The new challengers in the energy market must be thanking the so-called “Big 6” for making their job easier. A report just out by Which? shows the polar extremes of customer satisfaction, much of it driven by trust.
On the satisfaction scores, the smaller companies such as Ecotricity, Ovo and Good Energy are over 80%. With nPower at 35% and Scottish Power at 41% none of the larger legacy retailers nudge above 50%.
Making matters worse for them, less than 20% of customers trust their suppliers.
Why can one group get it so wrong and others get it right? Only the internal workings of change programmes with workstreams that don’t talk to each other, customer impacts seen at best as an afterthought and metric obsessed planning meetings can answer that. But while companies like nPower are working hard to hang on to what they’ve got, the challengers are welcoming new customers in with open arms.
It may be their way of thinking. If those who run the Big 6 think and act like an energy company they may be missing the point. Ovo Energy for example has a culture where they are a tech company, a retailer and then an energy supplier. Subtle, but huge differences.
And what do we mean by trust? As in any thriving relationship it’s emotive and essential. Where one party shows contempt, whether perceived or real, the damage is often irreversible.
So little things add up. Making what should be simple enquiries or transactions difficult have consequences. Customers want their questions answered when they call in, not to find they’ve been routed through to the wrong department by an overly-eager IVR. They want agents to call them back when they said they would and they want to be able to understand their tariffs and bills. Business customers have different needs from residential yet a lack of empathy is all too often apparent.
Getting the employee experience is vital here too. If they’re not proud to be delivering the customer experiences they are asked to, the lack of connection shows. I’ve spent time with one of these companies where employees said they would rather make something up than tell people where they worked.
Reports like this latest update from Which? show the trend of shifting to new players continues. But it’s been doing that for some time and little seems to be changing. Maybe we should change their label to the “Running out of energy 6”.