The government’s green deal will stand or fall on the way it is being sold to potential customers
Building up trust
We welcome the government putting back the launch of the green deal to early 2013 to enable systems to be properly established and tested.
Yet there are still a number of uncertainties and major issues which need to be addressed.
The biggest concern that we are discussing with most of our clients and customers is how to gain high levels of uptake while eliminating the risk of mis-selling.
You can’t switch on a radio without hearing an advert for payment protection insurance claims, so it’s not surprising that alarm bells are ringing for our clients when they think about a green deal financial product being sold on the doorstep of their customers’ homes.
We are taking practical steps to eliminate the potential for mis-selling and to ensure that we are delivering a product customers want, which helps to reverse rising energy costs.
From our experience, there is no one thing that guarantees high levels of uptake, but there are some key success factors. These include having the support of a trusted brand, such as the local authority or a registered provider, to reassure customers that the green deal (with energy company obligation support) is worthwhile.
The offer needs to be attractive and simple to keep customers engaged. It’s our role as a green deal provider partner to deal with all the complexities behind the scenes.
From what we have learned so far, the biggest success factor is people. When we have got local people to talk positively about the works to their neighbours, this helps to spread the message much faster than any marketing campaign.
If the green deal is to work, it won’t be about the radio jingles or a hard sell. It will be about building communities’ trust in who they are letting into their homes and in seeing savings in their energy bills.
Nigel Banks is sustainability director at Keepmoat Group