SPL Research Customer Needs

23 July 2002 SPL WorldGroup, a global customer management solutions company, has released data indicating that electricity consumers in Italy, France and the UK are not educated enough in deciding on what services, offered by the utilities, will best suit their needs.

Ending a year long study, which asked 1500 consumers in all three nations, what they wanted in terms of changes, results showed that lower costs followed by better service were rooted at the top of the wish-list. SPL gather that price is the main driver of customer choice. There are some consumers that see service as a primary reason for switching suppliers.

The UK is the most advanced in terms of switching suppliers, as its market has been fully liberal for over four years. This is why consumers switching levels have reached 38 per cent in the gas market and 36 per cent in the electricity market. Italy is still in its teething process; therefore consumers may have to wait a few years before they can reap the full benefits of lower costs after changing supplier. France has yet to offer such services.

Consumers in all three countries opted for separate bills as opposed to one single bill. Andrew Dean, vice president sales, EMEA, SPL WorldGroup says 60 per cent opted for separate bill while 28 per cent preferred a single bill. The reason for this, he believes, is customers may be put off with the fact of being unclear of what they are paying for. Customers want a breakdown of each bill service they use, so to have a combined bill would make them aware of that.

But this, says Dean, is down to misinformation. Consumers have not been informed that a breakdown of gas, electricity or telecoms etc will be presented in each single bill. One way of deterring this, says a SPL official, is to produce sample bills to encourage and sway consumers.

In each market the questionnaire was administered to 500 adults aged 15+ via CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing) methodology.

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