Research reveals ‘what customers want’ from business energy providers

Gazprom Energy, has announced the results of a survey of UK energy buyers, showing what impacts their buying decision and choice of energy provider. Above all else, price competitiveness remains the number one thing that seals the deal.

By Freddie Rand

86% of the survey’s 300 respondents, ranging from large corporates to small SMEs, are looking for energy pricing that is both fair and competitive. This was closely followed by transparent pricing – important for 85%, clear and accurate invoices for 83% and good overall value for money also for 83%. These figures show that customers are evaluating energy providers on a range of price related areas.

After financial factors came the need for supplier simplicity; 80% want letters and communication from their energy provider to be easy to understand and 71% want things made simple and straightforward for them. This demonstrates the importance, even in more complex business energy contracts, of uncomplicated customer contact.

The reasons organisations choose to switch energy provider were also given, again reinforcing energy users’ cost concerns. The top switching trigger, which was cited by 44% of respondents, was wanting “a better deal for my business”. This was followed by other financial motivations. Next was the current supplier’s renewal quote being higher than expected, then being approached with a good alternative offer.

Customer service was the second reason for switching providers – triggered both by service dissatisfaction and word of mouth recommendation. This shows that even though energy decisions are often defined first by price, energy providers must continue to prioritise individual customers’ needs.

The survey also asked businesses what three improvements they’d most like to see from their current energy provider. Price factors came top again, in the form of an easy to understand pricing structure for 43%, then incentives and loyalty discounts for 36% and flexible contract terms for 34%. The other most frequent ‘wants’ from customers were: installation of smart metering or automated meter readers; simpler bills and; being given a direct point of contact such as an account manager.

Yvonne Henderson, Marketing & Communications Manager, Gazprom Energy, commented on the findings, “The research clearly shows that price competitiveness is critical to meeting customer needs in the business energy sector, although other factors such as quality of service and effective communication are vital parts of the package too.

“At Gazprom Energy we’ve been investing in a number of initiatives that help our customers large and small to benefit in all of these areas, including our free InSight market information platform that allows flexible contract customers to monitor the market more effectively, along with our simple online tools for customers to purchase highly competitive fixed contracts very easily.”

The research was conducted independently by Mustard Research.

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