Friday, 16 May 2014

Responsible Selling versus Mis-Selling Ofgem orders refund from Eon

If the media reports are to be believed , the standing of  Selling in  Energy suppliers is at a particularly low ebb. 

The Spring tides of the Government watchdog Ofgem investigations, have exposed some particularly shocking cases of mis-selling. Today's scandal was Eon being ordered to refund customers £12m for mis-selling by Ofgem.

The energy watchdog Ofgem has imposed nearly £100m in fines and redress on energy companies for various rule breaches over the last four years, £39m of which have been for mis-selling.

River Thames at Fulham , low tide  15th May 2014 ( Spring Tide)

Even the media trained and savvy executives of the top energy companies are finding that sincere apologies and  ‘ promises to do better’ are no longer convincing to the public.

(Much though the media interviewers may enjoy today being the interrogators -their  own journalistic profession is not exactly covered in glory by hacking scandals and the Leversen enquiries.)

Eon's boss said

"There was no organised attempt to mislead, and Ofgem has acknowledged this, but that does not excuse the fact we did not have in place enough rules, checks and oversight."

Yet reliance on Sales processes will not be enough either.

  Much though even the senior partner in charge of enforcement at Ofgem may wish : 

"The time is right to draw a line under past supplier bad behaviour and truly rebuild trust so consumers are put at the heart of the energy market”

Trust is very hard to rebuild after repeated poor behaviours.

Selling trust is easy but losing it makes it hard to regain

Systems, checks and balances have a part to play but so too has the corporate culture of managerial responsibility and ethics.

The culture of owning the problem, straight talking and leadership-by-example is not merely a matter of authority but  also of personal responsibility.

Admiral Rickover US nuclear submarine fleet commander once put it:-

Responsibility is a unique concept. 
You may share it but your portion is not diminished. 
You may disclaim it but you cannot divest yourself of it. 
Even if you do not recognise it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it.If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else.

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.” - Warren Buffet

Responsibility in selling applies to us all whether at Spring or Neap tides. Time and tide wait for no man.

No comments:

Post a Comment