The Simple Things, Evaluating Energy Consultants

by Matthew Mattingly

simplethings

There are a lot of energy consulting firms in the market. No one can dispute that statement. I know this not only from working in the industry for over 10+ years, but I hear it on a weekly basis from my clients. They are bombarded constantly with phone calls from energy consulting firms promising huge savings and innovative services. With so many energy consulting firms to choose from, how does one know which firm is the best? There are several factors to choose from, but I have highlighted a few simple things that need to be considered when evaluating energy consulting firms.

Is the consulting firm attracting or losing top talent?

With so many energy consulting firms available it is real easy for top talent to move around to different companies (something that I know personally). With that in mind, do you want to hire a consultant that is attracting or losing top talent? There are several signals to identify a company on the wrong end of the talent perspective. They are the ones constantly posting the same positions on job websites, losing long-term employees, and only hiring inexperienced, recent college graduates.

Thankfully Choice Energy Services has a full team of experienced energy consultants able to serve its client’s needs. Furthermore, the company continues to add top talent with energy experience as seen with its most recent hires. So when choosing an energy consulting firm, make sure you check a firm’s human resource office as much as their services.

Is the consultant’s website updated and modern?

All consultants are trying to make a good first impression when meeting potential clients. We dress sharply and bring convincing marketing materials, but it’s shocking how many energy consultants do not keep their website updated. I have seen some bad ones over the years. No description of services, use of generic of stock photos, stale blog entries, and most importantly not refreshing data or company information. Nothing is more embarrassing than seeing a website that hasn’t been updated in over 6 months, and that last update was performed by someone no longer at the company. It makes one wonder if a consultant doesn’t take the time to update their website, what makes you think they are taking the extra time to work on your account.

Choice Energy Services refreshes its website on a regular basis, not just aesthetically but for content as well. Potential clients have the ability to access market data, read blog entries, and click on the latest industry news. We don’t just say we are leaders in the industry in a sales meeting, we show it every day on our website.

Is the consultant a technology leader or laggard?

Embracing technology is a must for consultants in the energy field. Technology enhancements can be a differentiator for a firm against its competition. Thankfully, I work for a technology leader and not a laggard. But don’t take my word for it, others have noticed as well (see article in Energy CIO Insights).

As mentioned in the article, CESConnect, a proprietary online platform, allows our clients the ability to review their cost and usage as soon as the invoice becomes available by the utility or supplier. No more waiting on invoices via snail mail! In one web portal a client has access to all of their energy data. Check out our website to find out more about CESConnect and the benefits it can provide.

There are numerous tools that CESConnect can offer the end-user, but a major advantage of the system was that it was built IN HOUSE at our corporate office in Houston, TX. The creation of the system was not outsourced to programmers on the other side of world, but done by our own technology team. So if a change needs to be made or enhancement added, it is done by our own staff. This makes our platform system nimble and efficient, while providing an advantage over others in the market place relying on “channel partner” for this service.

Summary

There are numerous factors to consider when evaluating energy consulting firms, but don’t get lost in the weeds when making a final decision. There are simple things that an energy consulting firm should be able to exemplify, three of which are listed in the entry. If a consulting firm doesn’t pass the test, then it’s time to look at other options.