Inertia or Habit?

The recent Tory manifesto commitment to cap Standard Tariffs for electricity and gas supplies once again raises the question; despite cost advantages of switching why do so many utility customers stay with their suppliers?

Some observers put this down to conservatism, inertia or complex pricing structures. But there is growing evidence that customers value highly the sense of comfort and hassle‐free reliable supplies, even if the cost is higher. They may be wary of the switching process, will there be an interruption of supplies, can I trust the new supplier etc.?

When there is no cause for dissatisfaction, customers are often reluctant to change. A comfortable and satisfactory habit is very hard to break.

An engineering client, who offers a superior product and outstanding service still finds it difficult to persuade a competitor‘s client to switch suppliers. Unless there is a calamity! Then they are more receptive to change. Once the engineering company can demonstrate superior performance and hassle-free service, they are then difficult to dislodge.

What might this mean for other companies? Price issues can be treated differently if the customer always remains satisfied. If something does go wrong (product, invoicing, service etc.) the message is clear ‐ fix it quickly and the customer is far more likely to remain. Failure to take care can lose the customer and getting the customer back is extremely difficult.

But beware, this may only apply to the more mature customer segment. Millennials have quite a different attitude, familiar with mobile devices they are happier to shop around and have less feeling of loyalty. So, it is also important to understand your customer profile and address their needs accordingly.

Tinderbox Business Development can assist you given our real practical experience and success in this area. If you are serious about retaining and capturing new customers or concerned about these matters, give us a call on 0116 232 5231 or contact us at

David Beer

Tinderbox Partner London East Region

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