Strong bonds: Brits choose quality over quantity in relationships

By JaneBranscombe

Quality rather than quantity is at the heart of today’s relationships, according to new research by E.ON.1

The company asked British adults about how personal and business relationships are built and maintained as part of its ongoing mission to become its customers’ trusted energy partner.

With half of all Facebook users having more than 200 friends2, it’s perhaps surprising that people can count their nearest and dearest on one hand according to the study. Two thirds (66%) claim to have no more than five close relationships and one in ten (13%) say these relationships make them feel healthy.

Maintaining relationships

The findings reveal that ‘being there when it matters most’ is essential for maintaining strong business relationships (43%), whereas the frequency of contact is more important when dealing with loved ones.

People feel they can maintain good relationships with friends (28%), parents (18%), and colleagues (12%) by catching up a couple of times a week. But most couples say they expect contact a few times a day (41%), with one in six expecting hourly contact from their partners (16%).

Although most people prefer to deal with their loved ones face-to-face (85%), customers nowadays prefer to deal with companies through email (51%) and by telephone (46%).

Relationship factors

According to the research, people have similar attitudes towards their business and personal relationships with around two thirds citing trust as the most important attribute in both (60% for business relationships and 71% for personal).

The formulas for strong relationships are:

  • Trust + Honesty + Loyalty = Strong business relationship
  • Trust + Loyalty + Humour = Strong personal relationships

Dr Lynda Shaw, Psychologist and Cognitive Neuroscientist, said: “In both business and personal relationships, communication goes to a higher level of understanding and rapport once we’ve earned trust with the other party. If you don’t have loyalty in business relationships, you don’t truly have strong customer relationships; you simply have customers who buy from you moment-by-moment.

“With both trust and loyalty ranking so highly in E.ON’s research, this demonstrates that these key attributes are vital to building long-standing relationships – and businesses must ensure they’re there when it matters if they’re going to earn that trust and loyalty in the first place.”

Strong personal relationships make people feel happy (61%); so much so that almost half of those polled say they’d go back to an ex-partner (43%). And strong business relationships make people feel positive (42%), comfortable (36%) and trusting (31%), with almost two-thirds (60%) saying they’d go back to an energy supplier they’d previously left.

David Bird, Residential and Customer Operations Director at E.ON, said: “We recognise that it takes time to build a bond in any relationship, be it business or personal. Strong bonds are important and are based on factors such as trust, honesty and loyalty – and for businesses, the key thing is being there for our customers when it matters.

“Good relationships are crucial for any business. We want to build strong and lasting bonds with our customers, which is why we want to hear about the issues that matter most to them as we work towards becoming our customers’ trusted energy partner.”

To find out how E.ON can help customers use and pay for no more energy than they need, and to share views, please visit:


Notes to editors:

1 All data based on research was carried out among 2,000 British adults by Vision Critical in September 2014.

2. Source:

For more information contact:

Jag Kahlon at E.ON on 02476 181 308 or

The information (including any forecasts or projections) contained in this press release (the “Information”) reflects the views and opinions of E.ON on the date of this press release. The Information is intended as a guide only and nothing contained within this press release is to be taken, or relied upon, as advice. E.ON makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the Information (including, without limitation, any as to its quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose) and E.ON accepts no liability whatsoever for any action or omission taken by you in relation to the Information. Any reliance you place on the Information is solely at your own risk. This press release is the property of E.ON and you may not copy, modify, publish, repost or distribute it. © E.ON 2014

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