First, came comparison sites that took all the arduous calculations out of measuring one company’s prices against another’s.
Now, the same comparison sites can also save users the trouble of entering their energy-use data every time a tariff ends: they can just hunt down the best price for an individual household and flip it to the cheapest provider on the market automatically, the Daily Mirror reported.
That’s the promise of WeFlip, GoCompare.com’s new free service, which makes its money by taking a finder’s fee from the energy companies.
And, when data from the UK energy regulator Ofgem reveals that 16 million UK households still pay hundreds of pounds a year more than they need to for gas and electricity, who could resist such an offering?
But where might this leave the energy suppliers themselves, and their strategies for finding and retaining consumers?
Not only is this a market entirely driven by price, rather than any kind of brand loyalty, if the customer’s not even part of the decision process, how will brands adapt their communications to this brave new world of automation?
The small-scale subscription service Flipper was one of the first on the “auto-flipping” scene. For an annual fee it will flip you whenever a cheaper tariff became available.
GoCompare’s new service, though, brings auto-flipping into the mainstream, and threatens to disrupt the whole comparison site market, in a move that, as the technology becomes available, seems inevitable.
An algorithm will pick the right moment for a customer to switch after comparing hundreds of available tariffs and make savings’ calculations, including any exit fees that are charged by a customer’s current provider.
The new service is only the latest offering in the disruption that is taking place in the way we buy services such as banking, insurance and legal services, all driven by more advanced technology.
Many people have already ditched traditional banks in favour of the new wave of challengers, such as Monzo, which has set itself a target of one billion customers. In future such banks could conceivably offer total financial management packages run by algorithms, including energy switching.
Sourced from The Daily Mirror, The Guardian; additional content by WARC staff