E.ON HR chief insists staff are trained to handle price-hike calls

Energy group E.ON’s HR chief has insisted that helpline staff dealing with angry customer calls about unfair pricing are readily trained to deal with them.

Kristen Herde, head of employee engagement in the UK, told Personnel Today that staff are thoroughly educated to understand the business mission and why prices are set as they are.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the big six energy companies, including E.ON, Npower and British Gas, are charging the poorest customers up to £330 more per year for gas and electricity.

Energywatch, the industry watchdog, said that on average, prepayment customers are charged £255 a year more than online customers for power, branding the practice “scandalous”.

Herde said: “A key part of colleague engagement is to inform colleagues why we do the things we do, making them understand the business. If we have to raise prices, we tell staff why. So if someone asks them on the phone about it, they can explain it.”

Chancellor Alistair Darling is set to deliver an ultimatum to E.ON, Npower, British Gas and other companies in his Budget next week, to stop them taking advantage of their poorest customers.

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