Businesses are always searching for ways to reduce their outgoings. One such strain on the finances of many small companies is the amount being spent every month on gas and electricity.
Keeping an office operational is extremely expensive, especially with the ‘Big Six’ energy firms seemingly heaping more pressure on cash-strapped firms at a time when the business landscape is changing all the time.
Big Six neglecting customer service
The ‘Big Six’ are often criticised for providing poor customer service or for regularly cranking up the price of energy, but new figures released by Consumer Focus, a consumer watchdog, has revealed that complaints in the first three months of 2012 fell by 7 per cent compared to last year. EDF Energy ranked as the worst performers of the ‘Big Six’ and while the drop in the number of complaints will be hailed by these companies as a step in the right direction, it’s clear that more needs to be done to address the level of service received in general.
A spokesman at Makeitcheaper.com says, ‘According to our own research among business customers, it’s the smaller energy companies that have a better reputation than the Big Six.
‘Fast and friendly’ is what we heard most of all when we asked for the things that make their customer service stand out. With the customers who were most dissatisfied with their energy supplier we found that 55 per cent were unhappy with billing issues and 40 per cent found their customer service attitude to be below par.
‘That’s one of the reasons why we’ve launched a service that’s dedicated to taking care of any issues that customers need resolving with their energy supplier at any point in their contract.’
What can be done to save energy
In 2010, Make It Cheaper business savings on gas and electricity amounted to in excess of £40 million. As well as using online resources like this, though, businesses can implement a few measures of their own quickly and easily to save energy and money in the workplace. These include:
• Investing in energy-saving products. These may be more expensive when compared to traditional products, but they should last longer, save energy and save money in the process. Consider the long-term gains when buying things like energy-saving light bulbs and office appliances.
• Educating your workforce. Give staff a friendly reminder of their responsibility to turn off electrical appliances after use, switch off lights when they exit a room and to turn off PCs and other equipment at the end of the day. Monitors and TVs should never be left on standby. Getting the basics right is important.
• Changing the office environment. Turning down air-conditioning units or the central heating a few degrees is proven to be a money-saving trick that so many companies can adopt. Use timers to turn off the air con or heating during out-of-office hours.
• Allowing remote working. If this is an option then allowing staff to work remotely from home – perhaps once a week could have a significant impact on gas and electricity bills. It can also lead to staff being more productive as they don’t have the usual office distractions.