Hi there, I’m Aoife and I am two weeks into my summer placement at Centrica, working in their Human Resources stream in Windsor. I’ve had a fantastic first two weeks and could blog all day about the various great projects I am working on, but after spending the day at the Leicester British Gas office, I really want to share my thoughts on that side of the business as I truly found my day eye-opening.
I’ll be the first to admit that before working at Centrica, when I thought of British Gas, the first image that sprung to my head was their bright blue vans (and don’t get me wrong I saw a lot of them!) or their TV advertisements, with the family on their green hill. Whilst this all paints a great image of British Gas, today I got to meet the real people behind this image and it was a fantastic experience.
The first people I met were the British Gas recruitment team. I was lucky enough to observe two interviews for call centre positions and this taught me a huge amount about British Gas and their values. Each candidate has to go through a rigorous process before being invited to interview (including an online application, online tests, a phone interview and a role play session) so the candidates I saw had already been very successful. However, what really stuck with me after being involved in the recruitment process, was British Gas’ dedication to excellent customer service. Many of the questions asked in the interview were designed to assess how caring the candidate was and whether they were prepared to go the extra mile for customers, especially the vulnerable ones, with the successful candidate that I observed evidently a very warm and kind-natured individual, underlining the clear customer focus of British Gas.
During the afternoon I was able to take a tour around the engineer training academy which is also in Leicester. I had never seen anywhere like it before. It is a huge building filled with every electrical and gas appliance you can imagine. All around are apprentice engineers either observing or practising repair and service procedures. What really shone through for me was the commitment of British Gas to the training of their apprentice engineers. Not only do they spend 2 years in a fantastic training centre, but they then go on to be monitored for several years after they qualify, to ensure that every engineer that is sent out can provide British Gas services of an extremely high standard.
Finally I was lucky enough to listen in to customer calls with one of the team’s most experienced customer calls operators. I heard a wide variety of calls from British Gas customers, from those simply wanting to book their annual boiler service, to those who had breakdowns and those who wanted to change price packages, check a bill or simply ask questions about new products and services. This was a great opportunity for me, as I really saw the business through the customer’s perspective and I could see that the call centre employees were happy to take their time over each call to ensure that each customer’s needs were being met. This part of the day was additionally useful as the Human Resources Centrica Graduate Scheme includes a placement in one of Centrica’s call centres.
All in all I found my day in Leicester an extremely positive experience. I was able to gain a much fuller insight into British Gas, its people and its core values which has helped me to understand Centrica as a multi-faceted business much more. I feel very humbled to be even a very small part of such a great company and hopefully I’ll be able to visit the Leicester office again in the not too distant future.