Utilities - Key Drivers of Retention: UK

April 04, 2013, 10:22 AM UTC

This report looks into the issue of customer churn and customer retention in the energy supply market. In recent years, the relationship between energy suppliers and their customers has been put under severe strain by rising energy prices and the perception that suppliers are fast to increase retail prices when wholesale prices rise, but slow to cut retail prices when wholesale prices drop. This somewhat poisonous atmosphere has led to an increased willingness to switch between providers to get the cheapest energy. As such, customer retention has become a very hot topic in the energy market.

The report starts by looking at the current relationships that exist between energy suppliers and their customers. The current relationship is viewed from two perspectives: from the standpoint of the current tariff structures, the suppliers used; and from the standpoint of how satisfied customers are with their current energy supplier/tariff. Once the current relationship is established, the report considers how much trust consumers have in their energy suppliers and how satisfaction influences trust and vice versa. Once these topics are discussed, the report moves on to consider the issue of customer churn and retention, outlining how willing consumers are to change supplier, what are the price motives for changing supplier and how customer satisfaction and trust impact on account switching.

Over 40 questions were asked in total, covering the following topics:

  • Nature of the relationship with energy suppliers (single or dual fuel)
  • Current energy supplier
  • Current tariff or tariffs
  • Recent changes to tariffs
  • How well consumers understand their energy tariffs
  • Satisfaction with current gas, electricity supplier
  • How energy is paid for and the amount paid
  • Account management (including online) and contact with energy suppliers, including the preferred means of communication
  • Past account switching (if ever done, when done, how done and motivation)
  • Potential account switching in the near future (if, when and why)
  • Level of trust in energy suppliers as a whole and specific brands.


For this report, YouGov SixthSense commissioned a survey among its online panel, drawing on a nationally representative sample of 5,197 energy customers aged 18+.