Guest Blog: npower’s Chris Billing – Rewarding the consultants

Chris Billing is Head of Indirect Sales, responsible for overseeing the relationship that npower’s Industrial and Commercial team has with energy consultants and brokers. Here he talks about encouraging better […]

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By Geoff Curran

Chris Billing is Head of Indirect Sales, responsible for overseeing the relationship that npower’s Industrial and Commercial team has with energy consultants and brokers. Here he talks about encouraging better standards across the industry.

Rewarding the consultants
It probably sounds obvious, but improving your standards can not only help to deliver a better customer experience – but can also win you more business. In the past few weeks, I’ve heard first-hand experience of this, when talking to many of the consultants and third party intermediaries (TPIs) who’ve taken part in the recent TELCAs ceremony and regional roadshows.

The TELCAs – which stand for The Energy Live News Consultancy Awards – are now in their second year, with last month’s Oscar-style event attracting a growing number of attendees and entrants. This followed an inaugural series of TELCA regional awards and roadshows in May, where smaller consultancies gathered to hear expertise and advice from a range of presenters in Manchester, Birmingham and Reading.

Brainchild for best practice
The idea for the TELCAs came out of a brainstorm on how we could support more TPIs to embrace best practice and reward those who are already doing a great job, especially as there was so much bad press highlighting the negative experiences at the bottom end of the market.

We were delighted when ELN decided to take this initiative on and turn it into such a success – and even more so to see so many consultancies competing for recognition of the great service, innovations and advice they are offering to business consumers (read more about this year’s winners).

Positive, negative… it’s all good
With so many consultants under one roof for the main awards, I also found it useful to listen to their feedback. Several were eager to share that they’d been winning new business, having taken on board some of the ideas and insight myself and colleagues had shared during the regional roadshows. Others were keen to point out areas were we could serve them better. And while positive feedback is always good to hear, constructive criticism is perhaps more helpful when it comes to improving our own service.

We are already investing in and developing the services and capability we offer to TPIs. For example, our team is growing and we’ll be offering more TPIs a single named point of contact to support them and their clients. Our range of consultant-only products are also better meeting demand for basket deals and flexible-buying support, making these benefits available to smaller business consumers.

The key to implementing such improvements is listening to what TPIs and their clients have to say. It’s a partnership approach – and by working together, I believe we can deliver an ever-improving service for everyone.