Trust and loyalty in the energy sector
There are an estimated 27.8 million households* in the UK. The vast majority of these households represent potential customers of energy providers. That is a huge market but with the advent of aggregator websites and apps and a proliferation of new providers the sector has become extremely competitive and energy companies are now operating in what has been termed a ‘switcher culture’. For established providers, operating in this sector has changed beyond recognition.
Long gone are the days of households staying with the same energy provider and the domination of the ‘Big Six’ has been steadily eroding.
We last ran this piece of research in 2018 and to say that there have been some dramatic events during the three years that have passed since would be something of an understatement! At the time of writing the world is still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. The word unprecedented has been overused, yes, but it does seem like the most appropriate adjective to describe the last 18 months. Utility companies, like all other businesses, have been severely challenged by Covid-19. The situation demanded an agile response, and many have risen to the challenge.
There has been a shift towards digital channels and a proliferation of new apps to enable communication and for customer service provision during lockdown. Add to this various mergers and acquisitions, more new providers popping up, changes in legislation and technological innovation, a surge in environmental activism and ambitious commitments for energy efficiencies being made by Governments around the world, and you have an evolving, challenging and highly competitive
Consumers are demanding ever more from their suppliers and benefit from a greater choice of suppliers and technology than ever before – and the means to change providers easily. Only those businesses that can adapt, innovate and give consumers what they want will compete and succeed.
Despite the dramatic events of the last 18 months, there is some consistency across the results between 2018 and 2021 – price and customer service are still the main influences on consumers loyalty and trust for example. The importance of green credentials has increased, as has the preference for digital communication – even amongst the older demographics.