At the time of writing I have no idea what today’s CMA report into the energy markets will say.
But if it comes down to it and the Big Six are deemed a cartel (unlikely) but are repremanded for their customer service and selling techniques (likely), I can’t think of a bigger group of people to make a change than the brokers.
Today we are staging the inaugural Energy Live Consultancy Conference (ELCC), up in Manchester. More than 130 TPIs and brokers will be in attendance, from small firms to the big boys, they all have one thing in common.
They are the salesforce of the business energy sector.
CMA will no doubt concentrate on the ‘vote grabbing’ domestic sector and how the energy firms have been treating your gran but how they treat your local chippy or your large supermarket may well not be covered but it is as, if not more, important.
Businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and energy issues have a direct effect on our pockets as consumers. This week’s sad news of drastic job cuts at npower will hit the sales teams of that supplier hard. Sales and marketing and back office staff are almost always the first to go in tough times.
So if sales staff are cut who will be there to sell for npower? Most likely the brokers.
If the CMA says the Big Six and wider sector need to clean up their act when it comes to sales, who will have to up their game?
The brokers, after all they sell around 75% of turnover for all the big suppliers.
We were hoping to have a CMA spokesperson at today’s conference but they declined a few weeks ago, perhaps they knew that March 10th would be the red letter day. And when I asked Ofgem to come and talk about their ill fated ‘code of conduct’, they bailed saying they would have to wait to see the outcome of the CMA investigation!
Brokers are going to be more important in the coming years not less. If oil prices squeeze profits then other suppliers will follow npower and cut costs. And most likely cut sales people.
The consultants have been a big part of the sector for a decade but I think they are now going to be more important than ever, which is why the standards they operate under and the people they employ are vital for the reputation of the energy industry as a whole.
At ELCC we aim to offer the brokers education, advice and inspiration to be better at what they do and with TELCA we have spent the past three years raising standards and rewarding the best.
It’s the time for TPIs and if we at ELN can help them in some way to bring better service to you then we will have done a good job.
So if you are coming to today’s conference, enjoy the day and I hope you get a lot out of it.
And if you are an end user or supplier, it’s time you got to know your broker better. They’re not going away that’s for sure…