David Kerr is co-founder of Bonkers Money, a free comparison website which allows Irish consumers to compare and switch suppliers across categories, from gas to credit cards.
Interview by Ruth Doris
What is your background?
I have an engineering masters degree which has helped me with the development of the software required to run and scale bonkers.ie, as our traffic continues to grow. Working for 12 years in price comparison has taught me what consumers are looking for when they want to compare and switch suppliers, and what they're not looking for, and how to present it in a digestible format.
How did Bonkers Money come about?
I had been supplying software and services to major price comparison UK websites and then in November 2009 I co-founded bonkers.ie and launched in April 2010. The site offers eight categories for Irish consumers to find, compare and switch suppliers. There is a lot of interest in gas and electricity prices at the moment, because our winter bills from the cold snap in December are being sent out to us now.
What do you provide?
We provide eight categories across a range of household bills. In utilities, we offer gas, electricity, broadband and phone comparisons. In money we offer savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards and personal loans comparison.
How can you offer the service for free?
We can offer it for free as we receive a small commission when people use our site to sign up to a new supplier. We are impartial to the supplier you sign up to, the choice is entirely with the customer.
How do you compare to other comparison sites, such as insure.ie etc?
So far we have launched eight comparison products in the two major categories of utilities and money. We have plans to expand our major categories into other areas and you're right that insurance is the most requested product category by users of bonkers.ie. It is an area we are keen to deliver great service in and we hope to be able to do so soon.
What has customer feedback been like so far?
Customer feedback has been fantastic - we recieve comments by e-mail, telephone and our Facebook (www.facebook.com/bonkers.ie) and on Twitter (@bonkers_ie) pages. We spent a lot of time and effort building comparison and switching products that are hopefully easy to use and easy to understand. Our visitior numbers have increased dramatically since January, which is a positive sign that we are resonating with people's desire to spend less money on their household bills.
What's the best business advice you've ever been given?
The best advice I have been given is do everything you do passionately and with attention to detail and quality. Ours is a consumer business, and consumers will vote with their feet unless we give them excellent service. We continue to make improvements and adjustments to the site to make the customer journey better.
Do you think the incoming government, most likely Fine Gael led, will improve things for Irish consumers?
The incoming government will have to improve things for Irish consumers which they can achieve in a number of ways. We will have to see what they offer in real terms after the election and the implementation of their Five-Point Plan goes.