British Gas has set up a Customer Panel in order to respond to customer frustration around issues such as pricing, clarity over what’s in the bill and customer service.
The Customer Panel, a group of 40 customers, will receive unprecedented access to British Gas over the next eight months with a view to reporting back publicly on what they find. The first 18 Customer Panel members, who were selected from hundreds of applications across the country, all started their experience at British Gas’ Cardiff Call Centre. They had an introductory Q&A session with Phil Bentley, chaired by Ann Robinson, director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, and former head of Energywatch.
They also sat in with British Gas call centre workers to experience, first-hand, customer service from the other end of the phone and see how customer complaints are dealt with.
Des Morgan, 58, from Caraway Drive, who lives with his wife Shelley, has joined the Customer Panel as he’s interested in finding out more about British Gas customer service as he’s has negative experiences with its customer services in the past. He wants to learn from his time on the Customer Panel and to be able to introduce change into the British Gas business.
A quote from Des: “Phil Bentley, Managing Director of British Gas, personally invited me to join the Customer Panel after I wrote a letter of complaint to our local MP. I felt British Gas wasn’t properly explaining to its customers how much energy they were using each month and I had a series of negative experiences with customer services.
"I joined the panel because I believe that it is a good thing for customers to have a responsible voice in the way a company is run. Although I was a bit sceptical at first about whether it was going to turn out to be a PR stunt, I do believe that British Gas is genuinely committed to listening to the Panel’s suggestions and reacting accordingly. Our visit to the Cardiff Call Centre gave me plenty of food for thought on that score – and I have been impressed with my experiences so far. It’s going to be interesting to see what the other people on the panel think too and see to what extent our suggestions will be implemented.”