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Q&A: David Kerr Group CEO of bonkers.ie
21 May 2020|Q&A Series

Guaranteed Irish member bonkers.ie, is a product comparison, switching, and consumer website. They allow consumers to compare products, prices, and features across a range of energy, broadband, banking, and insurance providers to help them save money. 

David Kerr, Group CEO of bonkers.ie, talks about their business as part of Guaranteed Irish Professional Services and Fintech Month. 

Can you tell us a bit about your business bonkers.ie?

I founded the business 10 years ago this year – we just (virtually) celebrated our 10-year anniversary during lockdown. We’re based in Dublin and currently employ 21 full-time staff. We’re a fintech so our largest team is Engineering; we also have teams in Digital Marketing, Communications, Insurance, Partnerships, Customer Support and Finance. We’re a very tight-knit crew and we work really well together. The company has a very flat organisational structure where everyone’s opinions are valued and listened to and no task is too big or small for anyone in the company.

bonkers.ie is a product comparison, switching, and consumer website. We allow consumers to compare products, prices and features across a range of energy, broadband, banking, and insurance providers to help them save money. So whether you’re looking for cheaper gas and electricity, faster broadband, a lower mortgage rate, or better insurance cover, we can help.

As a fintech, our aim is also to make the sign-up process to any new provider as easy and seamless as possible. Almost everything can be done online and any orders a customer places with us are stored in a free online account which our customers can access for future reference at any stage. However, we realise that not everyone has embraced the online world as quickly as others so we also have a small Dublin-based customer service team for those who need a helping hand and a voice to speak to while signing up.  Education and information is also a key part of what we do. We have a popular blog that aims to inform consumers about new deals and products as well as provide important tips and information on how people can save money and this is supported by our social media channels.  

In essence, it’s our goal to be there for Irish consumers whenever they think of any “household bill” or financial service. And we’ll always let them know in a very clear way what their options are, and how they can save.

What are the challenges that you face in your business and how do you work to overcome them particularly in the current climate?

Lots of businesses are really struggling with the COVID-19 lockdown. I can’t imagine the stress that retailers or those in hospitality or tourism must be under right now. For us, the office was able to transition into working from home on 13th March and we’ve been all at home since. In terms of the business, largely we have been OK given that more people have time for “life admin” when at home. Certain sectors have been affected, so as the property market slows the demand for mortgages or related products slows also.

For us, it’s about maximising our service to customers and making sure that all our customers continue to receive the same high levels of service and support that we demand of ourselves. Our customer’s trust is our most important metric, and we are very proud of our market-leading NPS and cSAT scores. We don’t want the current pandemic to affect that – our customers’ have enough going on in their lives without wondering if their broadband connection will be delivered on time!

From an operational perspective, it’s a matter of making sure all staff are working in a safe environment in their home with all the tools they need, even down to making sure they have a suitable desk to sit at and a proper chair to sit on. In turn, they can offer our customers the very highest standards of service, notwithstanding the COVID situation.

Other typical challenges we face day-to-day even outside the current situation are largely how to get our services in front of a customer when they are considering their choices. We need to be front of mind when they think of a personal loan, or credit card, as well as their life insurance and electricity tariff.

What’s one thing that is often misunderstood about the nature of the business you are in?

Sometimes people might see us purely as a listings website, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re a fintech, a life insurance broker, a personal finance website, a voice for the consumer, and much more. For example, we are required to conduct complex calculations for many products we display, so our technology platform is something we continue to invest heavily in, and our team of engineers makes sure it’s always available no matter where the customer is or what device they’re using.

And as well as listing prices and features, we’re also here to help customers switch providers if they decide they want to seek better value. So once the customer has their results in front of them, they can place their order right on our website and we will take care of them until they are fully connected with their new supplier. What’s more, they can choose to have their information stored in an online dashboard, meaning that when they next have a form to fill in, most of it will be pre-filled for them, which is very convenient.

Our new in-house life insurance broker service was launched last year. If you purchase a life insurance policy from us, we remain your broker for the duration of that policy and we have qualified and trained staff who can provide advice on the type of life insurance cover you might need, for how long and for how much cover.

So as well as being regulated by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities in our energy activities we are authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland for our insurance and mortgages activities. And next year we’re going to branch further into the insurance market to offer even more choice and value to consumers in Ireland.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your business over the next five years?

We will continue to execute our multi-industry, multi-product strategy for consumers, and we will expand our offering to SMEs. 

What made you decide to become a member of Guaranteed Irish?

I’ve always been a fan of the Guaranteed Irish brand – promoting Irish business where possible is a true reflection of consumer sentiment, that is, if there’s a opportunity of buying from a company that enhances the Irish economy and promotes the creation of Irish jobs, why wouldn’t you make that choice rather than a multi-national which may not even have a presence here. We are founded in Ireland, all of our staff are based in Ireland, all of them pay taxes in Ireland – we are a good fit for the GI brand, as it is for us.

What can we expect for bonkers.ie in the future and do you have plans to expand to other services?

We will be expanding our range of services in the coming months and years, we are 10 years old this year, but in many ways we’ve only just begun.