THE CUSTOMER CARE POLICY
Attention to the customer is of fundamental importance to Acea, which intends to improve the "customer journey", the experience customers have when they come into contact with the Group. The operating companies pursue this objective in their daily relations with customers, while at the Parent Company the Customer Lis- tening Unit ensures the monitoring and measurement of custom- er satisfaction with services, to support the companies with find- ing possible improvement actions. In 2021, customer satisfaction surveys extended the scope of the survey to include brand aware- ness, usage and satisfaction with the new digital channels (see the section on Perceived quality).
In addition, the Customer Listening Unit, in conjunction with the operating companies and through an institute specialising in demo- graphic research, carries out mystery client surveys to check the quality of customer contact channels: in 2021, alongside the usual surveys on telephone and branch services, Acea Energia's online chat channel was monitored and, on an experimental basis, GORI's video call service. The results are shared with Service Managers and contact operators and facilitate the identification of areas for im- provement in each contact channel to take any necessary correc- tive measures.
Through the unit ADR Body - Consumer Associations Coordina- tion Unit within the Parent Company, Acea monitors how requests made by Consumer Associations are handled. Although, due to the continuing COVID-19 health emergency, the Holding Company Unit was unable to hold face-to-face meetings, it organised online meetings with the main Consumer Associations to gather requests from local communities and continued to raise awareness for the use of exclusively dedicated digital and telephone channels, imple- mented and managed by the Companies to respond adequately to the new needs emerged since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Consumer Associations recognised by the National Consumer and User Council (CNCU) also support and represent custom- ers who intend to resort to a joint settlement procedure for the out-of-court settlement of commercial disputes, used by Acea for several years. Following the Memorandum of Understanding for ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) conciliation signed by 19 consumer associations and the main Group companies73, the ADR body74 was set up, which allows customers of Acea Energia, Areti, Acea Ato 2, Acea Ato 5 and Gesesa to access out-of-court dispute resolution through the ADR procedure. In order to provide a better service, a pilot phase of surveys to measure customer satisfaction with these services was launched in 2021. During the year, the Body received a total of 345 requests for procedures - 222 for the water sector and 123 for the energy sector -, a figure that was down by 17.7% compared to the previous year (419 requests in 2020); of these, in accordance with the law and the Regulation, 237 were as- sessed as proceeding and 108 as not proceeding.
GORI, which has long signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the conciliation of disputes with local consumer associations, also handled 122 conciliation requests in 2021 and concluded 385 ARERA conciliation requests.
AdF has a relationship of constant collaboration and comparison with the Consumer Associations active in the territory. In 2021, meetings were organised with the representatives of the local As- sociations on an IT platform to present and share the major regu- latory changes, including the closure of the tariff reform envisaged by the Integrated Water Service Fees Text (TICSI), the entry into force of the new Integrated Water Service Charter, the new Con- ciliation body activated by the Tuscany Water Authority.
The judicial disputes that took place during the year between Acea and the customers is explained in the dedicated box.
DISPUTES WITH CUSTOMERS 2021
Legal proceedings brought by customers against companies of the Acea Group mainly concerned disputes relating to charges for service supply, adjustments, pricing structures and service activation delays. There were 612 such disputes in 2021, broadly in line with the 2020 figure (576 disputes started in the year).
As at 31 December 2021, the total number of disputes pending with customers (including disputes initiated in previous years) amounted to 1985, down slightly with respect to the previous year (2,181). The situation is affected by the general slowdown in servic- es, including judicial services, resulting from the health emergency. This type of litigation is the one that can be resolved most quickly and with a less costly procedure.
Acea Energia has defined and applies specific procedures, depend- ing on the channel used, to combat "disputed activations/contracts" and "unsolicited supplies"75.
For customers of the free market, in the event of a contract pro- posal signed using door-to-door sales or by telephone, the Com- pany carries out procedures to verify the correct behaviour of the sales operator, the clear presentation of the content of the contract signed, and, above all, the customer’s awareness of having made a choice by means of a confirmation call aimed at limiting the risk of misunderstanding and belated exercise of the right of withdrawal. Acea Energia checks the completeness and absence of alterations of all printed contracts and listens to all the telephone records pro- duced by the sales reps. In the event of issues being detected, the IT systems prevent continuation of activation of the offer.
The digital sales channel currently in use at the physical channel shop in shop envisages elements, such as signing the contract with a biographometric signature using a tablet and an app, the digital acquisition of pre-contractual and contractual documents and their transmission to the Company's back-end systems, aimed at elimi- nating the risk of errors and/or tampering.
A new digital sales process has been implemented with electronic signature based on a one-time password (OTP) for the telemarket- ing channel, and on an experimental basis, for physical networks. The customer contacted, who has expressed interest in receiving a contract proposal, can receive in advance, at his/her e-mail address, all the pre-contractual and contractual material in digital format and proceed only later, if desired, with the digital signature of the contract, by entering the OTP received via SMS on the mobile phone number indicated.
