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Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the gas distributor for the North of England, has had its commitment to exceptional customer service recognised after being awarded the ServiceMark accreditation from the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

The accreditation takes into account results from customers surveys and also involves an assessor visiting the gas distributor to speak to colleagues from across the business and get an understanding of the overarching awareness and attitude to customer service within the business.

The ICS assessor said: “Throughout my visit with Northern Gas Networks I was truly impressed with the dedication and passion for great customer service shown by all members of staff. The pride for what they do and desire to do their best for their customers shone through and it was clear that the management team value and appreciate their staff.

“Whilst clearly enjoying their work, all employees spoke proudly about how they contribute to the overall business’s aims and objectives, the challenges ahead and their commitment to meeting them with positivity and enthusiasm.

“It is clear from the survey results that NGN have achieved great results in customer satisfaction. It was also clear from all my conversations that employees are engaged with the business’s strategy and are fully bought into the company’s customer centric vision.”

They also noted that ‘from the start and throughout the assessment it was apparent that the senior management team regard service as a key driver for performance. This was seen in conversations throughout all levels of staff’.

Mark Horsley, Chief Executive at Northern Gas Networks, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the Institute for Customer Service’s recognition of how our colleagues put looking after our customers at the heart of everything we do.  Although our responsibility is to maintain the safety and integrity of a pipeline system, it is the safe service that we deliver to our customers that comes above everything else.

“The ServiceMark accreditation is confirmation of everything we do but it’s only the start and we will continue to work hard to make sure that this is a constantly improving trend and customers can always expect the best from NGN.”

Around 640 NGN colleagues completed an ICS survey looking at their attitudes towards work, how they view the aims of the company and overall satisfaction.

NGN’s overall score was 73.63% compared to the ICS benchmark for utilities of 72.73% and the overall benchmark for all sectors of 70.97%. This continues a trend of improvement from surveys carried out in 2013 and 2016.

The clear message was that the focus of the business towards excellent customer service was a well-recognised priority. Three of the most highly scored questions showed that this focus is crucial for all NGN colleagues. Questions and topics in this area included:

  • “Customers as a business priority” – 83.16%
  • “The executive board see service as key part of strategy” – 84.2%
  • “Our organisation is customer-centric” – 81.93%

All those results are above the ICS benchmark scores and comes after positive responses from customers who were surveyed as part of the ICS accreditation in October 2017. NGN received a score of 90.4% for customer satisfaction compared to 85.6% back in January 2016 and 83.1% in July 2014.

Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.