Guest Blog: Mark Loveday – Blackpool’s finest illuminates on trust

Well done Lyn Barnes of Blackpool’s Select Energy Direct. She is this year’s Unsung Hero at The Energy Live Consultancy Awards. One reason we sponsored this award was to shine […]

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By ELN reporter

Well done Lyn Barnes of Blackpool’s Select Energy Direct. She is this year’s Unsung Hero at The Energy Live Consultancy Awards.

One reason we sponsored this award was to shine a light on people in the UK’s energy consultancies who consistently do a good job for their customers. Improving customers’ experience of the energy sector helps build trust, and it’s the people serving customers that deliver the experience.

Judging by Lyn’s exuberance collecting the award on stage, it worked. She was chuffed to bits! And what better time to ask for a raise than with an award in hand and 400 witnesses cheering you on. Recognition is a great motivator and I have no doubt this award will help Lyn keep giving her all for her customers.

Unsung Hero Lyn Barnes accepts her award on TELCA night. Image: ELN / Ash Garwood
Unsung Hero Lyn Barnes accepts her award on TELCA night. Image: ELN / Ash Garwood

After the ceremony, we asked Lyn a few questions about what winning meant and her thoughts on the energy market.

How do you feel about winning?

Overwhelmed. I am a modest person, but I am so happy for the company.

How do you become an unsung hero?

You need to be able to take a diverse approach and be provided carte blanche by your company to do so. One of my customers once said they would have jumped off a cliff if it hadn’t been for me helping them solve their energy related issues.

What do you think about Ofgem’s Code of Practice?

It is a good thing. Ofgem need to introduce an impartial independent board with strong customer representation on it.

How should the energy market rebuild customers’ trust?

It needs to stop relying on training and procedures and empower its people to provide a personal touch. Keep it down to earth and say it how it is. How much will I pay? Is it going up or down? Could it change? Do I need to know about anything else…?

We agree (mostly)

We agree with a lot of what Lyn said.

Employees should feel empowered to get the best outcome for their customers.

Energy consultants should see the Code of Practice as a good thing for their businesses.

We should be down to earth with our customers and say it how it is about costs and other things that matter to them. That’s exactly how we market our products (check out these cost explanations) and transparency of charges is one of things the TPI Code of Practice is trying to achieve.

As for training and procedures, we think both are essential. Our research shows customers value our employees’ high level of competence (helped by training) and that we are a consistent company to deal with (helped by procedures).

But Lyn is right that procedures only go so far. A personal touch and initiative is invaluable when a procedure isn’t able to address a particular scenario. And that’s where experienced people can really make the difference.

Well done Lyn. We hope you get the reward and recognition you deserve!

Mark Loveday is Director of I&C Business at EDF Energy.