Signing of the contract by digital signature is the only method en- visaged for acceptance of the proposal and this reduces the risk of persuasive phenomena induced by the sales network.
With the 2021 Agency Mandates Acea Energia introduced a spe- cific annex ("Penalties") to regulate the sanctioning process of the Agencies, providing for a broader and more articulated range of violations. As part of the agency mandate that governs the re- lationship with the network of sales agents, Acea Energia verifies performance. In 2021, it analysed 926 contract proposals, which were the subject of complaints for "disputed activations/contracts" or "unsolicited supplies" or other violations provided for in the "Pen- alties" annex to the mandate. As a result of the verification activities, intensified in the year, 567 cases of "unfair commercial practices", nearly 61% of the cases analysed, were reported to the Agencies. As is customary, Acea Energia carried out a mandatory training programme for sales representatives (see the Suppliers chapter) and maintained, in the aforementioned agreements, bonus/malus mechanisms related to the quality of the contracts acquired.
Acea Energia has undertaken important initiatives aimed at improv- ing the digital channels available to customers and a commercial and communication strategy that has had sustainability as one of its pillars, introducing new offers and value-added services. In particular, a catalogue of 100% Eco-sustainable electricity and gas offers was launched and a brand shared with a telephone company: WindTre Luce&Gas Powered by Acea Energia was created.
With the new brand, highly innovative for its configuration, Acea Energia introduces a model of collaboration aimed at enhancing the commercial potential of the WindTre brand and the strength of Acea Energia in the management of the Light & Gas service, with the aim of proposing to customers an offer marked by transparency, reliability and proximity, thanks to the strengthening of sales chan- nels available. The partnership, launched during the year, will come into full effect in 2022.
A major communication campaign, carried out on digital platform, press and billboards, was dedicated to promoting Acea Energia's en- try into the world of electric mobility (see the dedicated box) and a second communication campaign, with testimonials, carried out through press, digital, social, TV and outdoor, aimed at promoting the company's sustainable mission, engaging and raising custom- er awareness with the launch of the 100% Eco offers mentioned above (see the box dedicated to commercial offers and the par- agraph Communication, events and solidarity); the campaign was reinforced by a competition open to all customers - "a win that will make ECO" - with electric cars up for grabs.
ACEA ENERGIA LAUNCHES THE NEW APP: ACEA E-MOBILITY
In 2021 Acea Energia entered the world of services dedicated to sustainable mobility, contributing to the spread of a new culture of mobility and developing a technological solution that has allowed the development of an App dedicated to the optimal use of electric charging stations.
The Acea e-mobility App is characterised by a number of strengths:
- widespread presence, with more than 10,000 easily identifiable recharging points around the country;
- the free booking service, as a promotion of the year for customers;
- digitalisation: top-up and payment via Card or App;
- assistance 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for using the app and for information on prices, payment methods, invoices and problems with the recharging service or the charging stations.
Using the App, customers can geolocate the nearest charging sta- tion, book it and recharge their car in a smart way. The offer is based on two different tariffs, depending on the type of charging station, for quick or fast recharges.
Communications were also carried out in the press to further spread awareness of the Acea Energia brand and digital campaigns to promote the "digital consultant" service and the "boiler" product, which benefited from the tax bonus for the customer (see box on commercial proposals). Particular attention was paid to the acquisi- tion of "multi-site customers" in various industries, from banking to services to ensure a multi-year customer base and initiatives were launched to offer value-added services to employees of this type of customer, proposing "welfare" commercial offers for the supply of electricity and gas.
In 2021, with a leap forward compared to the growth trend already seen in recent years, the "green" energy sold76 by Acea to free mar- ket customers (estimated at 2,300 GWh) increased by 92% com- pared to the consolidated volumes of 2020 (equal to 1,198 GWh). The share of this item out of the total energy sold in the year to free market customers (about 6,075 GWh, see also Environmental Accounts) reached 38%. In addition to the launch of new offers, the increase in the estimated amount of "green" energy sold was also due to the activation of contracts previously stipulated in the industrial sector, with effect from January 2021.
ACEA ENERGIA’S 2021 COMMERCIAL PROPOSALS FOR THE FREE MARKET: 100% ECO AND NEW SERVICES
In 2021 Acea Energia introduced important new features in its commercial offer, such as 100% Eco light and gas and value-added products such as boilers, air conditioners and wall-boxes.
Acea Energia's sustainable offers include 100% Green Light and 0% CO2 Gas, in line with the Acea Group's objectives of environ- mental protection and commitment to the territory.
Electricity has a "Guarantee of Origin" electronic certification that attests to the renewable origin of the sources used for its produc- tion. Gas offsets the carbon dioxide emissions produced by con- sumption through the purchase of certified carbon credits (VER
- Verified Emission Reduction), which help to fund and support mitigation projects (Verified Carbon Standard) in Peru and India with concrete benefits for local communities.
The structure of the offer portfolio maintained maximum flexibility towards customer needs, with indexed offers (e.g. wholesale price), fixed price offers and exclusive offers for the web channel.
