The ‘Big Six’ energy companies have long dominated the market in the UK even though it has been possible for customers to easily switch supplier for over a decade.
These six providers – British Gas, E.On, EDF, Scottish Power, SSE and npower – have a combined 95 per cent of the UK market. This is compounded by the fact that even though it has been easy to switch supplier for a long time, two-thirds of British consumers have never changed their energy supplier.
So how do the smaller companies get a look? Some have focused on the environment, promising to supply energy that has less impact on the environment – for example, from renewable sources, but recently there has been a trend towards customers suggesting that they want to switch energy supplier so they can receive a better level of customer service.
Is customer service really driving up the adoption of small energy companies in the UK? Your Money magazine clearly thinks so in a recent article highlighting the pros and cons of switching to a smaller supplier.
Your Money highlights the main advantages of switching to a smaller company as the significantly lower prices, and the better customer service offered.
But if small always meant that the service is cheaper and better then surely most consumers would already have switched by now?
The smaller companies do not offer the perks of the larger ones, such as smart meters, or the Warm House Discount rebate, and some will ask you to pay up front for energy to be supplied in the future.
It is not always easy to compare one tariff with another and therefore it is only natural that many consumers remain loyal to the company they have used for years – they may even like the service they have received for many years.
But regardless of which supplier, isn’t it interesting to see that a desire for better customer service could be driving many customers to switch? Customer service is moving from something utilities just had to provide to a critical part of what they offer to consumers – now important enough to be a factor in the choice of whether or not to use that company.
Have you switched to try getting a better level of service or are you happy anyway? Leave a comment here or you can reach me on LinkedIn here.
Photo by Martin aka Maha licensed under Creative Commons