If the first four years of me running my own business were about working hard to steadily gain the trust of clients, the fifth year has been about using that trust to really pick up the pace and get everyone through this craziness in one piece.
When we reach our fifth anniversary on April 16 it will be at the end of one of the most challenging years. For me, for my team and for our customers – and hopefully we’re all coming out of it in a better position than before.
From the start, the whole point of The Apertus Group was to do things differently. We operate in a sector that is mostly unregulated and where it is easy to take advantage of clients. I can honestly say that I have never believed in that approach. Instead, to stand out from the crowd, I insist upon transparency, honesty and openness, so the client knows they’re getting the best possible deal and we know that we’ve done the best we can for them.
Figures show that 75% of companies never check their utility bills. They take the figures they are offered at face value, presumably because they are happy to pay the amounts quoted and because they simply haven’t got time to trawl the comparison sites to check. The truth is that if they saw everything laid out clearly, and what the actual costs were and what their brokers were making on the deal, they might think twice. We like to think of ourselves as a procurement or purchasing manager’s best friend – working for them, not for ourselves.
Of course, brokers have to make money from a deal, but our figures detail to our clients quite clearly what we are making out of the deal and how, even given that, they are still getting the best prices for the services they need.
Starting off as energy experts, over the years we have expanded our range so that we are now procurement specialists. These days, our expertise doesn’t just apply to clients’ gas, electricity and water, but we also offer print, automotive and telecoms procurement, which is something that has been welcomed by a number of existing customers and brought new customers to our door.
To do that, we pooled the many years of experience within the team, combined with our collective buying power to not only save our customers money, but to provide an excellent level of customer service.
Each member of my team has a specialism and, if they’re faced with an area where they’re not a specialist – so if one of the energy guys gets a query about telecoms – they don’t follow it up themselves. They pass it on to a colleague that knows the telecoms business and is the best person to follow it up.
Similarly, the processing of any figures is done by the pricing team with the support of the sales team. That way, everything is properly considered and compared, ensuring the appropriate amount of research has been done into getting the right deal for the customer.
It’s the way I want to do business and it’s the way I expect my team to do business. Everything is controlled to take us beyond the suggestion that malpractice is an inevitable part of utilities. It isn’t, and we can only be successful if we are seen as honest and above board.
When we start speaking to clients about renewing their deal, we warn them that they will probably end up paying more, because prices will have gone up. That’s because we did our job well the previous year and got them the cheapest possible deal. If we did that, then it’s probably not going to get cheaper – but because they understand and trust us, they
Finally, I just want to say that the way we have come through the pandemic and the challenges of the last year or so is testament to the team I have here and their beliefs and skills set. It hasn’t been easy, but they have worked hard for me and I try to look after them as best I can. The team has grown over the past 12 months, we took on an apprentice in October, and we have new people due to start with us soon.
Together, we’ve just delivered our best Q1 in our history, which is an amazing achievement, and we’re ready to get on and build on that – hopefully with a little bit more breathing space than we’ve had recently.
Get in touch with the team at The Apertus Group to find out how they can help your business. Call them on 01604 212828 or email: email@example.com
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