Finally, in compliance with the provisions of ARERA, in its product catalogue Acea Energia has prepared the differentiated PLACET offers – Free Price at Equivalent Protected Conditions – for fami- lies (domestic use) or small businesses (non-domestic use).
During the year, sales of so-called 'VAS' (value added services) were consolidated, such as high energy efficiency boilers and air conditioners, to reduce consumption, with a view to sustainability. With the purchase or replacement of obsolete equipment with that offered by Acea Energia, the customer can take advantage of the transfer of credit in accordance with current regulations. The offer proposed by Acea Energia consists, in addition to the physical asset, of services such as consulting, installation and assistance, aimed at ensuring a "turnkey" solution.
The year 2021, with the new app Acea e-mobility, marked the en- try of Acea Energia also in the electric mobility market, to invest in the spread of the culture of sustainable mobility supported by smart technology.
The "Acea con Te" loyalty program, for domestic customers on the free market, recorded a 66% increase in registered customers in 2021 compared to 2020, confirming the upward trend. During the year, the limitations of activities caused by the health emergency did not allow tickets to events to be given away; however the Emozi- oni da Prima Fila [Front Row Excitement] competition continued throughout, by proposing a new format of remote events. Acea Energia has continued this activity, the heart of the programme, by offering prizes to registered customers in the home, kitchen, children, hi-tech, personal and voucher categories. Also significant was the launch of the partnership with Gambero Rosso: a co-mar- keting agreement to convey a sustainable food and wine culture to those enrolled in the programme. Subscribers can take advantage of ad hoc events on the Gambero Rosso Academy training platform, as well as specific awards and formats in the wine, travel and food sectors.
Water companies have also stepped up communication initiatives aimed at customers. In line with the innovation and digitalisation strategy pursued at Group level, Acea Ato 2 carried out communi- cation and awareness-raising campaigns to promote the new digi- tal services, which continued on several occasions during the year, using the main media channels (press, web, radio commercials). In January 2021, the campaign on the new digital branch service was launched, allowing transactions traditionally handled at phys- ical branches to be carried out from home via video call. Some of the most important municipalities in the ATO 2-Central Lazio area have contributed to publicising the new service on their institutional and social channels. To promote the MyAcea customer area, en- riched with new features, a campaign was launched in July 2021 in the press, outdoor, digital and radio, dedicated in particular to the new web bill. Finally, a press, digital and outdoor campaign was carried out – particularly in the province – to inform customers about the opportunity provided by the water bonus, dedicated to families in economic difficulty, which allows them to save up to 100% on their annual water bill. The claim "we value your needs more" and simple and direct language were chosen to instil confidence, and so encourage potential beneficiaries to apply for the bonus.
In 2021 Acea Ato 5 continued the project undertaken in 2020 aimed at making customers aware of specific issues, such as com- municating meter readings and mitigating the risk of meters freez- ing, and informing them about the planned replacement of the me- ters. In addition, the "Water Identity Card" project continues to be implemented, allowing users to provide their residential address in order to have access to data and information on the quality of the water supplied, including an indication of the values of the main an- alytical principles that characterise the water in the area of interest. The document is available both digitally and in a printable version. In 2021, AdF created the communication campaign "We value your choices", to promote the loyalty bonus, a one-off incentive for the most virtuous users who have activated both the web bill and bank or post office direct debits for more than twelve months. In this way, AdF wanted to highlight the choices made by customers in terms of sustainability, for the paper savings resulting from activating the web bill and for the relationship of trust with the Company with the activation of the direct debit system. In addition, in 2021, AdF allo- cated a Solidarity Fund to SME users (see dedicated box).
In 2021, GORI proposed campaigns aimed at customers, for ex- ample on the correct protection of meters and systems from frost or on the quality of water distributed, transmitting them on vari- ous channels and using videos and other media for the web and the press.
ADF ALLOCATES A SOLIDARITY FUND TO SME USERS
In the last quarter of 2020, following the wishes expressed by its members, AdF set up a call for tenders for a Solidarity Fund to support local businesses affected by the lockdown due to the health emergency, which nevertheless continued to consume water to keep running efficiently and recorded losses of no less than 20% with respect to turnover in the corresponding period of the previous year. After AdF had sent precise communications, even through Trade Associations, to explain the prerequisites for access to the fund, 179 applications were processed, from 37 municipalities out of 55 in the managed territory, 96 of which met the necessary requirements to benefit from the fund. Therefore, in 2021, AdF disbursed about € 40,000 and allocated the remaining availabili- ty of the fund, equal to about € 260,000, to the amortisation of the fixed quotas (aqueduct) for artisan and commercial business- es, equal to two monthly payments of the aforementioned quotas (2020 tariff) in favour of 20,863 active artisan and commercial users and invoiced in 2020
CONTACT CHANNELS AND PERFORMANCE
In all customer relations, Acea is committed to guaranteeing the re- spect of privacy in the management of personal data. In particular, Acea keeps updated safeguards on the issue of privacy to better re- spond to the evolution of the relevant legislation, in line with the Eu- ropean regulations (General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR)77 on the protection of personal data (see in-depth analysis in Corporate Identity, The Internal Control and Risk Management System).
