Retail Energy Challenger Brands

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Challenger brands since 2012

Throughout her 9-year career with Utility People, Lisa has worked on many recruitment projects with ‘challenger’ brands. The rise in these challenger brands since 2012, happened for a number of reasons, but the main ones were price and poor service.

The new entrants clearly recognised addressing these issues would encourage customers to switch to a cheaper supplier delivering better service. Some brands went even further, offering a technology-led business and an online community with a self-service portal at the fingertips of their lucky customers.  To cap it all, many have gone down the route of offering greener energy, so all in all, this transparent approach is a world away from the traditional image of the UK’s retail energy providers.

The challenge

Whilst the new entrants were determined to deliver the holy grail to the energy sector, the one thing they all needed was an experienced Operations Director to help them navigate the extremely  complicated world of ‘settlements’, ‘dataflows and ’erroneous transfers’ !!! So Lisa’s challenge was to attract very passive candidates who were settled in their very safe jobs to join a brand new start-up that many saw as high risk. They were often working in narrow specialisms with the much wider support of a large infrastructure.  The challenge was to identify those who demonstrated the capabilities and personality to downscale the huge operational function of a very large organisation into one small but efficient operations team.

The solution 

The same solution was delivered to over 14 new challenger brands, placing an Operations Director in each of those organisations:

  • 8-week turnaround
  • Approached our network of potential candidates in large well-established energy suppliers
  • Throughout the process held weekly progress meetings with the client
  • Created, profiled, and presented a longlist of 4-5 exceptionally strong industry candidates
  • Shortlisted 3 candidates who went forward to interview

The Result

All the Operation Directors appointed had to have a focus on both Industry-facing and Customer-facing Operational processes.  They were pivotal in setting the growth strategy for short, medium and long-term business plans, with the capability to scale-up quickly when needed.  Each one had to have excellent stakeholder engagement working with suppliers, regulators and meter operators as well as being heavily involved in the decision making of which IT and systems providers to work with.

They not only had to understand the complexity of the industry, but had to have the ability to delve into the detail whilst keeping their eye on the bigger picture.

The strategy for all of these Operation Directors was about delivering a better service than the traditional suppliers. If that happened, you could stem the calls and the complaints, your cost to serve would be reduced and the result – very happy customers!

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