Trust is paramount for the future
CUB believes customers trust is paramount for the future.
CUB UK, have been setting precedence for customer care standards and believe that all businesses in the sector should follow suit to restore consumer faith.
Complaints and the energy industry can sometimes seem like they go hand-in-hand, with the opinion polls based on trust, inevitably putting energy suppliers and consultancies at the lower end of the spectrum for consumer confidence. Within the Edelman Trust Barometer Report, the energy sector is listed at one of its lowest points in years, below banking and the media, with UK opinions of the industry being a full 28% lower than the global average.
Issues against the ‘Big Six’ suppliers have gone up significantly according to a new league table released by Consumer Futures (now under New National Consumer Council) and a call from customers and consultancies for a Third Party intermediary code of practice to better regulate and protect customers is in the planning stage. The issue goes further, with the Energy Ombudsman reportingthat more than 10,000 complaints were made by consumers in the first three months of 2014, which is a big increase when compared to the same period in 2013.
This puts all businesses within the industry, whether they are suppliers, consultancies or brokers, into a difficult position and discredits those who follow good practices. Unlike reputation which can be based on past experiences with clients, trust is something that is harder to gain and easy to lose. Factors often driving peoples’ trust in energy include cost, reliability, sustainability and cleanliness.
CUB UK have in place a ‘5 Star Customer Promise’ to hold the company to account, setting the standard a customer can expect from working with them. The approach CUB UK take, by showing all charges and explaining the tendering process with clients, puts any worries or doubt to rest.
Louis Fairfax, Managing Director at CUB UK, spoke about the reasons the business introduced the promise to customers: ‘We’ve been in the business for 20 years and everything we do is for our customers. If we find that a customer isn’t happy, we respond to feedback quickly and efficiently’
‘We give our customers a dedicated Account Manager who is supported by a billing team who can handle any issues that our clients face, taking away the stress that it could pose on them and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We promise that queries will be acknowledged within 24 hours of them being brought to us.’
The feedback that CUB UK has received over several years has been positive, with their 5 star feedback rating receiving 92% satisfaction (source: 21st May 2014 data). Plus they have resolved 92% of all billing queries received within 30 days since the start of the New Year. The business has also seen positive figures with 59% of all new business sites being signed and a retention rate for customers at 99% with 62% retention rate on existing customer sites.
Jodie Busby, Business Development Team Leader, said: ‘The fact the percentage new business coming in has been so high is a good sign that as a consultancy, we are offering customer’s packages that suit their needs, and the feedback from customers supports that. One of the things our customers like is the fact that we display a breakdown of costs making it transparent, helping clients make informed decisions. This also is the same for our retention rate.’
CUB have also gained zero objections to contract cancellations from suppliers since November 2014, meaning their customers, when due for renewal, don’t get tied into rollover contracts and can explore their options for a new contract.
Vicky Peat, Head of Business Support at CUB UK, went on to say: ‘With the introduction of the TPI Code of Conduct being negotiated, we want to be one step ahead, making sure that we put in place measures to support our position as a consultancy you can have confidence in when dealing with businesses energy requirements.’
On the Edelman Trust Barometer Report, family businesses and SME’s sit at the top of the list for most trusted businesses in the EU, with family owned businesses trusted by 76% of those questioned and SMEs sitting at 68%.
As the energy consultancy comes up to 20 years in the industry, response to family businesses being at the top of the list for trust with customers is positive for a consultancy that has strong foundations built on the family ethos of trust and honesty.
Louis spoke of his delight for the findings of the Trust Barometer Report: ‘When you’re a family business that has gone through three generations, you understand that relationships and communication are key to success and gaining trust, not just of staff and board members, but of customers too. We pride ourselves on our reputation and have customers that have been with us since the very beginning.’
Another statistic that came out of the Edelman Trust Barometer Report was that with energy companies sitting in a similar position overall with governments on a trust level, it will make things harder for the consumer to trust the decisions made to improve the energy dilemma that the UK faces. With the relationship between the two bodies being of greater importance at times like these, getting the public and consumers trust is paramount for the future, and with the introduction of the TPI code of conduct consumer trust can be restored with better legislation.