In addition to traditional contact channels (call centre and branch- es), Acea makes available to customers digital contact channels that are more advanced every year. The health emergency situa- tion, which was triggered in 2020 and will continue in part in 2021, has in fact made it essential to spread the use of remote channels, spurring companies to continually improve them. During the year, therefore, all Group companies managing customer relations im- plemented initiatives aimed at improving remote contact channels and increasing the digitalisation of commercial processes.
The MyAcea self-care platform, also available in the form of an App for mobile devices, allows customers to manage all their wa- ter, electricity and gas needs with a single account, facilitating the user experience and at the same time expanding the range of ac- tions available, such as the new graphic design which makes it more user-friendly and intuitive, the possibility of booking appointments at physical and digital branches, and the digital drawer which allows them to view contractual documents and payment reminders. The companies in charge of the different services ensure the processing required.
The MyAcea web area recorded approximately 10,000 log ins (cu- mulating those for the water service and the free energy market) with 452,126 unique users connected in 2021; while the Rome Electricity Service customer area, for the standard market service, had approximately 3,800 daily log ins with 33,943 unique users connected.
The MyAcea app, installed by about 361,000 people, saw further growth of the user base, with an increase of 24.5% in 2021 com- pared to the previous year (roughly 290,000 people in 2020).
In 2021 Acea Energia implemented new features on the portal for “large customers” to access information about supplies, payments, contracts, invoices and consumption data. In particular, a feature has been introduced to allow customers to access energy market data, while bulk uploading of technical and commercial services will be available in 2022.
Among the customers of Acea Energia, the MyAcea App was in- stalled on 207,962 devices (Android and iOS) in 2021 while the App dedicated to the standard market, Rome Electricity Service, was installed on 37,679 devices (Android and iOS) in the year.
An important process was begun by Acea Ato 2 to modernise and digitalise the experience customers have when using the services. Among the main initiatives undertaken:
- the development of the digital branch, the service that can be used, upon reservation, via computer equipped with a webcam or via smartphone. With a view to overcoming the digital divide, the Company has also made available, by appointment, access to local branches, known as "Waidy Points" (see the dedicated box below);
- the development of an integrated customer relationship man- agement platform, SalesForce, with an omnichannel perspec- tive; the project launched in 2021 will be completed in the fol- lowing two years; the platform also includes the development of a tool (SalesForce dunning) aimed at streamlining the solicita- tion process in the event of credit recovery.
- digitisation of two important commercial processes (transfer and takeover), to make them digitally usable with the possibility of finalising the contract by accepting a link received by email;
- the development of the new CTI Genesys telephony platform and the consequent transfer of the contact centre service; the process started in March 2021 with the definition of the re- quirements of the new platform and is currently being imple- mented and tested. The tools accompanying the new platform will enable a better customer experience and simplify contact centre
At 31/12/2021, there were 345,335 users registered in the MyA- cea customer area pertaining to Acea Ato 2, an increase of around 12% (307,885 in 2020). This figure corresponds to 49% of the customers with active water supplies at 31/12/2021 (705,607).
Acea Ato 5 has renewed its commitment to implementing more effective customer management systems and improving communi- cation; the digital branch, the system of video calls on appointment and assistance from an operator, was activated at the end of 2020, flanking the other remote channels, such as toll-free numbers, the My Acea app, e-mail and the web portal. In 2021, the company also carried out information campaigns, both in the press and via email and text messages, to promote the use of remote contact channels (toll-free number, dedicated numbers, MyAcea platform and app, website and email) and the new interactive bill. Subscriptions to the relevant My Acea area increased to a total of 56,623 users, 29% more than the 2020 figure (43,829 users), accounting for around 28% of total active contracts in the year.
AdF continued to promote the use of the MyFiora customer area through its 2021 advertising campaign “Simple and fast? MyFio- ra”, conducted in traditional and digital media. This contributed to an increase in the number of registered customers to 52,847, up 25.4% on the 2020 figure (42,144 registered). The customer area has also been enriched with new features, thanks to the release of the "Digital Hub", which allows users to have a quick and immediate overview of the most relevant news about the services available. In order to expand its digital service offering, AdF has activated, as of February 2021, a chat facility, through which, at set times, custom- ers can receive assistance and support in real time. The tool, which is still in the experimental phase, is very much appreciated by users, who gave an average rating of 96/100 out of the total number of interactions recorded. Lastly, social media are increasingly used by clients to interact with AdF; the community management service, developed both in terms of the editorial plan and the moderation of requests, has been constant and regular, in order to increase user engagement. The Company has also invested in the development of the telephone channel, reinforcing the digitalisation of commer- cial processes, adding "takeover" to "transfers"; this development has contributed to reducing processing times and optimising call centre performance. Finally, AdF has activated an advance warn- ing service, with notifications sent by e-mail and text message to all customers affected by planned interruptions of supply over the next 24 hours.
