#ApologyWatch. Hydro One Apology

Hydro_one_voltage_lines_in_woodbridge_ontarioOntario electricity provider Hydro One has had issues with their billing system that resulted in some customers not receiving their bills, some receiving bills with mistakes in them, and some receiving bills that were inaccurate.  President and CEO Carmine Marcello released an apology today about this issue that was admirable.

In it, Marcello apologizes straight away to their customers, acknowledging without any hedging that he is “directly accountable for customer service” and promises to “focus our resources on not only fixing these problems but on changing our customer service culture.”

He explains that Hydro One transitioned to a new billing system last May because the previous one was “outdated, not working well, and it was determined that a change was needed.”  But Marcello does not use this as an excuse, openly noting that “While the new system did correct some existing issues, the unanticipated result was that some customers experienced prolonged estimated bills, delayed bills, multiple bills or no bills at all.”

Thereafter, he reflects on the disappointment in the company for the issues that have afflicted their customers, saying that “Clearly, this is not the level of service people deserve from Ontario’s electricity delivery company and it is not the level of service we aim to deliver.”

But more than expressing disappointment, Marcello has taken action: “I have focused every available resource on resolving these issues. A dedicated team is already working to fix the problems as quickly as possible…The last thing I want is for our customers to worry. They deserve bills that are clear, timely and accurate. So I want your readers – our customers – to know that they will only pay for the electricity they use.”  Marcello then goes on to describe how Hydro One plans to make sure customers don’t incur extra costs as a result of the billing issues.

Finally, he shows earnest in changing the company’s behavior to not only assist customers in the short-term, where “We are improving training at our call centre to make sure our agents have the information they need to answer more of your questions on the first call”, but for the long haul as well, saying that “I also pledge to keep you informed on the company’s efforts to transform our customer service culture.”

And the reason Marcello sees the need for these changes?  He explains, “We know our customers are counting on us and we owe it to them to make sure that we learn from this and that we do better.”

Ontario’s Ombudsman Andrew Marin announced that his office would investigate Hydro One’s billing practices and how they are handling the customer billing issues.  Marcello has vowed that the company “will work openly and constructively with Ombudsman’s Office,” explaining that “We know that this level of service isn’t acceptable to our customers and it’s not acceptable to Hydro One…We are reaching out to our customers, we are fixing the exceptions and we have brought in additional staff to listen to customers and help work through their billing inquiries.”

How would you rate Marcello’s apology?  Does it do a good job of restoring faith in the company and their customer service?  Would you continue to subscribe to their services after Marcello’s statement?

Categories: The Apology Project

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