“That really IS service over and above”

October has certainly been a pretty amazing month for CBL and it has also been a pretty amazing month for the industry on many fronts.

When you receive feedback with the following line in it: “that really IS service over and above”, then you know someone, somewhere is very happy with somebody else. On this occasion one of the suppliers we work extremely closely with had undoubtedly gone way beyond the extra mile to make one member’s order right. The feedback is from probably the most important person we work with at the other end of the process – she influences the thoughts and orders of thousands of OIL buyers via a myriad of community buying groups.

We all love feedback like this. So I wanted to say WELL DONE to our suppliers in general and to some in particular, because, during the month of October we have received more positive feedback than any other. Why? Well those suppliers went to these kind of lengths: 

  • A school managed to allow itself to run dry – an extraordinary level of neglect for their duty of care for their young ones – OIL was delivered later that day.
  • A particularly cantankerous member – we all know there seem to be a fair number of those among OIL buyers – refused a certain type of additive and so the supplier went the extra mile and made sure they got a different one.
  • One small supplier broke its own records on the number of thank yous we receive from their deliveries – with one driver constantly referred to in those emails
  • A mistake was made on a form and one of our members got the wrong amount and, even though this was NOT the supplier’s fault, the next time the supplier was passing they went and put in the additional 230 litres
  • One supplier grasped the point of how we are developing coordinated orders and allowed us to give them an entire tanker of orders, to the litre, for a coordinated delivery across one postcode
  • Another gave the most generous payment window extensions to some very tardy payers
  • A new member timed joining their group to perfection: joined one day, paid for the order just placed the next and received their OIL the next…one very happy new member is talking up the supplier and has now referred several new members
  • And finally – even though there are more – one of our members missed the deadline to accept their OIL order by a whole week. When they finally responded to the numerous answer machine messages left by the supplier and CBL this is what she said to the supplier: “I am very sorry. My husband died unexpectedly last week and I just couldn’t face normal things”. Two days later a tanker trundled up her drive and she received her OIL at the group price, even though prices had gone up.

These acts of kindness, generosity and good corporate citizenship were performed by – in no particular order – Callows, Butler Fuels, Concept Fuels,  BD Fuels, Sweet Fuels, Vectis & Barton Petroleum.

On behalf of our members I want to thank you all. On behalf of the groups we work for I want to thank you too. But I also want to thank you for another reason…

October has been the month of Energy misery for millions

The subject of energy has rarely ever been such a huge story. We have been bombarded, sometimes more often than daily, with stories about the price increases, the appalling historical behaviour of the Big Six, the vast fat cat salaries and the huge profits. Those on dual fuel electricity and mains gas have really had nothing but a huge wake up call. There have also been many headlines about the terrible implications this has for millions of people in Fuel Poverty. Nothing but bad news.

So I want to thank those suppliers for enabling me, in the very same month, to tell thousands of members that we have nothing but good things to say about the suppliers we work with. Add to that the fact that the OIL gods have conspired to create a market where we are buying at some of the lowest prices of the year and I was thinking how well this reflects on the whole heating OIL supply industry – at a seminal moment for the whole subject of Energy.

Which leads me to a question that I want to explore next:

was October 2013 a defining moment for the heating OIL supply industry?

What do you think?

We are always interested in your thoughts: chris@community-buying.com