Identifying consumer vulnerability

What does the UK Energy Crisis mean for Utility Brands and how can they protect their consumers?

Over the past two weeks, news of an Energy Crisis in the UK has built concern for utility brands and consumers. This crisis maps out an increase in wholesale energy prices meaning greater pressure on smaller utility brands (those prioritising greener energy and localism) and consequently greater energy bills for consumers. These soaring prices will undoubtedly see a rise in inflation, ultimately making the cost of living that bit more expensive for most households in the UK, making data quality and identifying vulnerable consumers an essential part of any Utility Brands communication.

At least 6 suppliers have already decided to exit the UK market amid threats of rising wholesale prices, leaving at least 835,000 households open to new suppliers. Ofgem have ensured that these households will be protected by energy price caps, yet new suppliers must ensure these consumer records are accurate. Establishing a trusted and seamless relationship from the get-go.

How can Utility Brands Secure Customer Loyalty?

According to the energy regulator Ofgem, energy bills are estimated to rise between 12-43% from October. Customers want to know that their provider is doing everything possible to protect their data. This means keeping data clean and up to date for marketing communication needs to be timely, informative, and accurate.

The importance of having an up-to-date database will allow utility brands to contact consumers at the correct address with information regarding their personal tariff, utility bills and changes to energy prices. Ensuring consumer wellbeing is central to the marketing strategy over the coming months. Having up to date gives you a much better understanding of the way your customer behaves.

Overall, if you want to increase your customer base and establish a sense of trust and transparency between your brand and your customer, you need to do everything you can to optimize your communications and, having accurate customer data will improve your marketing strategy while building trust and loyalty.

What can Utility Brands do to Identify Vulnerable Consumers?

The cherry on the top for lower-income households will be the latest government proposal to increase National Insurance payments and decrease Universal Credit. Utility brands, therefore, need to prioritise identifying vulnerable consumers and those most likely to struggle with rising costs.

REaD Group’s Consumer Vulnerability Score Model can identify these consumers, helping brands tailor their communications, and helping with debt ratio, identifying potential problems for consumers before major issues occur. It also allows utility brands to tailor home visits, and maintenance management to suit consumer needs, avoiding costly reputational damage, adhering to best practice guidelines and ultimately, protecting the consumer’s wellbeing.

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