James Graham explains why small, independent suppliers are driving improved customer service in the energy sector.

In the news today is a story about how the utility sector has seen the biggest drop in negative perception according to a recent survey. Which sounds positive, but our sector is still only ranked above public transport and train operators for service – which is not really much to be proud of!

But it does show that a shift is taking place. Customer service is getting better. The big utilities are putting a lot of effort and resources into trying to shake their bad reputations. And what is driving this shift?

Independent suppliers.

Those smaller, more flexible companies that are really focused on delivering a great personalised experience to their customers, because they know that’s what customers expect and deserve in today’s world.

These companies have many advantages over the big utilities when it comes to service – less legacy issues and better systems for a start. But the main difference is that they need their customers. Every single customer means something to them in a way that they just don’t to the incumbent suppliers. Therefore everything they do is focused on meeting the needs of their customers, and that translates into a great experience for those that choose to work with them.

SmartestEnergy has always a reputation for strong customer service in our industrial and commercial sector, and this has been recognised by independent surveys and awards in the past. And it’s recognised by our customers too – it’s one of the things they like most about working with us.

Earlier this year, we joined the Institute of Customer Service as part of our ongoing focus on making our service even better.

This will give us another opportunity to benchmark ourselves against the rest of the utilities sector and continue to prove that independent suppliers can offer the best customer service.

At least the story in today’s news is not completely negative, but let’s hope we can start seeing a lot more positive headlines about customer service in the future – with independent suppliers leading the way, of course!