Ensuring that your customers have a great experience is important to any business, as it’s the key to attracting and retaining customers. In the energy sector, it’s never been more critical. Here at UGP our Customer Service Team put customers at the heart of what we do to ensure that we not only leave our customers satisfied, we also ensure that we make the right decisions, for the long term.
As Customer Service Manager, the success of my team is built according to these top 5 customer services values:
Put the customer at the heart of every conversation: Our customers deserve the human touch. Be open, be honest and really understand what the customer wants before then discussing the most appropriate action. Be sincere and be human! By truly listening to the query, no matter how big or small, solutions can be always found. It’s important to remember that customers are contacting us to help us, or for us to help them. Customer Service is an attitude not just a department!
Be aware of the news! There’s a lot happening worldwide that is affecting everyone. It is important that sensitivity is shown. That the challenges people are facing are acknowledged and that solutions are found to suit all. Being aware of news both worldwide and locally leaves customers feeling understood. It’s likely that what has affected us as individuals has also affected our customers. By empathising and understanding, the customer will feel valued.
Ownership: There is nothing worse than being passed from pillar to post and having to repeat queries over and over to different call handlers. By taking ownership, customer trust is increased significantly. In particular, if our customer has a complaint, it’s important to own it, deal with the issue from start to finish and reassure the customer that things are getting sorted. Give points of contact, how to get in touch and offer a truly exceptional ownership experience for all customers.
Honesty: If a task is going to take a number of days, we let our customers know. Don’t over promise just to give the customer what they want to hear as it will cause you problems later down the line. Keeping promises is crucial. One of my big frustrations as a customer is if something is wrong, being told that the issue will be sorted quicker than it will be in reality. This only increases my frustration.
Embrace complaints: Things do wrong from time to time. It is important to acknowledge this, hold your hands up to any mistakes and tell the truth. Blaming a system or trying to get around issues by not acknowledging what the issue is will only lead to customers becoming more frustrated. If something has gone wrong, admit the error, speak to customers explaining why, and what is going to happen to fix it. Our customers will not always like the reason why things have gone wrong, but make every effort to fix the issue in a timely manner and the trust will grow.
When talking to customers in a B2B environment, it’s our customers business, income and livelihoods they are talking to us about. Challenges will be faced and our aim is to make contacting UGP the easiest and most pleasurable experience that it can be. Feedback on how we are doing is welcomed, whether good or bad. The personal touch makes a huge difference in customer service ratings, and I pride myself and my team on this. Our team has superb success rates; over 98% of queries resolved satisfactorily and on time. Our complaint resolution times are industry leading and I take great pride in how low our repeat complaints are.
Working for a company that embraces my own personal values makes my job enjoyable and rewarding on a daily basis.
Selecting a new energy supplier, particularly for large and multi-site businesses, is a key element in controlling a significant business spend category. Many factors including customer service, reputation, ease of switch, administration and additional added value services are all key considerations. In this blog we examine the five most important factors large and multi-site businesses should consider when choosing a new energy supplier.
In the years ahead, demonstrating your commitment to environmental sustainability across all areas of the business, from waste management to encouraging staff to cycle or walk to work, will be the one of the biggest areas of adjustment faced by UK organisations. Partnering with a 100% renewable energy supplier will form an essential part of demonstrating to your clients your green credentials. Alongside this the government’s future net zero targets will apply increasing pressure to organisations to take advantage of renewable energy suppliers, meaning they could be rewarded or penalised on their sustainable strategies.
Understanding the past to inform the present and future. Nearly every business across the country has been through extreme changes in consumption over the past 2 years. From the severe consumption reductions of the first national lock-down to rapid increases following the post-pandemic boom analysing your daily and annual consumption pattern over this period will give business leaders real-life analysis of how and where consumption can be reduced in the future. In turn this will assist in lowering unit rates and overall spend alongside assisting your overall sustainable strategy.
Average daily consumption graphs. Displaying variances between Summer and Winter usage, along with differences between weekday/ weekends.
