Feedback on testing energy partnerships

(Phil Hewinson) #1

We just posted a blog post on testing energy partnerships and we’d love your feedback!

What We Know About the Partnerships / FAQ :handshake: :bulb: :metro: :house_with_garden: (open Wiki)
We’re Building Monzo into a Marketplace
POLL: Where do you currently bank? And will you switch?
Switching Energy provider offer in feed
(Jason) #2

I’ve just registered someone I know would benefit from a switch and has asked me to sort it for them. I have a task to link them up and would have looked at cheaper greener alternatives myself. They are a great example of someone who would just stick to their current overpriced setup without someone to guide them throqgh the process; an ideal test candidate for you.

(MikeF) #3

As someone who has switched annually for the last 3 or 4 years this is sort of interesting.

I say ‘sort of’ only because I’m on the cheapest deal I can possibly find (10 months after the last switch) so,by rights, I wouldn’t expect to see anything that can beat my current price.

It’s one of those things where I’m really interested in achieving a better deal but as I’m on such a good one, I’d be a little put off if you start offering me something more expensive.

(On a recent price comparison site visit I was offered a £150 increase in my bill as the cheapest offer)

(Andrew Schofield) #4

I hope that isn’t the only information, as that will provide woefully inaccurate estimates.

( surohpotsirhC) #5

As you guys already have a relationship with MSE I think it would be more beneficial to link in with their Cheap Energy Club.
There’s a proper comparison to be had.

(Morgan ) #6

Hi guys,

Firstly I think this and the marketplace in general is a good idea. You guys have to make money somehow and I would want it to be in providing services which help make money and life in general less stressful, which I know has been the aim of Monzo for a while anyway.

One thing I would hate to see this become though, is an avenue for selling or leaking customer data. Is there a way to get quotes while remaining anonymous? I don’t want to start getting phone calls, emails, or even Facebook ads for energy providers if I use this service or any other marketplace service. In fact, I’d be happy to pay a small fee each month to remain completely anonymous to anyone but Monzo while operating in the Monzo marketplace. Thoughts?

(tom) #7

My thoughts are not fully-formed yet, but I’d like to try to articulate how we’re thinking about this.

Some people spend the time and effort to really optimise their finances - they keep spreadsheets listing their different bank accounts, they switch gas and electricity every 12 months to get the absolute best deal, always get the best cashback offers etc etc.

But that takes a lot of work, and it’s just too much effort for most people. We’re not talking about a handful of people being a bit lazy - an astonishing 66% of households are on a standard variable tariff. 2 out of every 3!

I’m currently one of those people! I could spend time calling my energy company to switch, but I’ve got about a million emails to get through and Monzo Community Forum posts to write :wink:

So we want Monzo to be a financial control centre that presents you with these kinds of money-saving opportunitites and gives you the ability to switch in one or two clicks. I think it will always be possible to find a strictly cheaper gas and electricity deal (if only by a few pounds) somewhere out there, if you’re a power-user and put the time into researching and manually switching. We want our options to be cheap enough that you always know you’re getting a good deal, and so easy that the 66% of people can take up the offer in a couple of seconds.

Does that make sense?

I totally agree with you. Monzo needs to be the trusted custodian of your data and identity and as well as your money.

We will never transfer your data to a third party without your permission, so you should never receive emails or calls you didn’t expect. We are always thinking about ways we could be inadvertently making you trackable, and how to avoid that as well. Thanks for raising the point :+1:

How should Monzo get paid for marketplace products?
What We Know About the Partnerships / FAQ :handshake: :bulb: :metro: :house_with_garden: (open Wiki)
(Andrew Schofield) #8

You know you don’t actually have to talk to your existing supplier at all right? I suspect a large chunk of people on the SVRs believe it’s too much hassle to switch, including the Energy minister which is laughable. It takes at most 5 minutes to switch to another company if you do it manually. If you use MSE’s comparison site that takes another 5 minutes to set up, they send you an email every time a new tariff is released that meets your savings threshold. I honestly don’t understand why people think this is hard work.


I suspect many of the people on these forums aren’t really your target market :wink: as many

  • are early adopters of a financial product
  • spend time interacting on the forum of this product

And are therefore savvy enough to be getting the best deals on their own.

(Danny) #10

This for me as well

I even got a letter from British Gas saying switch to Sainsbury Energy as it would save me loads but that was effort and I have stayed with British Gas… Too lazy to do it that and I also have loads of E-Mails to go through and multiple forums to troll :eyes: :upside_down_face:

(tom) #11

This is a very, very important point that I think we (Monzo staff and community members) sometimes forget…

(Morgan ) #12

My first post, CEO responds. Classic Monzo. :muscle::clap:

Great stuff. This, the control you give me over my money and your transparency is why I bank with you guys. Android CA holder at the moment but I’ve yet to switch everything over.

Pareto 80/20 rule applies, so fair enough.

