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Contact channels

In 2011, the Hera Group continued the policy of building up the channels through which customers can contact the company so as to render contact simpler and quicker. Hera has 5 different contact channels: the call centre for residential customers, the call centre for business customers, branches, the internet and mail.
In 2011, contact from customers increased by 10%, and there was significant growth in the web channel and the sending of electronic bills. The percentage distribution shows that the call centre is still the prevalent channel (56% of contacts), followed by branches (29% of contacts). Use of the web channel is increasing (approximately 10% of contacts, compared to 6.5% in 2010), to the detriment of mail (6% of contacts).
Hera confirms its choice to invest in and develop its branch network, which is deemed strategic and distinctive in relation to its competitors. Specifically, in 2011, the new priority branch in the municipality of Cesenatico opened and three branches (Casalecchio di Reno, San Giovanni in Persiceto and Vignola) were renovated. Furthermore, a new point of presence was opened in the district of San Pietro in Vincoli, in Ravenna, while two temporary points of presence were closed (in Cesenatico and Cattolica). There are 84 branches in the areas managed by the seven TOSs, and 8 have standardised opening hours set at 33 hours per week from Monday (8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) to Friday (8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.). In 2011, Hera had 18 branches located on third party premises in the areas managed by the seven TOSs.
In the course of 2011, initiatives to standardise the management procedures of outsourced branches were launched, and an IT system to manage commercial and institutional communications with the branches was implemented.

At the end of 2011, there were 130 thousand people registered with the HER@ ON-LINE portal, an increase of 31% over the previous year. The company continued to promote electronic bills, also when new agreements are signed, by offering customers the option of immediately beginning to punctually receive bills directly by email, thereby avoiding printing and sending paper documents. In 2011, other than proposing the electronic bill along with each new contract stipulated with Hera, this service was also promoted in an enclosure with the bill, which makes it possible to request that electronic bills be sent instead of the paper version. Initiatives to promote enrolment for electronic billing led to an increase of over 60% in the use of that method compared to 2010. Approximately 39 thousand customers were enrolled at the end of 2011, avoiding the printing and sending of approximately 270 thousand envelopes containing bills in the same year. In 2012 the Hera Group will continue to promote behaviour aimed at reducing environmental impacts in terms of lower CO2 emissions generated by less production of paper bills and fewer trips to the physical branches by privileging the online portal.