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EDF blames system upgrade for customer complaint failures

Karl Flinders

EDF blamed a major upgrade of its core systems for failing to meet customer complaint handling standards, but expects to have resolved problems by the end of the year.

EDF recently migrated millions of customer accounts from multiple legacy systems to a single system built on SAP with Genesys contact centre software.

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A recent report on BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme described a substantial increase in the number of customer complaints going unaddressed at energy companies. 

It revealed EDF as the worst offender, with complaints going unresolved within 24 hours rising from about 49,000 last year to 86,916 in the past 12 months. Industry regulator Ofgem is investigating EDF’s handling of customer complaints.

EDF said the problems were related to the implementation of a new IT system.

EDF told Computer Weekly the cause of the problems in resolving complaints was related to “technical system issues” in a major system upgrade. It also blamed increased market activity leading to heavier demand on its systems.

Legacy migration to scalable CRM

EDF was created by the convergence of the London, South Eastern and South Western Electricity Boards.

Following the integration of legacy systems, the new combined companies operated on a common mainframe billing platform with Siebel CRM.

The company decided to replace this with a more adaptable and scalable system to meet changing demands.

EDF chose an SAP CRM with a Genesys customer contact interface and started implementing it in 2008. Deployment began with a pilot of 150,000 customer accounts in June 2010 and it migrated the remaining five million customer accounts between December 2010 and December 2011.

During the migration EDF kept service levels standards up until May 2011, when technical issues and increased workloads caused problems in maintaining standards, said the company.Itchanged its migration plans and invested greater resources to help it complete the move to the new systems in December 2011, about six weeks late.

But EDF said: “Throughout 2012 there have been isolated system issues and further market movement and growth pressures that have led to peaks of service problems and wait times for customers.”

EDF said system improvements, user training and support and additional resources will return customer services levels to the expected standard. 

“We are expected to see that full restoration of service consistency by the end of the year, and in 2013 we will start to leverage the benefits of the new systems and operating platforms which will deliver much enhanced self-serve capabilities for customers and a greater capability to provide innovative and valued products for customers.”


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