Marketing energy products has been a tough task over the last few months. Prices are on the rise, the Big Sixproviders have all come under fire and OFGEM is considering whether it should refer the industry to the Competition and Markets Authority.
However, one challenger brand is bucking the trend – and making big waves as a result. Ovo was launched with the explicit aim of putting the customer first, with superior service, lower tariffs and energy from ‘green’ and ‘really green’ sources. It may not be big – the Big Six still serve over 94% of the household energy market – but it’s growing fast, with over 200,000 customers from a standing start. Clearly, UK consumers like what Ovo has to offer.
Like all brands that aim for customer satisfaction, Ovo monitors feedback carefully. With 95% of its customers saying they were happy with its services, it was a natural step for Ovo to create a referral programme, where customers can introduce friends and family to Ovo’s service and receive a reward if they switch.
Building a referral programme can be complex. Above all, activity must be precisely recorded and tracked – customers won’t stay satisfied for long if their rewards go missing, or their enquiries about the scheme go unanswered.
To keep everything running smoothly, Ovo asked OMG to run their referral programme using the OMG Rewards platform. OMG manages all aspects of the programme, from handling referrals to giving rewards. It also gives OVO detailed progress reports, including what people are saying in their recommendations.
"We’re seeing more and more brands use online and social routes to spread the word about their good work", says Mark Solway, Innovation Director at OMG; "When customers are rewarded too, referral marketing really is a win-win proposition."
Trusted recommendations have long been regarded as the most powerful influence on buying decisions, and Ovo’s experience certainly bears this out. In the six months since the programme went live, referrals have grown strongly. Almost every potential customer has opened their referral email, and around 80% clicked through to Ovo’s site to learn more. Of those, an incredible 30% have made the switch to Ovo.
Since launch, Ovo’s referral programme has contributed over 17% of its new customers. ‘We’re delighted with the level of referrals we’re receiving, and regard it as a powerful endorsement of our customer-orientated approach,’ says Michelle Brien, Digital Marketing Manager of Ovo. "OMG’s setup and management has been highly efficient, allowing our busy marketing team to open up a very worthwhile incremental channel".
As Ovo’s customer base grows, so does the volume of referrals; the ongoing viral effect is powerful. As long as you have happy customers with lots of friends, it seems marketing energy isn’t so hard after all.