Genesis loses brownie points
I should have guessed a price rise was coming at Genesis. Something was brewing when they introduced their ‘Brownie Points‘ scheme. I don’t know what the brownie points were for, it was difficult to work out, although there was the promise of being able to cash them in for things down the track. I guess I didn’t really care either, what’s the point?
The whole idea with points systems, like say credit cards points or frequent flier points, is that the company offering them knows you have some options about where you’re going to spend your money – it may not be with them – but if they offer an incentive you may choose to use their product or service. In the case of Amex I use the card at every opportunity, their points system is good and I can ‘cash’ in the points for a wide range of useful things, I could use my VISA or Mastercard but I don’t unless I have too, this is a good points system. Likewise one is more inclined to use an airline they have a loyalty card for than one you don’t.
But a power company? I don’t have any option with my electricity provider, it’s not like I can choose to use this company one day or another the next. Electricity is a service I can’t choose not to use. I also choose a provider based on price – you’d have to have a very good reason to choose a high priced provider because they all offer identical quality product coming down the same wires, with the same level of service – when the lines are down don’t bother ringing Genesis because it’s the lines company who have to fix it. So in a market where the only differentiation is price, A loyalty points program is, well, pointless.
Obviously some bright spark of a marketing manager came up with this program, based on a course or text book,or the realisation that their job was hard to justify, and whomever came up with it has really missed the point.
What’s more annoying is that the whole thing costs money to run, and when you want your electricity provider to be running the most efficient company in order to offer you the cheapest prices, pissing around with a silly points program is just a waste of money, and therefore must be costing you as the consumer money.
The program is quite odd on another level as there are pictures of biscuits (presumably brownies, although that’s not what an actual brownie looks like at all) perhaps on the basis that whomever came up with it thought at Brownie Points where somehow connected with chocolate brownies, whereas the term comes from the points required to get a badge for young girls participating in Brownies (a junior version of Girl Guides).
Which brings me back to the original thought, that the points program was actually softening customers up for the price rise, maybe that marketing person thought that we would be so dazzled by the idea of getting brownie points that they overlook the 9% plus price hike and stick with Genesis even thought they are now one of the more expensive electricity providers in Auckland.
If Genesis really wanted to “reward customers for being with” them, then really the best way would be to stop wasting their money on silly points program and concentrate on keeping their prices down!