3) Price/ Contract Structure
Understanding your aims as a business, growth plans, potential expansion, and attitudes to risk (and potential rewards) are all key factors in determining your optimum contract structure. Selecting the correct structure will give you control over your energy spend and through using a supplier who gives you direct market access ensure that you are able to mitigate cost increases in a rising market and take full advantage of falling bearish market conditions.
One hidden element when taking an energy contract is the cost of management and administration. This element should form a key component of the decision-making process, no more so than for multi-site operations. Addressing this has 2 main advantages. Aligning end dates with 1 single supplier will:
a) Give significant cost advantages when tendering. Business who are tendering significant volumes will see cost reductions compared to tendering multiple times throughout the year for smaller groups.
b) Reduce the time admin and finance departments spend processes invoices, dealing with multiple suppliers over different issues.
For example, Independent Vet Care, a key client of United Gas & Power has over 1000 sites and prior to becoming a client of UGP had different contract end dates, different bill dates and invoices being submitted randomly across the year so had become an administration nightmare. UGP submitted a full proposal that contained these key components;
One single, consolidated billing date and process
A portal that IVC could access directly for site or consolidated information
100% renewable power
Dedicated IVC resources for future account management, with direct line access
Smart meter installation across all sites
Full and visible management information
Aligned contract end dates for all sites
You can read the full case study by clicking here. Therefore you should look for energy companies who are prepared to give you access to a portal that gives you all your information and dedicated account management.
5) Direct Supplier/ Live Market Access
This means that you have access to the organisations trading floor and expertise when it comes to energy trading. In this respect you’ll get advice and foresight on what the market is doing and can often lock in great energy deal for up to 5 years in advance.
United Gas & Power work with many large and multi-site businesses and we have the experience and knowledge to handle even the most complex of requirements. If you want to discuss further please click here to request a quote or click here for more information.
Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated every year on 5 June, engaging governments, businesses and citizens in an effort to address pressing environmental issues. In the last few years we have seen what a dramatic effect we have on the planet and by making changes we can have a positive impact. Businesses now have the opportunity to set an example to their employees and inspire them to make positive changes.
Did you know?
Over 4.7 million hectares of forests – an area larger than Denmark – are lost every year.
Nearly 80 per cent of the world’s wastewater is discharged to our oceans and rivers without treatment.
Wetlands are being drained for agriculture, with some 87 per cent lost globally in the last 300 years.
Present in more than 180 countries, peatlands are vital, super-powered ecosystems. Though they cover only 3 per cent of the world’s land, they store nearly 30 per cent of its soil carbon.
The theme of this years’ world environment day is #GenerationRestoration.
Ecosystem restoration means preventing, halting and reversing this damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it. This World Environment Day will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.
How Can Businesses Get Involved?
If you have an outside area, encourage gardening and planting plants and flowers that are bee and bird friendly.
Arrange a litter pick around the workplace.
Introduce a recycling scheme.
Arrange a volunteer day to clear up a nearby riverbank or beach.
Raise money to support restoration or conservation initiatives.
Discourage single-use plastic and give your employees a branded water bottle – this would also help with brand awareness!
Have a green team that consistently arranges activities that help against climate change.
Above all, World Environment Day offers a global platform for inspiring positive change. It pushes for individuals to think about the way they consume; for businesses to develop greener models; for farmers and manufacturers to produce more sustainably; for governments to invest in repairing the environment; for educators to inspire students to take action; and for youth to build a greener future.
The single most important thing a business can do is switch to a renewable energy supplier.
Speak to one of our team today and find out what a difference switching to UGP can make.
Plans have been submitted for a standby power generation facility in North Yorkshire, which would supply electricity to the National Grid at times of high demand.
Pegasus Group, on behalf of Energi Generation, has lodged an application with Harrogate Borough Council for a site in the village of Wormald Green, within the Monkton Mains Estate.
Planning consent is sought for a standby generation facility comprising 20 gas utilisation engines.
It would have a total capacity of 20 megawatts (MW) and would be contractually capped at 2,500 hours per year, with generating hours expected to be clustered between the months of November and February.
The facility would provide power to the National Grid to enable it to manage unforeseen demand and provide back-up power in times of high usage.
