Caring for our customers

We care about our customers and challenge ourselves to provide market leading products, services and solutions that not only satisfy them, but enhance their lives and business success.

Highlights

  • 1.7m customers who choose to contact us via our digital platforms
  • 89% customers with smart thermostats who feel more in control over their heating
  • Key sectors in the UK could save millions of pounds a year if they adopted distributed energy solutions:
    • £540m Industry
    • £130m Healthcare
    • £310m Hospitality & Leisure

Making lives simpler and smarter

We are focused on saving our customers time and money, while making it easier for them to understand energy.

Smart meters improve bill accuracy and empower customers to reduce their use by providing insight into how much energy they are using and its cost in real-time. Since 2009, we have led the smart meter roll-out in the UK, installing around five million in homes and businesses. Building on this, a simpler, no-nonsense British Gas bill will be introduced during 2018.

We are making it easier for customers to control and optimise their energy. In 2017, we established Centrica Innovations with a £100 million investment to build, collaborate and invest in purposeful startups that will make energy work better for customers by focusing on control, convenience and affordability. Cumulatively, we have also sold over 1.6 million Connected Home products that can be controlled conveniently with just a tap on the app – from smart thermostats, plugs, lights and cameras, to window, door and motion sensors.

We are investing in our customer service capabilities so that we can provide an excellent service.

In 2017:

  • UK Home invested in training and intelligent call-routing;
  • North America Home improved training and self-serve capability;
  • Ireland increased training, process automation and enhanced customerfacing IT platforms;
  • UK Business strengthened bill accuracy and timeliness; and
  • North America Business improved its online customer platform as well as digital journeys for acquisitions.

Over time, these efforts will help reduce customer complaints and improve satisfaction.

Helping those in need

We have worked hard to deliver a fairer, more competitive energy market for everyone, especially those in need. Having cut prices in 2016, however, we made the difficult decision to increase them in 2017. British Gas’ electricity prices rose by 12.5% due to an increase in costs relating to energy policy and the delivery to customers’ homes. Similarly, Bord Gáis Energy put up prices by 5.9% for electricity and 3.4% for gas, following a rise in wholesale energy costs and distributing energy to the network. In the UK, we have set out a range of initiatives to help drive engagement with the energy market and ensure customers get a better deal. This includes closing our standard variable tariff to all new customers and introducing fixed-term competitive tariffs.

In 2017, we helped over one million vulnerable customer households through mandatory and voluntary schemes.

This included:

  • 667,900 customers accessing bill assistance via the UK’s Warm Home Discount scheme and North America’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor programme;
  • 297,000 customers supported with bill assistance following Hurricane Harvey in North America;
  • 26,900 customers and non-customers helped with debt advice and grants through the British Gas Energy Trust; and
  • 53,200 households receiving energy efficiency improvements via the UK’s Energy Company Obligation, while five communities benefited from Ireland’s Better Energy Communities scheme.

Our award-winning customer service training ensures we identify and support those who need a helping hand. By the end of 2017, over 21,000 employees had become Dementia Friends, improving our ability to help those living with the condition. We also supported the development of industry guidance that will enable the utility sector to become dementia-friendly.

Innovative products and services are creating a better world for people with disabilities and those in later life. In 2017 for example, we launched a video relay service for customers who use British Sign Language, allowing them to interact with us much more effectively.

This programme has given us a level of awareness I never could have imagined. We’ll not only improve our profit margins, but become better corporate citizens and better professionals.
- Rafael Ruíz Muñoz, Corporate Brand Director, CMR Chili’s