GORI once again carried out communication activities aimed at increasing adherence to digital services (MyGORI and web billing, including the new interactive bill), and recorded an increase of around 35% in the number of registered users of the MyGORI re- served area during the year, compared to the figure for the previous year (119,370 registered customers), reaching 160,843 registered users as at 31 December 2021. Gesesa has repeated in 2021 the information campaigns on toll-free numbers, through social media and traditional media (outdoor) and the two campaigns on how to submit the meter reading and on the online area MyGesesa. As at 31/12/2021, the MyGesesa reserved area reached 9,009 registered users (it was 7,400 in 2020).
On the website www.acea.it dedicated to the free market and on the website www.servizioelettricoroma.it dedicated to the protect- ed market of Acea Energia there are guides to reading the bill. Guides for reading bills are also available for customers of the wa- ter service, found in the Water section of the Acea Group website www.gruppo.acea.it.
In 2021, the project for restyling and revising the bills of all the water companies in the Acea Group was completed, which includ- ed the introduction of a renewed graphic layout, the simplification and rationalisation of the content, the new e-mail template for the delivery of the web bill, designed to convey to users the image of a company that is digitally ready and attentive to sustainability issues. The new interactive bill has also been introduced, which comple- ments the web bill in PDF format, designed as a navigable dash- board available to the customer. The service was released in January 2021 on a pilot of 7,000 Acea Ato 2 households, and during the year it was made available to users with the web billing service of the Group companies operating in the water sector.
The electronic invoice, in the new interactive configuration usable via PC, smartphone and tablet, is rich in new content, showing the main information elements on the home page (water user data, bill- ing period, actual billed consumption, amount to be paid, payment status), allowing the customer to easily and immediately understand the dynamics of their consumption and related expenditure.
To illustrate the digitalisation process undertaken, Acea Ato 2, as al- ready mentioned, launched an advertising campaign in 2021, pres- ent on the main web and print media, a storytelling campaign based on three themes: digital branch, MyAcea and electronic invoice. At 31/12/2021, the number of Acea Ato 2 users with electronic in- voicing was 358,707 (about 55% more than the figure of 230,049 users with web billing in 2020), corresponding to 52.5% of active users in the year; thanks to electronic invoicing, the paper saved by the company in the year amounted to 63.6 tonnes78.
AdF has regularly promoted the activation of the web bill, includ- ing the new interactive bill, and digital payments through targeted communication campaigns in traditional and digital media. At the end of 2021, the total number of users with an active web bill was 83,277, about 36% of total users, an increase of 8.5% compared to the previous year (76,759 users), with a paper saved in 2021 amounting to 9.9 tonnes.
In 2021, GORI launched campaigns aimed at activating the web bill and promoting the new interactive bill, thanks to which subscriptions to the service reached 197,790 (+72.7% compared to 114,469 users with a web bill in 2020), saving 17 tonnes of paper per year.
Acea Ato 5 has promoted the use of digital channels and the acti- vation of the new interactive bill, emphasising its combination with, among other advantages, the regularity of receipt of the invoice. The communication campaign was launched in the Acea Ato 5 territory in July 2021 and consisted of 10 appearances in the press, over 10 million impressions on digital media and was aired 1,500 times on the radio. As of 31/12/2021, there were 47,623 customers using the web billing service (37.4% more than the 34,654 customers in 2020); this generated a saving of 5.7 tonnes of paper per year.
Gesesa has continued to raise awareness of the web billing service through direct telephone contact with users; as of 31 December 2021, there were 8,206 users with the service active (+6.7% com- pared to 7,690 users in 2020), saving 1.4 tonnes of paper per year. Thanks to the awareness and communication initiatives implement- ed by Acea Energia, at 31/12/2021, there were 394,655 active sup- plies with the web billing option (in detail, 226,941 for the free market and 167,714 for the standard market service), an increase of 14.4% compared with the 2020 figure (344,946 supplies with web billing). In terms of environmental protection, this equates to a saving of paper of 54.4 tonnes/year.
Overall, therefore, thanks to the web billing service offered by Group companies and the customers who activated it, 152 tonnes of paper were saved in the year, 44% more than the 2020 figure (105.5 tonnes of paper).
Acea Ato 2 has internalised, since July 2020, the manage- ment of the contract with the external supplier of the con- tact centre service. The service is carried out according to the One Call Solution (OCS) approach, in order to meet the needs expressed by customers through a single contact.
e quality of the telephone service is monitored and the contact staff is trained and attend seminars on procedure and how to inter- act with the customer. Acea Ato 2, moreover, through the external supplier, manages the chat service to support customers who surf the website and, after registering, use the services available in the MyA- cea customer area. In Acea Ato 5, the contact centre service was provided as a service by Acea Ato 2, with the collaboration of the ex- ternal supplier, until June 2021; from the following month, the man- agement of the contact centre was internalised by Acea Ato 5, with the aim of directly monitoring the specific needs of the area, and the external supplier was used for some remote channels for commercial use. The Company then prepared a public tender for the award of the contact centre service, with a One Call Solution perspective, to a new supplier, which will start operating in the first months of 2022.
