We’re a straight-talking bunch at CNG Switch; always have been since day one. The red face test is something we use as a way to decide if we are doing the right thing – if your broker was explaining their practices to someone, would they be embarrassed and left with a red face?
When we started CNG Switch, we wanted to be different. The 3000 plus energy broker market has been left unregulated for years and we knew that in order to stand out above the rest, we had to make ourselves fully compliant, doing the right thing by the customer no matter what.
According to a recent Cornwall insight report 40% of businesses don’t use a broker to manage their energy, but can you blame them? Reports from Ofgem over the last few years revealed that 85% of the SMEs surveyed had been contacted by a broker within a 12 month period, with almost half being contacted over 10 times, and the average number of contacts around 28! More and more frequently we hear of brokers hounding customers, falsifying contracts and being unclear about their services and fees.
So we came up with a proposition, to be a value driven energy broker and with very little in the market, we knew that there was a desire for this. We went to the market to educate our clients – not to sell to them, to build relationships and be there for them when they need us. Simple, consistent, honest, fair. We ensure the partners we work with share these same values too, and believe that by using partners customers know and trust, instead of those who just offer the best terms has contributed to our high customer retention rate, which is at 75%!
The last thing customers want is to be ripped off, and some suppliers suggest price caps on commission of around 1.5p which we welcome. However, there are known stories where brokers are adding upwards of 4p onto contracts, where they are working off uncapped legacy agreements and continuing to add in high levels of commission – so the customer being ripped off is exactly what is happening. Brokers aren’t fully to blame though. Unfortunately we are seeing more and more suppliers making themselves look increasingly attractive to brokers by offering substantial cash advances for an agreed number of contracts, or paying commissions in full upfront which brokers are taking full advantage of. As a result, customers are falling victim of unfair deals and not getting the best deal or service.
Ultimately for us, it is about doing the right thing for the customer – saving them both time and money. We wholeheartedly believe in best practice, so are always prepared to take the red face test when it comes to how we operate – can your broker do the same?