With the number of consumers switching energy suppliers rising by 15% in 2017, suppliers are facing the challenge of not only competing for new business but also to retain their existing customers on more than just price in an even broader market.

Modern consumers expect high levels of value-add service and with the process of switching easier than ever, there is far less to deter existing customers from seeking out a better deal. Additionally, independent suppliers currently have an approximate 18% share of the market compared to just 5% in 2013, giving consumers even more choice.

Understanding switch mentality

Research recently carried out by KPMG highlights the three main reasons for switching- lower prices, better service and a wider product range. The question is how can energy suppliers encourage some of the 5.5 million customers who switched providers to remain as a valued customer?

Communication is key to offering the best of value-add service to customers, providing them with access to online services and the ability to provide feedback.

It’s important to consider which channel will be the most effective for customer service teams to deliver on this. With UK adults checking their smartphone on average 150 times a day this means that mobile is not only a key channel for acquisition and service but also customer communication.

By sharing updates, reminders and access via SMS, suppliers are able to communicate with customers in real-time and crucially enable them to complete their transaction using their preferred device. Streamlining the customer journey with SMS enhances the efforts of the customer service team through a more cost-effective and powerful mobile channel that consumers are already engaging with on a regular basis.

The switch solution

Delivering prices, services and new product offers via SMS enables suppliers to personalise their communications as well as share news directly to their customer’s mobile device.

Gathering feedback from existing customers and those who do choose to switch is an essential part of improving retention and customer service. Mobile surveys sent via SMS record responses instantly and most importantly allow customers to complete the feedback form via their mobile phone in just a few clicks.

The opportunities of SMS make it the ideal channel to help solve the issue of customer retention within the industry by putting the consumer in control and at the centre of all communications. Only by delivering customer value and quality service through channels that modern consumers are already receptive to can energy suppliers start to transform the relationship between providers and their customers.

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