The Canal Street office in Leeds is its own little world. Imagine all of the operations carried out by all of the different teams in all of the offices around the country scaled down into one single floor devoted to the installation, maintenance and improvement of the Smart Metering service that British Gas provides. From the planning department who organise the availability and distribution of the Smart Energy Engineers (SEEs – there are a lot of acronyms in this place!), to the Contact Centre team who make front line contact with the customers interested in going “Smart”, to the Learning and Development team who plan and carry out the training of our staff, necessary to ensure the experience the customer receives from start to finish is easy and hassle-free – the breadth within this office is amazing.
Working within the Business Improvement and Change Team for my 10 week placement means that I get an insight into the way nearly all of these teams work. In my first few days I was listening to calls in the Contact Centre, shadowing Schedulers as they communicate with SEEs as they carry out their work and speaking to the Logistics team, ensuring that the engineers are fully equipped to carry out their work when they arrive on the customer’s doorstep. All of this experience has helped me to network and gain contacts who are more than willing to work through a process I don’t fully understand or an issue I may have, and so many have already come in extremely useful in the project I’ve been assigned.
Being based in an office such as this one while Smart Energy is a huge talking point in the news is an eye-opener too. Smart Metering may be portrayed negatively by some, but the way the dedicated team in Leeds go about their job couldn’t be more different and given the chance to be a fly-on-the-wall, as I have been in my first few weeks just goes to show how the customer really is at the forefront of all operations carried out here. Especially within the Change team who I spend most of my time with, if there is even the slightest opportunity to save the customer money, improve the customer’s experience, or act on feedback gained from customers, rest assured there is somebody working to make it happen!
As a Customer Ops student, it’s great to be involved in so many aspects of the Smart Metering Operation, and to see a project go from a plan on a piece of paper to a fully operational process that is used throughout the whole business. To be responsible for one of these improvement projects (the process of overtime payments to engineers) is daunting, considering I am so new to the business, but the thought that some improvements I suggest may one day actually be used here motivates me – it’s a big opportunity to leave my mark!