A planning statement submitted with the plans said: “At 0.25 hectares (0.62 acres) the proposed facility is small in scale and relatively low level and has been carefully designed and engineered to sit and fit within an under utilised parcel of land within the wider farm holding.
“It is envisaged that the gen set engines will primarily become operational for very short periods in the evenings, especially in the winter months, when the national grid calls upon reserve electricity to balance out the ‘real time’ gap between the increased demand and shortage of supply of electricity and thus avoid localised blackouts.”
Britain has managed a new record in running without any coal-fired power.
We hit over three days without coal, smashing the previous record just days after it was set, the National Grid has said. It’s the first time this has happened since the 19th century.
Only last week, the British grid saw its first two-day period without using any power from the polluting fossil fuel, which the Government has committed to phasing out by 2025.
A National Grid spokeswoman said: ‘Britain has clocked up over 72 consecutive hours without the need for coal-powered generation. ‘The record comes just days after the first ever two-day period where power generated from wind and gas dominated the mix of energy meeting the needs of electricity users across England, Scotland and Wales.’
In April last year, Britain went for its first full day without coal since the 19th century, and it accounted for less than 7% of the power mix in 2017, official figures show.
But experts warn that tackling climate change will require weaning the UK off all fossil fuels, including gas, which still plays a major part in powering and heating the country.
Dr Andrew Crossland, Associate Fellow of the Durham Energy Institute, said: ‘The challenge is that British coal is not just being substituted by renewable electricity – it is also being replaced by gas. ‘This often-overlooked fossil fuel pervades most of our energy system and it now provides 40% of our electricity and nearly all of our domestic heating needs and as a country we consume nearly eight times more gas than coal.’
He warned that an over-reliance on gas made the country vulnerable to the whims of international markets and that the fossil fuel is ‘nowhere near clean enough’ to meet the UK’s legal targets to cut climate change.
He called for renewed investment in renewable technologies, such as solar panels and batteries, to store power for homes and businesses and increased energy efficiency to reduce power use.
Prince William’s five o’clock shadow suggests first night as dad-of-three was a struggle Hannah Martin, from Greenpeace UK, said: ‘As coal power is phased out to prevent environmental disaster, and nuclear power phases itself out through economic disaster, the Government would be wise to support the cleanest and cheapest energy sources, onshore wind and solar.
‘Offshore wind has proven to be popular and able to provide affordable clean energy, as well as skilled jobs and fair bills. ‘As we have more and more days without coal, we need to make sure it is replaced with the renewable technologies of the future.’
The UK saved around 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide per capita in 2016 as power generation shifted from coal to natural gas.
That’s according to new research from Imperial College London, which says this is equivalent to taking a third of the country’s cars off the road.
The university’s researchers said natural gas produces less than half the carbon dioxide of coal when burned and added the strategy does not rely on building new gas infrastructure or increasing supply – only using existing infrastructure to its full capacity.
They also said although having the capacity and supply chain available to allow the switch was important, the biggest driver was the government’s carbon pricing policy.
The report suggests global carbon emissions could be cut by 3% in less than five years if other countries followed the same strategy.
Dr Iain Staffell from the Centre for Environmental Policy at the university, said: “Switching from coal to gas is not a long-term solution but it is an important step to start reducing emissions quickly and at minimal cost.
“This will give us time to build up the required renewable energy capacity to permanently cut global carbon emissions.”
Origen Power has been awarded a £1 million government grant to develop a new technology it says is capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air while generating power.
The grant will help fund the building of a 400kW prototype plant in the UK.
The process supplies natural gas to a high-temperature fuel cell – around half is converted into electricity and the remainder is turned into heat, which is used to thermally decompose limestone into lime and carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide created is stored underground, making the energy generated zero-emission and the lime absorbs even more of the greenhouse gas from the air when it is later used.
The firm says the method provides cost effective (£40/MWh), carbon-negative (-600kg/MWh) baseload power.
It believes if the Paris Agreement is to be achieved, it could be necessary to remove as much as 800 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using technologies like this.