Acea Energia internally manages the social media channel (Face- book) for free market customers and the dedicated chat channel, while for the standard market service (Rome Electricity Service) the chat channel is managed by the external supplier; it also manages the toll-free numbers for the free market and the standard market service, outbound campaigns, back office customer care activities, the toll-free number for making appointments at the branch, the Pedius toll-free number and the Premium toll-free number.
In 2021, the new customer management application (CRM), based on the SalesForce platform, went into production; this milestone enabled Acea Energia to optimise operations with a positive impact on the performance of contact channels.
In 2021, the Group's toll-free numbers received more than 5.2 mil- lion calls, an increase of 8.6% compared to 2020 (approximately 4.8 million calls); the figure, which has been on an upward trend over the last two years, is consistent with the greater use of remote contact channels (toll-free numbers, apps, web, digital branches), highlighted in relation to both restrictions on access to branches and a progressive greater familiarity of customers with digital channels. The overall service level, despite the increase in the number of calls received in the year under review, was 91%, in line with the perfor- mance recorded in 2020 (see Chart 31 and Tables 34 and 35 for the performance of individual companies, at the end of this section). Acea Energia provides customers with the Pedius App (free of charge and available for all devices), through which people with hearing impairment can contact the call centre - on a telephone line with a dedicated priority queue - by writing text messages in chat, which are read to the operator by a computerised voice, while the operator's answers are returned to users in written form.
Chart no. 31 – Total telephone traffic of Acea toll-free numbers (2020-2021)
NOTE: the 2020 figures have been slightly adjusted to consolidate Acquedotto del Fiora's data; the 2021 figures include Acea Energia's new commercial toll-free number, activated in July following the agreement with Windtre.
Chart no. 32 – Percentage distribution of telephone traffic received by Acea toll-free numbers (2021)
NOTE: Acea Energia's tool free number for the free market, electricity and gas, also includes the volumes handled by the new toll free number, activated in July 2021, as part of the agreement with Wind3.
The opening of physical branches was organised to ensure maxi- mum safety for users and staff, with customers allowed entry by appointment only, and this, together with the further development of remote channels, continued to result in much lower number of visitors than in pre-pandemic years.
The branches at Acea's headquarters in Rome, in Piazzale Ostiense, for the electricity, gas and water services managed by Acea Energia and Acea Ato 2, allowed entry to a total of 50,254 customers in 2021 (the figure for 2020 was 88,723 customers and that for 2019, before the pandemic emergency, 204,542 customers), with service levels close to 100%. In compliance with health safety measures, as already mentioned, branches allowed entry by appointment only.
If the total figures for all companies in the perimeter are considered, 121,674 customers were allowed entry at the branches (163,527 customers allowed entry in 2020 and 555,496 in 2019). See Table nos. 34 and 35 for the performance over the last two years of the individual Companies.
The digital branch, activated in the last quarter of 2020 also for water companies, consolidated its operations in 2021. In particular, for Acea Ato 2, the digital branch has established itself as a con- tact channel able to offer the same services provided by the physi- cal branch, reaching an average of about 2,000 appointments per month, which exceeds the number of appointments managed at the physical branch at headquarters. Acea Ato 2 has also activated the first Waidy Points in 2021 (see box with details).
ACEA ATO 2 OPENS WAIDY POINTS IN THE TERRITORY
With a view to overcoming the digital divide, Acea Ato 2 has made the digital branch service available at local branches known as "Waidy Points". These are digital workstations equipped with an internet connection, touch screen and all the necessary hardware tools to manage a video call appointment, to be booked by contact- ing the sales toll-free number, serving customers who do not have IT tools. Waidy Points have a 'digital facilitator' to provide support during the connection phase, combining innovation with proximity to customers who are less familiar with such channels.
The first six Waidy Points will be operational from May 2021 at the territorial branches of Tivoli, Frascati, Velletri and Subiaco, and new openings are planned in other municipalities of ATO 2.
Acea Ato 2 also guarantees for the Waidy Points compliance with the service levels provided by the Integrated Text for the regulation of the contractual quality of the Integrated Water Service (RQSII), applying the improvement standards defined by the Service Charter.
Also for AdF, access to the two AdF Points in Grosseto and Sie- na was allowed by appointment79, which could be booked through the sales toll-free number, the website or directly at both locations. Customers were also able to use the digital branch by appointment, assisted by a commercial operator via video call. This new method of contact has helped to increasingly transform the interaction with the customer into a moment of listening more attentively to specific needs. The customer clustering process, which began at the end of 2020, has led to the definition of new professional figures specifi- cally dedicated to the management of specific customer segments (Member Municipalities, Businesses, Condominiums, industrial waste) through confidential contact channels.
Gesesa has launched the campaign "Gesesa for you", to promote the new digital service “Prenotami” (Book me), with which customers can choose the day and time to access the branch by appointment. In 2021, the development of digital channels actually strengthened the ability of Group companies to remain close to their customers, and allow them to access services without the need to physically go to the branches.
