Posted on: 01/08/2016
Great customer service is all about people and we are really proud of the individuals that help us meet the commitments in our Customer Charter. Following on from our last 'Customer Champions Series', Assistant Accountant Shirisha Chittigari tells us her story.
Customer service is important in any organisation, but what does that really mean for a finance department? Many might not realise, but we actually have an important role in delivering customers the level of service they expect.
The SmartestEnergy Finance department is a team of 22 people split across multiple specialist groups, working together to bring customers the critical financial information they need.
I am part of the Accounts Payable/Receivable team, which involves looking after the company’s day to day cash flow transactions. A large part of my day is spent issuing payments to the likes of National Grid for our retail customer’s power consumption, paying charges such as the Distribution Use of System to Distribution Network Operators, and managing Feed-in-Tariff Reconciliations for our generators.
Although I don’t have direct interaction with our generators or end-users in the same way the Customer Service team do, the part I play is in the delivery of accurate and timely information, which gets relayed back to the customer through their Customer Service Executive. This could be anything from the reconciliation of their Triad payments to letting them know that they have under/over paid for the electricity they have used.
In Accounts Receivable, the majority of incoming funds come from our retail customers. It’s my job to ensure these payments are tracked properly in our billing systems to avoid them being chased for payments that may have already been made. The Customer Service team that speak to these customers has to fully trust this capability of ours which is why good communication and organisational skills are essential.
It may be a bit clichéd but I always go by the saying ‘provide others the standard of service you would like to be provided’. For me, that means doing my job well for my internal customers so they can provide a high level of service to the businesses and generators that rely on us. What I have learnt in my role is that customer service is much more than being able to pick up the phone and put on a friendly voice. It’s about the end to end process delivery throughout an organisation, to ensure we meet maximum customer satisfaction every step of the way.