Actually I just switched to bulb, and did so because they were transparent and clear about pricing, offered renewable energy and had great reviews. It helped that they were cheaper but that wasn’t my primary motivation, in fact they were clear about not being the cheapest. In a way this is more feedback for the bulb team, but it is something to consider when setting up your marketplace. Being the absolute cheapest isn’t the most important thing to me (while it may be to some). It’s a tradeoff between that and other USPs and customer experience.

Thanks for replying Tom, very helpful and good to hear it from you directly. Kudos to the whole Monzo team for their great work!

(Geoff Pascoe) #13

If I saw something like this in my feed, honestly my most likely reaction would be to hide it and find the option to hide all such offers, and maybe look around at other bank accounts.

My second most likely reaction would be to think, “oh, maybe I should look into changing my energy provider”. I’d then go and research elsewhere (probably on a laptop), and sign up to the best deal I found. I wouldn’t simply take the deal that Monzo suggested - even if you sent me to a comparison site as suggested, I’d want to look at it on a bigger screen than my phone.

Now I’m probably not really in the target market for this, as I’m pretty proactive with my finances. But if the target market is people who are on bad deals through inertia, I’m curious how Monzo plans to get those people to take the active step of switching their bank account to Monzo in the first place?

(Stuart Tarn) #14

I’m rubbish at this sort of thing - I’ve only just managed to get nPower to sort their rubbish service out since not paying any bills for 6 months in my new house as they couldn’t get their system to recognise my meter! As I’m now paying off this chunk of money they never took, how does that work with switching supplier?! It just sounds like a hassle!

(Michael) #15

A fellow Bulb user here!

Bulb has only recently stopped being cheapest for me, but we’re talking less than £100 a year difference. So far they’ve never screwed up a payment and the switch was amazingly smooth.

I found some of these ‘Big Switch’ recommendations can require 2 months DD up front just to switch, not really feasible if you’re on a budget or short on cash.

E-on Pre-payment and British Gas got things wrong on an epic scale for me many many times. E-on don’t know how to read a map, or understand meter numbers, or accept that the shop you work at doesn’t stock their keycards and British gas failed on account setup, and ‘estimated bills’ while on a smart meter… (I’m talking estimates of £11,000 a month for residential…)

Scottish Power took nearly 8 months to take over an nPower account. nPower didn’t even think they were supplying the property (every other company said the property was listed with nPower?!)

Plus, since being with Bulb, my prices have only gone down :smiley: Plus they paid my exit fees for the previous supplier.

I find the biggest value for me is customer service, though hopefully never having to contact any energy provider as everything should run smoothly!
I feel that big energy companies are just bad at it because all the legacy systems are so disjointed, causing more errors, which results in more customer contact.

Is there any publicly available stats on average resolution time for energy company complaints/queries?

(Phil Hewinson) #16

Good idea about Cheap Energy Club. We are talking to other aggregators / price comparison sites (like Energy Helpline) as we’d like to offer more transparency on the whole market as part of the offering. There is still value to be had in doing deep integrations with select suppliers - for example, we can identify the suppliers we think provide great value that align with our values, offer good prices and can do deep integrations with us so that people can switch energy providers in just one or two clicks. We can then explore integrating customer support as well so that you can ask the supplier a question via the Monzo in-app chat. These could be “Monzo-approved” suppliers that we list - maybe 2 or 3 of them. Below this I imagine we could offer a more full list of the whole market ordered by price so that you can see who the cheapest is and do a proper comparison and this could be through an integration with a price comparison site / aggregator. I think Cheap Energy Club might be a better fit for this part.

(Phil Hewinson) #17

Unfortunately, if you have any debt on your existing supplier, you have to pay off that debt before you can switch. I’ve even heard that some suppliers put prices up after a fixed-term, but keep your direct debit amounts the same so that you accrue debt over time without realising (and without noticing the price has gone up!), which makes it harder to switch away later as you’d have to pay off debts first. That’s another reason why it’s not just price that matters, but other attributes of suppliers such as transparency, “integrity”, good customer service etc.

The more we can bring better convenience and more transparency here, the better. If we can help people switch on to a provider that provides value in price and other areas and make things more transparent and easy to manage for our customers, the less people might feel trapped and that’s it’s a hassle dealing with this. It might be that the first switch is a bit of a hassle as you have to pay off a debt, but hopefully it’ll get easier after that by going with a good supplier and Monzo helping keep track of when you might be over-spending or there is a better supplier suited to you in the future.

(Phil Hewinson) #18

Ofgem have published this report on supplier performance and complaints: Not all suppliers are listed separately (e.g. Bulb), but it does show that there are more complaints for the bigger energy suppliers vs. the smaller ones. It has some stats on resolution time, but nothing too granular.

(Michael) #19

Awesome thanks for that. I’ve only had a quick read through for now, will take a more detailed look later.

I wonder what caused the massive drop in complaints in 2015 for large suppliers? Is that when people started switching to smaller companies?

Also curious if the big 6 includes reseller accounts such as Sainsbury’s & British Gas

(Stuart Tarn) #20

Thanks for the detailed response! Thought t might be the case - this was down to their inability to set up my account…apparently my meter didn’t exist…despite me sending them photos that it did!