Operating Companies also handle written complaints, following the processing of cases using information systems: from reporting to resolution.
For the energy service, the “replies to written complaints/enquir- ies” both by the sales Company and the distribution Company, are services included among the levels of commercial quality subject to regulation by the national Authority (see sub-paragraph Quality lev- els regulated by ARERA in the electricity sector). Likewise, for the water service, the contractual quality levels, specific and general, in- troduced by the Authority, also provide for management procedures and response times to enquiries, written complaints and requests for billing corrections (see sub-paragraph Quality levels regulated by AR- ERA in the water sector).
For the public lighting service, responses to written complaints/ enquiries are handled directly by Areti. In 2021, a total of 3,704 complaints/enquiries were received; this figure is slightly up on the 3,462 recorded in 2020; the company replied to 93% of them by 31 December.
Table no. 34 – Energy: performance of toll-free numbers and branches (2020-2021) (*)
|TOLL-FREE NUMBERS (*)|
|COMMERCIAL TOLL-FREE NUMBER (Acea Energia) - STANDARD MARKET SERVICE|
|total calls received||n.||704.705||774.011|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||95,00%||95,70%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||2'03"||1'48"|
|average conversation time||min. sec.||6'06"||6'03"|
|COMMERCIAL TOLL-FREE NUMBER (Acea Energia) - FREE MARKET (energy and gas) (**)|
|total calls received||n.||874.990||1.042.053|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||90,40%||93,20%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||1'36"||1'22"|
|average conversation time||min. sec.||7'18"||7'13"|
|FAULT TOLL-FREE NUMBER (Areti)|
|total calls received||n.||202.639||214.186|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||99,00%||97,60%|
|Average waiting time||min. sec.||0'51"||1'46"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||3'08"||3'37"|
|ILLUMINAZIONE PUBBLICA - NV GUASTI (ARETI)|
|Total calls received||n.||147.878||160.998|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||99,00%||97,40%|
|Average waiting time||min. sec.||0'44"||2'12"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||2'49"||3'00"|
|ILLUMINAZIONE CIMITERIALE - NV COMMERCIALE/GUASTI (ARETI)|
|Total calls received||n.||96.183||121.817|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||93,40%||98,50%|
|Average waiting time||min. sec.||0'49"||8'03"|
|Average conversation time||4'34"||4'34"|
|ACEA ENERGIA - SPORTELLO SERVIZIO DI MAGGIOR TUTELA|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued)||%||94,50%||99,80%|
|Average waiting time||min. sec.||8'40"||3'17"|
|average service time||min. sec.||11'34"||7'07"|
|ACEA ENERGIA - SPORTELLO MERCATO LIBERO (energia, gas e offerte)|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued)||%||98,10%||99,90%|
|Average waiting time||min. sec.||4'46"||4'13"|
|average service time||min. sec.||11'44"||8'49"|
(*) The volumes of channels subject to sector regulation are consistent with the calculation methods envisaged for reporting to ARERA. For example, for the toll-free numbers of Acea Energia and Areti, the average waiting time is the time that passes between answering, even if it is made through an automatic answering machine, and the beginning of the conversation with the operator or the end of the call if the caller hangs up before the beginning of the conversation with the operator.
(**) Includes data from the "WindTre Luce and Gas powered by Acea Energia" partnership service, active from 12 July 2021.
(***) Figures of branches were highly influenced in 2020 by closures imposed by the Covid-19 health emergency, which shifted contacts with customers predominantly to digital channels; in 2021, the number of visitors at branches was limited to those with appointments.
