Tiny Mighty Power says the community programme it introduced last year was a key part of the 20 per cent-plus customer growth the business achieved in the year to March.
The business, launched in 2009, has always bypassed traditional sales approaches by opening stores on the high street of smaller towns. Last year it dropped door-to-door sales as part of a strategy favouring more direct contact with the community groups, schools, marae and other local organisations that make up the regional towns it supplies.
The community programme, which has been operating for just over a year, offers $50 to a community group - usually a school - for every customer who joins Tiny Mighty Power and nominates a group to support. An additional $10 is offered on the customer’s anniversary every year.
In the ten months following the launch of the programme (to 31 March 2014), the programme had already seen $140,000 donated to 200 community groups and had recruited more than 3,000 new customers for the business. These figures continue to grow with donations now totalling more than $200,000.
Tiny Mighty Power says the new approach resonates well with customers in the smaller towns it serves and helps establish a positive partnership between the business and participating community groups. Customers participating in the programme tend to be more loyal and some take an active interest in the fundraising progress of the group involved.
A specially designed smart-system enables staff to identify community supporters and track their growth. Each supporter can track how their group’s base is growing. The system generates quarterly accounts, which are hand delivered by Tiny Mighty Power staff to the groups, helping maintain transparency and trust among customers and the company.
Tiny Mighty Power is part of Mighty River Power subsidiary Bosco Connect. It started business in the Waikato in 2009 and now has customers in nine regions and operates eight locally-staffed offices. In the past year it opened offices in Te Kuiti and Kerikeri.
Tiny Mighty Power says the face-to-face service provided by its office managers, and the low-cost personal service provided from local offices, has helped reinforce its community-centric approach and has been key to offering a viable service in an intensely competitive retail electricity market.
Managers and sales representatives are known in the community, which allows prompt and personal resolution to any issues like meters or billing. Being small, Tiny Mighty Power tries to move quickly to adapt its approach in the market to ensure it remains competitive.
In the past year the business revamped the structure of its operations team to put greater focus on customer experience. It also added an eight-strong telesales team based in four of the firm’s locations. The success of that move means it will now be expanded across the company’s other offices.
The strategy appears to be paying off. Tiny Mighty Power increased its earnings significantly last year on the back of strong customer growth – particularly in the eastern Bay of Plenty – and strong on-going cost control.
The Energy Retailer of the Year category is sponsored by Chapman Tripp.