Britons are becoming a nation of ‘cheeky chargers’ with over half the population topping up devices in locations such as hotel and restaurants. The good news for businesses looking to recoup the price of that power is that over a third of those surveyed were more likely to visit a business which lets them plug in – with a further 14 percent saying they would consider spending more with the business in return. The top locations for charging up a phone, laptop or tablet were pubs and bars, closely following by hotels, cafes, restaurants and libraries.
“There does seem to be a general expectation from customers now that they should be able to charge their phones or tablets whilst having a drink,” explains Sue Bird, Landlady of the Royal Oak pub in Knaphill, Surrey. “It is not uncommon for us to find several of our plugs in use, despite the fact no one has actually asked to use them. Not only that, many of our customers even expect us to provide the chargers themselves!”
E.ON has been raising awareness of ‘cheeky charging’ to help businesses achieve a balance between customer service and maintaining energy efficiency, including advice on some basic steps:
Track customer charging – E.ON’s research shows that some people charge multiple devices at once, while on-the-go. Be aware that each ’cheeky charge’ will add to your overall energy consumption and different devices can use very different amounts so make a note of how, what and when your customers are charging.
Monitor the impact – you may have planned for a certain weekly or monthly energy budget based on your regular use of key appliances or machinery, so check on your bills to see if consumption fluctuates unexpectedly. With the availability of smart meters and other energy management systems, businesses can now get up-to-the-minute information in real time.
Seek advice – your electricity supplier is best-placed to offer insight on all aspects of your daily energy use as well as how to reduce waste. Talk to them about the equipment you use, your basic requirements, and any concerns you might have about unanticipated electricity use, such as customer charging.
Weigh up the benefits – based on all the information you have available, decide if the benefits of ‘cheeky charging’ outweigh the potential cost to your bill. Talk to customers and, if you don’t want to introduce an outright ban, consider setting some ground rules on the amount of time, type, and number of devices allowed.
If you’d like to find out more about how E.ON could help your business save energy, give them a call on 0330 400 1144 and let them know you’re a BHA member or send the team an email on email@example.com.
Data source: Independent research carried out amongst 2,000 UK consumers by Vision Critical, in July 2013