Table no. 35 – Water: performance of toll-free numbers and branches (2020-2021) (*)
|NV COMMERCIALE (ACE ATO 2 - Roma e provincia) (**)|
|total calls received||n.||1.021.728||1.059.740|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||88,60%||89,90%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||2'22"||2'17''|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||4'25"||4'30''|
|NV GUASTI (ACEA ATO 2 - Roma e provincia) (***)|
|total calls received||n.||462.063||427.973|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||99,60%||99,00%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||0'16"||0'15"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||2'34"||3'02"|
|NV COMMERCIALE (ACEA ATO 5 - Frosinone e provincia)|
|total calls received||n.||248.266||293.023|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||84,70%||85,30%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||2'19''||2'42"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||3'56''||4'09"|
|NV GUASTI (Acea Ato 5 - Frosinone e provincia) (***)|
|total calls received||n.||138.916||149.171|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||92,30%||80,60%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||0'40''||0'53"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||2'20''||3'55"|
|NV COMMERCIALE (GESESA - Benevento e provincia)|
|total calls received||n.||27.078||38.475|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||78,20%||73,50%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||2'34"||3'08"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||4'38"||5'00"|
|NV GUASTI (GESESA - Benevento e provincia)|
|total calls received||n.||15.814||16.708|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||82,50%||83,80%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||1'25"||1'12''|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||2'17"||2'27''|
|NV COMMERCIALE (GORI - provincie di Napoli e Salerno)|
|total calls received||n.||505.439||588.292|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||77,20%||78,00%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||4'52"||4'51"|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||5'33"||5'09"|
|NV GUASTI (GORI - provincie di Napoli e Salerno)|
|total calls received||n.||153.900||131.595|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||91,60%||95,60%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||1'03"||0'52''|
|Average conversation time||min. sec.||3'08"||3'26''|
|COMMERCIAL TOLL-FREE NUMBER (AdF - provinces of Grosseto and Siena) (****)|
|total calls received||n.||199.863||212.763|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||88,90%||89,70%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||3'02"||2'18''|
|average conversation time||min. sec.||5'10"||5'50''|
|FAULT TOLL-FREE NUMBER (AdF - provinces of Grosseto and Siena) (****)|
|total calls received||n.||71.284||57.793|
|service level (% of answers to calls received)||%||95,20%||97,50%|
|average waiting time before answer||min. sec.||0'50''||0'43''|
|average conversation time||min. sec.||3'32''||3'35''|
|ACEA ATO 2 (Rome - head office branch) (**)|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued)||%||99,80%||99,40%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||4'00''||1'00''|
|average service time||min. sec.||17'35"'||18'55''|
|ACEA ATO 5 (2 branches city and province of Frosinone)|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued)||%||100%||100%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||10'00''||1'15''|
|average service time||min. sec.||9'50''||16'12''|
|GESESA (1 branch Benevento and province) (******)|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued)||%||n.d.||100%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||n.d.||0'42''|
|average service time||min. sec.||n.d.||14'42''|
|GORI (6 branches in the provinces of Naples and Salerno)|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued) (****)||%||98,40%||94,40%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||14'32"||13'13"|
|average service time||min. sec.||10'21"||16'43"|
|AdF (7 branches in the provinces of Grosseto and Siena) (*******)|
|service level (% customers served/tickets issued)||%||100%||100%|
|average waiting time||min. sec.||6'00"||2'00''|
|average service time||min. sec.||13'00"||15'00''|
(*) The volumes of channels subject to sector regulation are consistent with the calculation methods envisaged for reporting to ARERA. For example, for the fault toll-free number, 'total answers' means, in line with the Authority's guidelines, 'total answers within TMA' and 'service level' means the% of calls with TMA within the standard.
(**) the 2021 figures of Acea Ato 2 for both toll-free numbers and the branch are being consolidated and have not yet been communicated to the Authority.
(***) Calls handled by the automatic system or terminated by the customer during navigation within the interactive voice responder are also considered as answers. The figures of the 2021 fault toll-free number are still being consolidated.
(****) The 2020 figures have been adjusted for consolidation in line with what has been communicated to the Authority (for commercial toll-free number: total calls received, total answers, service level), while the 2021 figures are being consolidated and have not yet been communicated to the Authority.
(*****) Figures of branches were highly influenced in 2020 by closures imposed by the Covid-19 health emergency, which shifted contacts with customers predominantly to digital channels; in 2021, access to branches was only allowed to those with appointments.
(******) The closure of branches in 2020, due to the health emergency, and a technical failure of the queue manager meant that the data needed to monitor trends in waiting times were not available; even the 2021 data must be considered partial.
(*******) The 2020 data have been adjusted for consolidation in line with what has been communicated to the Authority (for the branches of Grosseto and Siena provinces: tickets issued, customers served, service level, average service time), while the 2021 data are being consolidated and have not yet been communicated to the Authority. The 2020 values in relation to the branches refer to 7 branches in the first two months and 2 branches, with appointment-based access, in the second half of the year, after the lockdown. For 2021, the values refer to 2 branches accessible by appointment only.
73The Protocol was signed in 2016 between the Associations and the companies Acea Energia, Areti, Acea Ato 2 and Acea Ato 5; since December 2020, Gesesa has also joined the ADR body. Three other Group companies active in the water sector, not included in the scope of the NFS, are signatories of the Protocol, and have received a total of 22 requests for ADR procedures, 13 of which are considered eligible.
74Since February 2017 the ADR Body has been included by resolution in the list maintained by the Authority.
75In compliance with ARERA resolution 228/17 and Article 66 quinquies of the Consumer Code.
76Like the 2020 figure, the figure for G.O. certified green energy sold in 2021 by Acea Energia and AEMA also includes the main Group companies’ internal consumption, which
contributes approximately 420 GWh out of an estimated total of 2,300 GWh. The final calculation is expected in March 2022, and the consolidated data will be updated in the
next reporting cycle.
77Regulation EU 679/2016 (GDPR)..
78The figure shows a significant increase, also as a result of the change in billing frequency for some users (from quarterly to bimonthly).
79For the use of branches by appointment, the Authority has introduced an additional standard, linked to the maximum time of appointment at the branch. The maximum time
for the agreed appointment at the branch is the time between the day on which the Operator receives the request for an appointment at one of its branches from the end user
and the day on which the appointment is made available at that location.