A green utility firm in the UK has bucked the odds by winning an award for customer service, something small-business owners have graded utility providers poorly on.
Green Energy UK, which supplies green and renewable electricity to homes and businesses in Britain, was just named “Customer King 2010” at Cisco’s and Real Business magazine’s annual customer service awards. the utility company was chosen over more than 100 other businesses to land the top prize for creating the best customer experience.
The award stands in stark contrast to the findings of Cisco’s survey of 1m000 British SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) last month, which ranked utility providers second to bottom for customer service, only just ahead of trains. However, Green Energy UK has shown that it operates differently from other utility provider.
For one, it is the only private company in the UK to offer customers the opportunity to part-own the company by giving them free shares. This unique scheme rewards customers for making the decision to go green with their electricity. It also encourages Green Energy UK customers to make suggestions at any time to improve the business, and enables them to attend the annual meeting and put questions to the board.
“We are a small company that has come a long way in less than a decade of trading in what is a highly competitive market dominated by heavyweights,” said Doug Stewart, Green Energy UK’s founder and chief executive. “The success of Green Energy UK is built on bringing new, clean energy sources to market, coupled with treating customers with respect and intelligence and involving them in the business. To be recognised like this by Cisco and Real Business is a fantastic accolade, one I’m naturally proud of, particularly as customer service in our industry is not highly regarded. I am especially pleased for the team here, as it recognises the excellent work they do in making Green Energy UK a success.”
Judges praised Green Energy UK for its online customer area, which enables customers to upload meter readings, compare their electricity use with previous months and years, and sets targets and provides guidance on how to reduce their electricity use further. The judging panel also noted on the ease with which customers can get through to the company’s staff.
“Customer Kings celebrates those businesses that show innovation and excellence when it comes to creating a lasting customer relationship,” said David Critchley, Cisco UK’s head of SME and commercial. “Green Energy UK has both of those qualities in abundance, blending a unique idea with a well honed understanding of its customer base and building a truly memorable brand and experience as a result. We are thrilled to recognise them as worthy winners of this year’s contest.”
The success of Green Energy UK reflects not only the hard work of the company to grow, but also the desire of green consumers who have switched their buying habits to an energy company that is responsible in what it does.
Well done everyone. It’s really nice to hear when hard work pays off.
I work for a nonprofit that hosts an annual small business award, so I find this story inspiring — even more so since we’re in the U.S. Thanks for posting!
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