By Luc Missinne (@Margil)
As the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours (and that’s not just a reference to the weather). In the space of a week we have received an influx of energy suppliers contacting us, including two phone calls from and a representative of a third one turning up at our front door. It makes you wonder…why now? Do they suspect people to be more open for change on that matter now that spring is finally in the air?
Only recently and years after the liberation of the energy market in Belgium in July 2003, consumers have started questioning what they pay for gas and electricity. And it looks like energy suppliers have finally managed to get the message through to their target group: change of supplier does not imply new cabling, there is no risk of being temporarily cut off, no discouraging pile of paperwork and no poorer quality of the product delivered. It took them almost 10 years to communicate this message to the masses, and it seems that the next step is to individually contact every possible customer to win him over?
No doubt about it, energy is a ‘must have’, there is no need to convince people of the product itself. The pros are self-evident. It is not a product which requires an in-depth investigation as to which supplier to choose to get the right product: whether you buy via supplier A or B, you get the same thing. And for the price: a handy tool to compare prices is available on the internet. Apparently that leaves face-to-face marketing, a one-on-one commercial talk with a friendly face as the favoured avenue to win the client. Network providers do it too, which seems to make sense: phone and the internet have also reached the status of ‘indispensable product’. The chimney sweep and the cutlery salesmen are more traditional door-to-door salesmen. But what about this one … I can’t be the only living soul at whose front door a Jehovah or Mormon preacher turns up every now and then to convince me to ‘buy’ his religion? Does that make his ‘product’ an indispensable one too? I wonder…