Friday, January 25, 2008

Are Friends Electric?

After loads of bad publicity for energy companies pushing big price increases (and then advertising "fix prices now!") the instant their costs go up; I was worried to get a letter from my energy supplier, Atlantic (part of Scottish and Southern).

What I got was just great. A direct mail booklet, but one full of info on their green targets, and featuring nice messages about contacting them if you are concerned for an elderly person who cannot afford to pay for heating.

Normally this wouldn't be that impressive, but at a time when every other energy company is looking battered this puts them in such a positive light.

Image from


Robert said...

It's sad that something so small can make such a big impression - but when everyone else is trying to con consumers, a little bit of genuine warmth and consideration can go a long, long way.

As John Dodds say's, it's quite easy to be a great brand when all around you are wallowing in the dirt.

When my Dad died. I got a letter [sent to my Australian home] from NATWEST. Inside was not a statement or a brochure for some new service ... it was a letter from my Dad's bank manager saying how sorry he was to hear of my Dad passing away and if I thought any personal documentation was in the banks care, all I had to do was call him and he'd arrange getting it to me or my Mum as soon as possible.

That's it. No selling, just a genuine, helpful letter. Hell, they even managed to not try and flog me death insurance on the back of my tragic circumstances. Now I know NATWEST are like ever other shite bank [see Fred's blog - he's written a piece on it] but to be honest, for doing that letter - they would have to go a hell of a long way for me to not still have some sort of loyalty towards them.

I don't think what was done was NATWEST policy - and it was at a time when Banks actually had genuine managers who could make genuine decisions - but what an impression it made ... and it shows the power of human kindness in brand development and loyalty.

Good post and good to see someone out there still understands good service can be done PRIOR to things going wrong.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

It's simple things like that you get by empowering people and letting those who actually deal with customers have a say in the communication.

Empowerment is so vital in business, I wrote an article on it actually based on my experiences selling electrical items.