I recently wrote about a new generation of ‘smart-switching’ apps that are aiming to make changing energy tariffs as pain-free as possible.
uSwitch, one of the most established and well-known comparison services, has been using this technology for a while. So, I figured it deserved a review in its own right.
Here’s an overview of the uSwitch app, highlighting its very best features.
1. Offers instant results
Most energy bills now have a QR code at the top (which stands for ‘quick response’). This is what the uSwitch app is built around, instantly scanning the code via your smartphone’s camera to return an energy comparison.
When you download the app, this is the very first thing it asks you to do – even before entering an email address or signing up. This provides immediate gratification – quickly and easily syncing your personal details without any fuss. While this kind of technology has been around for a while, it’s still surprising how much it simplifies the otherwise lengthy process of manually entering your details.
I scanned my online bill instead of a paper copy, meaning I was able to complete the first step within about two minutes of downloading the app. Not too shabby.
2. Personalises service
Once you have been given a list of comparative tariffs, uSwitch then prompts you to sign up to the service in order to save and monitor your energy plan in future. Conveniently, you can do this using either your email, Facebook or Google account.
This also means that you will be able to receive exclusive reminders about future deals. You can even choose when to be prompted – for example, if the difference between your current plan and an alternative reaches £50.
If you’re signing up to uSwitch via the app, you’ll also be able to login to your account on the main website, too. This is quite handy, as it ensures you can interact with the company regardless of device.
3. Simplifies information
One thing I really like about the app is how it highlights key information in such a clear and concise fashion. First, it presents you with a screen that shows you exactly how much money you could save by switching – the fact that there is no other information on this page is what makes it so effective.
With many people failing to switch due to confusion over tariffs or sheer laziness, it’s pretty hard to ignore the exact amount of money you’re currently wasting.
Moving on, the app then presents you with a list of various plans, and again, this is ordered by the amount of money you could save. Each plan is also broken down into three sections – ‘summary’, ‘calculations’ and ‘tariff info’ – to provide users with a concise snapshot of the most important information.
4. Switches with a simple tap
Once you have chosen the plan you want, it only takes a few extra taps to actually switch (as long as you are looking at plans offered by companies that work with uSwitch). This is undoubtedly the most convenient part of the service, and being able to access it via your smartphone ramps up the ease factor even more.
It’s been suggested that most consumers simply forget to ‘get round’ to switching – it’s one of those things that sounds far more complicated than it is. uSwitch cleverly disrupts this notion, capitalising on mobile technology to make it as simple as possible. By clearly highlighting how much you’ll pay if you switch (and if you don’t), you’re once again prompted to take action.
5. Quashes user worries
Finally, an FAQ feature is not usually something I’d notice. However, uSwitch’s focus on answering consumer questions is definitely useful in the context of its app. By including it just before users make the decision to switch, it helps to ease worries and facilitate the user journey in the final stages.
What’s more, the amount of information offered (even highlighting silly worries like: What if I select ‘confirm my switch’?) means that users are more likely to be kept in the app in the very moment they might otherwise abandon it.