I was put through to a manager who asked if there wasn't an "adult" who could sit with my grandma so I could come to work. Not only is this appallingly insensitive, but I am 34 and definitely classed as an adult. She obviously assumed I was a teenager because I work part time evenings.
Advice to Management
Treat your staff with respect. Treat your customers with respect. Hire more people to complete tariff changes. Sales are not appropriate in a customer care environment. Make targets attainable. Good customer service equates to loyal customers.
I worked at SSE part-time (More than a year)
Good rate of pay
CSM level of management are too involved in day to day activities. Holidays, sickness, team decisions etc. This strikes to me of minute management and very anal way of working. Senior Management need to learn to let go and delegate. This gives me the impression that CSM's feel threatened by up and coming managers and therefore keep their abilities and skillsets surpressed.
CSM's should be focussed on meeting with other CSM's from other departments and improving internal business relationships, removing barriers, improving processes.
Too many online forms that have a detremental impact on customer call wait times
A number of managers at different levels do not appear to have professional behaviours and I do suspect have not attended many management courses as seem to make things up as they go along
Disgraceful amount of paper hand outs. SSE should hold their heads in shame at the amount of paper handed out.
Encouraging customer to go digital and promote sustainability but do not follow their own objectives. Never worked anywhere that hand out so much paper. Totally unnecessary and very backward thinking as intranet should be used for this purpose. Also outrageous waste of money
Advice to Management
Senior managers must step back from day to day team manager activities. Team managers are paid to manage their teams and must be allowed to do so. Distinct lack of empowerment and delegation from the top down. Alistair Phillips-Davies is too removed from his Senior Management behaviours as I cannot believe a man of his position would believe this is the correct way to run a business
Need a clear communication channel for employees, small forum who discuss business issues and clear target times for resolution. Also need employees to have a route to raise concerns, risks, issues etc. The current online option does not work as no feedback given and no timescales for genuine concerns raised. Employees then start switching off and do not proactively highlight suggested improvements as no-one is listening
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I have been working at SSE full-time (More than 3 years)
I love the passion and work ethic of the individuals who work for the business and the fantastic support that you receive to develop your skills and prepare for the next step up.
Employee discount for Gas and Electric is still more expensive for me to go with SSE :(
Advice to Management
Listen to your people, they are the HEART of the business :)
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