Customer service is “paramount” to good business relationships between energy brokers and the small and medium sized firms (SMEs) they work with.
That’s according to Contract Natural Gas, the UK’s largest independent supplier of natural gas which is a sponsor for The Energy Live Consultancy Awards (the TELCAs).
Jacqui Hall, Managing Director of CNG said: “We’re sponsoring the SME Best Customer Service Award because we believe customer service is paramount to our business and paramount to our customers. In the SME market, businesses get a bad deal and we want to look at best practice across the consultancy market.”
Treating your clients well is crucial or they’ll walk away, she said: “Some people would say that customer service in the utility industry isn’t so important but it is because if you get something wrong and you deal with that customer well, that customer stays with you. But if you get something wrong and you don’t deal with them very well, the customer will leave the next time that they have a chance to renew, so it is really important.”
When it comes to price versus customer service, people shouldn’t assume price beats all for SME customers.
Mrs Hall added: “The price isn’t necessarily the main driver for an SME customer. It’s all about relationship, building that business and working out where they can get good value. That’s not just about price, it’s about the service and the way that you deal with them. Once you have a relationship with a customer, they stay with you because you deliver a great service and you deliver other added value products as well.”
She believes brokers play an important role in the industry: “Consultants have helped us to build our business over the last few years and they are very important to us. We see them as one of our key stakeholders and we want to deliver a good service to them so it helps them deliver a good service to us.”
Firms which show good values will have the best chance in the SME Best Customer Service category, suggested the CNG boss: “We’re looking for the consultant to have good business practices, to have a good reputation and relationship with their clients and to put customer service in the forefront of their relationship.”