In our latest Spotlight On feature we chat to Phil Andrew, Associate Director of Customer Experience, at Great Annual Savings Group, the Seaham-based company which has just been announced as our latest affiliate member.

Tell us more about Great Annual Savings Group

GAS is a B2B cost reduction consultancy that has become one of the North of England’s fastest-growing businesses.  We operate across the UK and Ireland, with a growing Field Division and our headquarters on Spectrum Business Park in Seaham, County Durham.

The Group’s customer portfolio has now passed 4,500 nationwide, featuring businesses of all sizes and from all sectors.  We’ve proudly helped these businesses address their running costs and improve the deals they have on their essentials such as energy, water, equipment, security, insurance, waste and more.

Our most recently-launched service is the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging points, which adds an extra dimension to a forward-thinking company’s energy strategy.  We’re increasingly helping our clients view energy more holistically, taking a three-pronged approach to minimising cost, reducing usage and maximising income.

Are businesses becoming more aware of their energy bills and where and how they can lower their overheads?

Costs are on the up for businesses across the board in 2019 – not least for utilities.  When was the last time you saw a headline about energy companies reducing their prices?  Indeed, a number of them have ceased trading over the last six months so life’s just as hard for them.

The growth of the Third Party Intermediary (TPI) sector has certainly highlighted the possibilities within energy.  Plenty of businesses now use experts such as GAS to ensure they’re on the most suitable deal, but it’s such a competitive market it can be hard to know where to turn.

One of our focuses is earning the trust of potential customers by working with industrial bodies and influential partners and providing a level of customer service that sets us apart.  We’re also not an “energy broker”; we provide 12 cost-reduction services across the spectrum of business outgoings.  It’s the most diverse offering in the sector, helping business owners save even more time and money.

What are the particular trends within the business and energy savings market currently?

The sector’s reputation has suffered by the actions of a minority, who have been out to earn a quick buck.  We recently saw one of the market leaders enter liquidation after racking up debt with some of the country’s biggest energy suppliers.

At GAS, we’re of the opinion that the companies which set the highest standards for customer service, account management and repeat business are the ones who’ll stand the test of time.  As we’ve seen already, the rest will begin to fall by the wayside.

Due to the level of price rises we’ve seen over the last 24 months, it’s increasingly difficult to save a business money on contracts which have run for two or more years.  The conversation has shifted slightly to being more about the savings which can be generated against contract renewals.

Because of this we need to work with our customers to find new ways of saving money.  There’s an increasing need to work on reducing energy usage in businesses and we’re driving this through our Energy Management experts.  Likewise, we can supplement energy contracts with improvements in water, insurance, office equipment, waste management and more areas.  For example, we can provide quotes for business water savings in a matter of hours using just a business’ Supply Point ID number.

Are you noticing a change within the business communities with all of the current economic uncertainty around Brexit.

It’s hard to say, but some industries are clearly more concerned than others.  The automotive industry has had a few high-profile blows in the national press recently and we’ve heard stories about stockpiling pharmaceuticals in the NHS and medical industry.  But, in the main, it has just led to people being extra cautious.

We certainly don’t see it as a massive issue for our sector.  The need for businesses to control spending is greater than ever, which is why businesses like GAS exist.