Doing things differently, from 'Love & Power' to the Wheel of Fortune
Energy companies have historically been some of the least trusted businesses in Britain. It's no wonder people have been so suspicious, given the hard-to-read bills, confusing emails and frustrating customer service notorious in the industry.
We were set up to be different. We give you clean power, outrageously good customer service, and fair pricing (read about how we've spent millions to keep prices down and look after customers in the crisis).
I wanted to talk a bit about some of the other ways we work hard to win your trust: from obsessing about our email and bill language to creating unexpected features to surprise and delight.
Rethinking energy communication
We think really hard about the way we communicate as a company. We are always trying to find new better ways to talk to customers because let’s face it, dealing with your energy account can ordinarily be a little tedious.
One way we do this is by encouraging our team to be themselves and talk to customers like they would their friend or neighbour.
We see unnecessary formality as a waste of time; it doesn’t help people feel understood or supported which is the cornerstone of our customer service approach.
Take things like the ‘Love and Power' message we use to sign off our emails, for example. It's a little unconventional, but it's been an important part of the way we speak to customers since way back in 2016. We've stuck with it because it's distinctive – it certainly stands out from the typical drudgery of utility emails – and also, it sums up how we want our customers to feel.
We also think hard about new ways to explain important information about your account and bills. Instead of telling customers their account is in 'debit' or 'credit', which can be open to interpretation and lead to confusion, we say ‘Above zero' or 'Below zero'. We’ve found this to be a little more ye-catching, intuitive and approachable.
Making energy more exciting
The energy system of the future should be centred on customers. But to engage people, energy has to be enjoyable, and genuinely worth people's while. We know that little thoughtful details can make a big difference and we like to try all sorts to make your experience a bit more fun and rewarding.
Our hold music
Our team are pretty quick on the phones – we typically pick up your call in under 2 minutes. But waiting on hold is no fun, so we wanted to make even the smallest wait more enjoyable. Research suggests that the #1 song from the year you were 14 is statistically likely to deliver the biggest hit of nostalgia, so we've set up our phones to play you precisely that song when you call in. If it's not a winner, you can set your own hold music, picking from a list of #1s from over the years on your online account. Want to pick yours? Scroll down to the bottom of your communication preferences.
Our floaty laptop battery reminder
Over the years we've built tons of other quirky little features, such as ‘Battery Constantine’, which pops up to let you know when your device is fully charged. We created this by pulling a standard bit of data from your browser, and real-time carbon intensity data from the National Grid.
It’s a little nudge to make people aware of a small, really painless way of being slightly greener by unplugging when energy is quite carbon intensive. The icon disappears as soon as you unplug, but if you aren’t a fan, you can avoid it by logging in with Safari instead.
We love this cheeky little feature because it's a useful way to start talking about using energy when it's cheapest and greenest, and the grid is chock-full of renewably generated electrons.
The meter reading 'wheel of fortune'
Getting people to submit meter readings is really important - without them, your bills may be estimated and you could end up building up debt without realising it. With that in mind, we wanted to reward customers for taking the trouble.
The result: our Wheel of Fortune. It's a completely free 'spin the wheel' for a chance to win a credit prize that customers can access every time they submit a meter reading.
You get one spin per fuel, per month, with the chance of winning credit from £1 to £64 to even £512! We have up to 10,000 winners every month, and constantly increase the number of prizes as our customers grow to keep things fair. Customers who submit a reading every month should statistically win every year, but more importantly: the game helps people keep their energy account in order and make their bills more accurate as well.
Of course, the differences in our approach extend far beyond our casual tone, quirky features or hold music. That's really just the icing on the cake.
Our goal is to transform the energy industry and pave the way for greener, fairer energy for all.
Here are just a few of the things we're doing to transform energy
Since day one, we've fought for transparency and fairness and against rip off tactics and bait & switch practices. We're laser-focused on providing a fantastic customer service, fair pricing, and powering a green energy future. It's the reason we're the only energy supplier ever awarded Which? “Recommended Provider” five years running. As part of our customer-obsessed approach, we're determined to find innovative solutions to age-old problems in transport and the energy transition.
Huge investment in green energy generation
Not only are we one of the fastest growing energy suppliers in the country, we’re one of Europe’s largest investors in, and operators of renewable energy too. With our combined tech, supply expertise and a whopping £4bn worth of wind turbines, solar farms and other green energy assets, we're a truly global force for the transition to a sustainable future.
Developing cutting-edge technology
Net Zero will require cutting edge technology to ensure that people have access to renewable energy even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. To this end, we’re industry leaders when it comes to creating a fully automated, environmentally conscious and innovative energy system. We’ve developed groundbreaking tariffs and tech like Vehicle2Grid charging, which pays Electric Vehicle owners to send energy back to the grid in times of need, and the UK’s first dynamically-priced smart electricity tariff – agileOctopus.
Supporting community energy
We know a green energy future requires all of us to band together which is why we’re putting money directly into the hands of local communities by purchasing energy directly from small-scale renewable energy generators. We’ve even set up our very own organisation dedicated to nurturing and supporting local, community-led renewables: Younity.
The future of energy lies in engaging customers. But to do that, energy has to be enjoyable, and genuinely worth people's while.
Unplugging your laptop when energy is carbon-intensive is only a hop, skip, and a jump from a world where people are rewarded for using more energy when the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining.
Our goal is a people-led, tech-powered green energy revolution that puts humans first. So we'll keep rethinking the standard way of doing things and trialling unconventional alternatives. We know it won't all be everyone's cup of tea, but that's OK: we'll never make you stay with us if you don't like how we do things. And there are plenty of suppliers out there who'll give you the traditional treatment.
So, just like us, our quirks are here to stay – we hope you like them as much as we do.
Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!×Close window