Q&A with Aaron Burns: SME Business Energy Manager at Zembl

Words by Zembl

Small Business (SME) Energy Manager Aaron Burns joined Zembl after more than 17 years in sales and with a background in renewable energy. He now heads up the SME team and leads our Zembl Energy Experts in their crusade against bigger than necessary energy bills. Here he talks small business, teamwork and where energy prices are going in 2024.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to lead the SME team at Zembl?

I’ve worked in sales for nearly 17 years now. I moved to Australia just before COVID hit in early 2020, finding the opportunity to work in the solar energy industry which I loved! Combining my sales skills with helping customers to save money was a no brainer! In May 2022 and after a few years working in solar I fancied a change and stumbled across Zembl. I searched them out on Google, checked their reviews and knew this was a place I wanted to work. After 6 months of working on the phones I was offered the chance to take on the role of team leader and haven't looked back.

What inspired you to get into the energy sector, particularly focusing on SME businesses?

After working within the renewable sector, I noticed the pivotal role that energy plays in fuelling economies and communities. Concentrating on SMEs presented a way to help these businesses redirect funds where we save them money to help with the growth of their business, particularly within a start-up, also enabling them a more sustainable path forward.

How do you stay motivated and keep your team motivated in such a competitive industry?

For me, staying motivated means always setting goals, both short-term and long-term, and taking time to celebrate when we reach them. When it comes to my team, I believe in creating an environment where everyone feels their input is valued and that they can have their say. I also always like to make sure we have something fun planned in the diary for us all to enjoy, it's important to recognise and reward their hard work.

Walk us through the typical process your team follows when comparing energy bills for a business. How do you ensure accuracy and satisfaction?

For us to be able to see a customer’s energy bill is the most efficient and accurate way for us to give a recommendation on cheaper rates. Energy bills can be confusing, especially if you have never looked at the nuts and bolts before! Failing that, my team are fully trained on every energy retailer on our panel and can guide the customer to where they need to be looking on their bill to check their rates, charges and usages – including what it all means, and whether their current deal is competitive.

What makes Zembl's approach to energy bill comparisons and switching unique compared to other services in the market?

The 5-star service we give our customers. The agents we have picking up the phone to our online enquires, conducting the bill comparisons and helping customers switch are some of the best I've worked with in my career. You know that when you are speaking with a Zemblr, you are in good hands.

Can you share a success story where your team significantly impacted a business by finding them a better energy plan?

One that sticks out in my mind is Wiskars Deli. Graeme had run a successful business for over 33 years and was suddenly hit with a 150% increase on their energy bill. They were advised by the Ombudsman to speak with Zembl and that’s what they did. One Zemblr, Dom Hall, jumped on the phone and after a 20-minute phone call had found Graeme $8,000 in annual savings.

What metrics or feedback do you use to measure the success and impact of your team's work on the businesses you assist?

Our team prioritises Zembl Customer Satisfaction and we work hard to ensure we leave a lasting impact on each small business owner we assist. We keep our finger on the pulse and frequently seek feedback from our customers to ensure we are not only meeting but exceeding their every expectation. We also keep track of the average savings that we are able to secure for our customers – after all that is our legacy as Energy Experts.

In your experience, what are the most common misconceptions businesses have about energy plans and switching providers?

That if you’ve stayed loyal to the same retailer for multiple years, you’re still getting the most competitive rates – which in most cases, isn’t the case. We typically recommend reviewing annually to ensure you remain on a competitive plan.
Alternatively, if you’re too busy - you can sign up to our Re-Zembl service. Re-Zembl is a free service that’s here to keep your business on competitive energy rates down the track, without you needing to lift a finger. Once you register, around t­wo months before your contract expiry date, we proactively conduct a free energy bill comparison to negotiate competitive plans on your behalf amongst our panel of retailers. Based on our findings, we will send our recommendation for your next contract term. Once confirmed, we’ll notify your provider and finalise your new contract.

What upcoming trends or changes in the energy sector should SME businesses be aware of?

Everyone should be very conscious of the DMO/VDO changes coming in on July 1st. We’re expecting that for the first time in a few years, energy rates will come down. This is great news for the consumer however they need to make sure they are going out into the market to seek the best pricing for the times, which is where the Zemblrs on my team can step into action for your business! You can read more about those potenital rate changes here.

How is your team preparing to adapt to future changes in the energy market to continue providing top-notch service?

There’s a whole bunch of training that goes on. We are constantly giving training on new products being made available on the market, and energy retailers will often visit our Head Office to provide in-person training. We also run a company-wide bi-monthly Learning & Development session to socialise everything we’ve learned with the wider Zembl business so that we’re always working as one.

Finally, what advice would you give to SME businesses looking to save time and money on their energy bills?

Firstly, pick up the phone to Zembl for an energy comparison! It’s completely free of charge and we’re saving 4 out of 5 businesses an average of $1,873 on their energy bills so chances are we can for you as well!* Be sure to sign up to our Re-Zembl service too, then you can sit back and relax knowing we'll keep on taking care of your energy bills for good! For those reading, who’ve already utilised our services on their energy bills, the next step is solar panels. The technology for solar panels is in a really nice spot now for commercial use and customers are seeing a return on their investment much faster than ever before.

4 out of 5 SME Businesses who talk to Zembl find energy bill savings.

If you’re running a small business, the chances are high that talking to a Zemblr in Aaron’s team could save you hundreds if not thousands each year on energy. Plus it only takes minutes over the phone. Simply leave your details below to request a call-back.

*Based on businesses that completed an energy bill comparison with Zembl in 2023 with an average lead load of 28MWh per annum.

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