Look at any decent consumer services business, consultancy or professional services firm – in pretty much any field or sector – and one of the key routes to success is likely to have been through agent partnerships of some kind or another.
It might be because I’m lucky enough to be writing this article from the blissful retreat of an island paradise (even UtilityClickers need a holiday from time to time!), but the travel industry springs to mind immediately.
Tour operators, hotel chains and cruise companies depend on brokers to generate the mainstay of their business. Trivago, Hotels.com, Agoda, Expedia…numerous comparison websites all provide the opportunity for customers to easily locate and assess thousands of options for accommodation across the continents. Throw in partnership agreements with car hire companies, insurance and airport transfers and the power these businesses have multiplies by several times.
Hotels, in much the same way as energy suppliers, allow their price books to be accessed and searched by these websites to attract new business. Depending on supply & demand, prices can be adjusted in order to maximise occupancy and – in turn – profitability.
But the search engines on which these websites are dependent is based on similar – or in some cases the same (and licensable) – underlying software. This software is the heart of the machine, indexing huge volumes of pricing and availability data to deliver an immersive experience which gives a feeling of total choice for the consumer. Sharing access to this software to other cohesive parties provides an agency offering to the travel agencies and provides even more in-roads into generating brokerage fees.
The same should be (and sometimes is – but less commonly) the same in the business utilities sector. The consumer side is sewn up – the household comparison engines are well known and agencies use the power of this software to find consumer pricing for electricity and gas, as well as insurance and other common subscription products.
As an energy broker with a full set of supplier relationships, pricing for customers using your internal team provides just one way to generate revenue. Partnering with telecoms businesses, insurance brokers, cost management consultancies and other (larger) teams provides access to more salespeople and a bigger customer base – often more open to buying complementary or parallel services given an already-established business relationship.
Our software offers this opportunity to energy brokers. Using the UtilityClick platform, aggregators and would-be aggregators provide access via sub-broker accounts to any number of potential agents and referral partners. And it can all be set up in a matter of minutes. Distribute agent logins to immediately provide potential agents with pricing comparison capabilities – using your supplier relationships, and contained in one place. Our customers are seeing huge success in attracting new partners and increasing their revenue streams just by opening up their channels.