Company: British Gas
Company background: British Gas is the UK’s leading energy and in-home servicing supplier, serving millions of homes across the country. It is an established brand within the Centrica family, having looked after the homes of Britain for over 200 years. It has a distinctive field force of 8,000 engineers.
Contact: Gemma Crask
Title: Digital Conversations - Channel Manager
Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On
1. How did your team shift your existing strategy to better engage customers during a crisis?
During the recent/current COVID-19 crisis our team implemented a shift in existing strategy to focus much more on our customers in need due to impacts specifically caused by this new virus and unprecedented changes to their lives. We always treated our customers fairly and our focus is usually to respond to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible to serve their needs. This crisis presented not only a dramatic increase in the contact through our Social Media channel during the time we were mobilising the rest of the business to be able to work from our colleagues homes, leading to other channels being temporarily closed, but also changed the complexion of what was now a priority for the teams to deal with. We were now dealing with a much larger volume of customers asking us for help across Twitter and Facebook, many of whom couldn’t leave their homes to buy energy or were experiencing boiler/hot water/heating problems which they could not fix the ‘usual’ way. Many customers, as were many of the population, were panicking but we needed to show courage and be there to solve those problems. Our team were well placed to be mobilised quickly to work from home, before any other area of the business, within a week of lockdown we had 95% of our workforce logging on at home and serving our customers as though it was just another day for them.
2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis?
To help with our focus on our customers that need our help the most, we created a different way of working within Khoros. Our Digital Conversation support team firstly created us a crisis dashboard within Khoros Analytics. This provided a real time view of any priority posts in specific queues (particularly those where a customer may be vulnerable and in greater need of help, such as top up energy and Central Heating issues). It provided our customer service teams with a view of the time we were taking to reach out to them. In a normal ‘BAU’ day, we would prioritise all posts regardless of the queues, but the real courage here was to focus our energy on these very high risk areas, considering the nature of isolation rules customers are suddenly facing.
Within our operational teams, we extended our opening hours past the normal 10pm finish, working hours up to midnight every day which our teams selflessly volunteered to do. This allowed us to help thousands more customers than we would do normally.
3. What success metrics did you use to determine if your shifts in strategy and process had the desired outcomes? What were those quantifiable outcomes?
We were able to determine that our shift in strategy was a success through our response times, the volume of incoming posts responded to (response rate), and of course our NPS. During this crisis, particularly through April 2020 we received 125.5k incoming posts, an increase of over 70% compared to April 2019, yet our response rate only dropped by 4% (63% vs. 67%).
Looking at a wider timeframe, from the start of March to the end of June 2020, we have received over 350k incoming posts, an increase of 60% during the same timeframe in 2019.
We were also able, with the use of the Crisis Dashboard, to ensure our response times were responded to as quickly as possible for those highest risk customers. We managed to respond to 72% of all of our pay as you go customers, and 53% of our services customers within just 30mins. With the average subsequent response times being just 20min and 24min respectively.
Our NPS performance tells a story during this period too as our customers really appreciated the availability and service from our advisors. Our NPS performance for the business month of this crisis reached +50, an increase of 21 points since February with 93% of respondents feeling that we had resolved their issue. These are just a couple of the 1.5k comments our customers left us in April,
“I'm very indifferent as to who provides my electricity. Its the same thing no matter the provider. The service I received by DMing on Twitter was brilliant, top notch. I totally understand why your phone lines are emergencies only (which is why I didn't phone) but I had a serious issue that needed resolved and it was very hard to get in touch. Your social media team are a credit to you! Well done social media team!”
“Thank you for your assistance during this difficult time. The customer service adviser provided helpful information for me as I wasn't sure how to get in touch with British Gas given the increase in emergency calls. Thank you :)”
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