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Lithys 2015: British Gas - Excellence in Customer Satisfaction

Lithys 2015: British Gas - Excellence in Customer Satisfaction

Company: British Gas  British Gas logo.jpg

Entry submitted by: Louisa Martin (louisamartin) Social Media Manager- Communities

Social channels:

Lithy category: Excellence in Customer Satisfaction


British Gas is the UK’s leading energy supplier, serving around 11 million homes, as well as providing energy to nearly one million UK business supply points. Affordability is a key concern for both residential and business customers and our extensive coverage is both a strength and a responsibility. Our challenge in 2014, as an energy industry, is to innovate to drive growth and service excellence while continuing to work hard to win our customers’ trust. We are working with our customers to change British Gas for the better.



Genuinely Helpful customer care and Meaningful Conversations


British Gas ventured into the social media world, with  no clear direction, guidance or understanding of how to operate in this area. 18 months ago we had 4 people skilled to deal with contacts on Twitter and Facebook however, we only had 1 person responding to contacts for c6 hrs per day and this was only if calls were not busy or they weren’t needed on webchat.


Today we have a team of 16FTE responding from 8am to 10pm 7 days.


We have an always on approach and interact with commentators not only coming to our channels for customer care, but people talking about life events and situations, where we feel we can be genuinely helpful to them through personalised conversations and content.

This is how we see Social Media for us moving forward:


‘To lead British Gas to Smooth Running, by having millions of meaningful & helpful conversations...


Building trust in a brand where little exists today


Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, every time we speak with them


We asked all our followers across Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for their opinions, to make sure we could meet their expectations.


Response Times

  • 17% of customers expect to be responded to in under 1 hour
  • 34% want a response within a few hours
  • 36% are happy with the end of the day
  • 13% are happy to wait a couple of days


This points to the fact customer don’t want an immediate response, they just want the right response


What are they interested in?

  • 62% come for customer service
  • 61% for Energy saving tips
  • 61% want money saving tips


This shows us our followers don’t want us to sell to them through our content but they want us to help them reduce their bills through helpful advice and information.


So how did we change and try to rebuild trust?



This allowed our social care team to spend time dealing with the customer instead of filling our excel spreadsheets, whilst all our MI was taken care of by the platform.


Response Times

Our customers said they didn’t need an immediate response, this allows us to take the time to make sure we do everything for the customer and as a result have set our General response time to 2.5hrs. However, we believe response times do matter, when they matter. We therefore differentiate between different situations:

  • Vulnerable customers 30mins – Having heating or not can be a life or death situation for our most vulnerable customers. LSW allows us to recognise these and prioritise, so they are dealt with immediately.
  • Time sensitive (appointments) 45mins – Tweeting asking us where an engineer is, when you need to go on the school run, is a priority, in that moment.


Multi-Skilled agents

74% of customers contacting us have already contact BG through another channel and have been failed by that channel, we had to make sure when they came through to us, we were the final contact. Against standard procedure in British Gas, we have upskilled the social care team across all business areas, with a target of less than 10% of contacts being transferred out of the team.


Responsive and no flushing

We believe everyone who mentions British Gas has the right to have their comment read. Our care team then make the decision on whether to respond or not. We respond to 93% of comments across Facebook and Twitter and choose not to respond to continual trollers or commentators who we are in Legal dispute with.


What did our customers think about the changes?



All customer care conversations are issued with our NPS survey with our key questions representing the increases below, after changing the way we work and putting the customer first:


On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being not at all likely and 10 being extremely likely, how likely are you to recommend British Gas to a friend, family member or colleague?

  • -9 Mar 2014
  • +18 Mar 2015


What is your overall opinion of British Gas on Social Media? (Top 3 box – customers who rated us Good, Very good or Excellent)

  • 85% Mar 2014
  • 100% Mar 2015


How would you rate the social media team who deal with your enquiry (Top 3 box – customers who rated us Good, Very good or Excellent) and Top box (Excellent)

  • Mar 2014 Top 3 box 80% and Top box 70%
  • Mar 2015 Top 3 box 100% and Top box 82%


These results represent significant changes to the way our customers see British Gas and interact with us on our social channels. Agent scores and channel opinion are significantly higher than voice, email and webchat and over the next 12 months we will work with these channels to feedback how the social media way of working, can be integrated into their areas. Ownership and full resolution in one contact is of paramount importance to social media care and this is now coming through in our results.


We’re doing something with Lithium no-one else is...


Proactive conversations – We’re doing something with Lithium no-one else is...


This year we have been reaching out to social media commentators who are in situations where they need help, but not mentioning British Gas. We’re having 800+ meaningful conversations per month with people to rebuild trust in our brand. We’ve worked closely with Neerav, Luke and the LSW team to manipulate the platform so these conversations can be identified, brought in and served to the appropriate team.
This activity is about rebuilding trust in a brand, where it doesn’t exist anymore. If a commentator is talking about having a cold shower due to a broken boiler, we’re intercepting the conversation with a link to a self diagnosis tool on our website. This isn’t about selling our Home Service products, this is simply about showing the commentator we can be helpful. We step away from the customer once we have sent the helpful content and don't re-engage, unless the customer asks for it. Behavioural economics show, by being helpful in these types of situation, if presented with your brand in the future, you will be perceived in a more favourable light.


LSW allows us to have these conversations with influential commentators by delivering conversations from commentators over preset Klout.


This strategy is helping us build relationships with key influencers and stakeholders and has had a +5 impact on our brand sentiment score.


Proactive Conversations

These conversations are having a +7pt impact on our brand sentiment, helping us combat comments similar to:

British 1.jpg



Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2015 Lithy Submission
Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2015 Lithy Winner