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Customer satisfaction survey

In November 2011, for the seventh consecutive year, the satisfaction of the Group's residential customers was surveyed; beginning from last year, this survey also includes data regarding the satisfaction of free market customers.
In 2011, the high satisfaction objective, with a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) of 70 points out of 100, was met. All components of this index increased, particularly those related to more "emotional" elements of satisfaction, that is, how Hera is perceived in relation to an "ideal" multi-services company.
Customers who chose the free market for gas and/or electricity also achieved a score of 70 points; they particularly appreciate the quality of the sales channel and of the procedures for activation and transfer to the free market.

Assessment of overall satisfaction of residential customers
CSI (from 0 to 100)200620072008200920102011
Service satisfaction index (Services CSI)717172727473
Overall satisfaction index (CSI)676567696970
Global satisfaction706870737172
Satisfaction with respect to expectations666366686869
Satisfaction with respect to the ideal656264676668

The services index decreased by one point, due to the essential stability of energy services with respect to last year: gas at 77 points and electricity at 74. The water service decreased by 1 point compared to 2010, and also came out at 74 points. Finally, waste management services reached the high satisfaction level of 70, an increase of one point compared to 2010.
This year, the Group's branches and call centres met or surpassed 70 points (70 for the call centre and 72 for the branches), which demonstrates the effectiveness of training initiatives and the streamlining of internal procedures.
Finally, aspects related to Hera's image improved (+4 points), confirming that its strong points are professionalism, trustworthiness and attention to sustainability.
Satisfaction with contact channels will continue to be monitored during the year in 2012, and the detailed analyses on customers who state that they are unsatisfied will also continue. Other initiatives planned involve increasing the readability of the multi-service bill and improving the use of services available on the HER@ ON-LINE portal and on the Hera Comm website, which showed a slight decrease, despite the fact that they maintained a positive score (above 70).

The methodology used for the customer satisfaction survey

For the sixth consecutive year, the Customer Satisfaction survey was conducted, in November, to assess the quality of services offered and our customers' satisfaction with Hera overall. Approximately 3,000 telephone interviews were carried out to understand what customers think about the company, how it worked and whether efforts are going in the right direction.
The survey is based on a research methodology that has been fine-tuned, thanks also to studies carried out at the University of Michigan, that involve theorising and calculating the causal relation between elements of perceived quality and the satisfaction of customers.
The survey was conducted by telephone via CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interviews), a computerised system that allows for random selection of the individuals to interview, while ensuring that they are representative of the population to be described. Monitoring was carried out by interviewing the main Hera contact within the nuclear family. The questionnaire is organised in such a way as to keep the average duration of the interview under 18 minutes including for those customers that use several services and is designed to ascertain the extent to which the improvement actions taken by Hera are appreciated by customers, generating an actual greater level of satisfaction.
The assessments of the results are expressed in numerical scales, with thresholds corresponding to the various levels of satisfaction: under 50 points indicates insufficiency, up to 60 indicates a "minimal" satisfaction area, between 60 and 70 indicates a good level of satisfaction and above 70 indicates "very satisfied".


With regard to the survey of business customers, the global index that represents the entire business segment, from small businesses to large concerns, has increased by 1 point compared to last year, reaching 66. This is a positive result which confirms the increasing trend over the last 5 years. Satisfaction with respect to expectations (+1) and with respect to the ideal (+3) particularly increased. Like the findings related to residential customers, the summary services index dropped slightly, but remained above the high satisfaction threshold (71 points), confirming the excellent level achieved. Free market customers state that they are highly satisfied with the sales channel and activation procedures, and that they are inclined to speak well of the company. Finally, the propensity to remain customers (loyalty) and to cross-selling grew considerably; both indices contribute toward consolidating the customer base.
Also during 2011, initiatives aimed at improving the satisfaction of business customers were rolled out. In particular, improvement was achieved in call centre service quality thanks to the more efficient management of requests sent by companies, which were previously managed by the households call centre. At the same time, case management flows in the back office were optimised, which clearly contributed to increasing the efficiency of customer care. The issues with which customers are most unsatisfied are continually monitored to analyse the most critical areas, on which greater focus will be placed for additional future improvement.
In 2012, training on the customer contact channels as well as permanent monitoring of management processes aimed at customers will continue, in order to ensure continuously improving service.

Assessment of business customer satisfaction
CSI (from 0 to 100)2008200920102011
Service satisfaction index (Services CSI)70697271
Overall satisfaction index (CSI)62656566
Global satisfaction65686968
Satisfaction with respect to expectations61646364
Satisfaction with respect to the ideal59626164

Also in 2011, continuous monitoring was carried out in order to control the satisfaction of customers who call the freephone number or go to one of the branches. The interviews are conducted by qualified operators during the week after the contact. The interviews regard all aspects of the service and subsequently, the situations in which satisfaction is lowest are analysed so that any systematically critical areas identified may be addressed. The call centre and branch levels are stable on average, and well above the high satisfaction level.

In November 2011, the survey on the satisfaction of residential customers with the district heating service was carried out for the fourth year. Also this year, this service achieved a score of 75 out of 100, confirming the excellent perception of customers with a centralised plant as well as of those with an independent plant. The probability of suggesting the service to an acquaintance or a friend, which came out at 73 points, is in line with the satisfaction level. The overall CSI satisfaction index of customers who used district heating in 2011 came out at 68 out of 100, as in 2010.
Communication improvement projects are underway, such as: research on new brochures, the publication of documents which explain tariff changes and a series of meetings planned with customers who use the service and consumers' associations. Furthermore, complaint cases are being analysed so that service supply processes can be improved.

Assessment of the satisfaction of district heating customers
CSI (from 0 to 100)200920102011
Overall satisfaction index of the district heating service (district heating CSI)727575
Overall satisfaction index (CSI)696868
Global satisfaction717171
Satisfaction with respect to expectations686767
Satisfaction with respect to the ideal686566

Also in 2011, a survey was carried out to measure the level of satisfaction with district heating services, on a sampling of 60 customers (out of a total of 600) who had opening, closing and other work carried out during the year. The survey went into detail on aspects related to time needed to open the plant, the professionalism and conduct of technical staff, and the cost. The overall score was 72/2010, and specific criticalities were not found, except in relation to cost (considered high, but did not particularly impact satisfaction with the work carried out).