British Gas supplies approximately 12 million homes with energy in the UK, making them our largest domestic energy supplier. Clearly millions are convinced enough by British Gas’ performance to sign up, but they are by no means the cheapest supplier out there. One area of particular interest to consumers is their supplier’s customer service. How do British Gas rate in this critical area?
Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey 2014
The largest study of energy suppliers’ customer satisfaction are undertaken by Which?, the consumer organisation. Their research is highly professional and well respected. Their customer satisfaction survey covers 22 gas and electricity suppliers, with a sample size of over 9,400 customers. The overall scores are based not solely on customer services, but on billing accuracy, and value for money.
According the their energy supplier customer satisfaction survey, British Gas came out as joint 15th out of 18. They scored 3 out of 5 for customer service.
uSwitch Energy Award Rating 2014
Another large survey of energy suppliers is the uSwitch Energy Awards. In 2014, they polled more than 9,000 customers on the six biggest energy suppliers, and two smaller ones (Ovo and First Utility). Surprisingly, both the smaller energy suppliers outstripped the big six by a huge margin in terms of customer satisfaction, which is real food for thought. You can see the results here. The criteria included customer services, as well as billing services, which is a critical area for many customers. uSwitch noted that British Gas scored highest in the Billing Services category, ranking 4th overall. Billing is an area of great customer dissatisfaction across all of the Big Six suppliers, so any improvement here is to be welcomed.
In this survey, British Gas came out at 6th out of 8, for overall satisfaction.
British Gas – Good News and Bad News
In 2015, British Gas hit the headlines for passing on a 5% price drop on gas prices to customers, saving each of them about £72 a year. It hasn’t reduced its electricity prices, but this is still a significant saving.
On 4 December 2014 the energy regulator Ofgem announced the results of an investigation into British Gas, over their failure to meet deadlines on insulating homes that they had promised to under the terms of two schemes they ran to improve energy-efficiency. British Gas was asked to forfeit 11.1m, which was donated to charities which support vulnerable customers.
If you are considering switching to British Gas, you will not be paying the lowest rate for your energy. But, British Gas does offer several incentive schemes to sweeten the pill. You can earn Nectar points if you buy their electricity through Sainsbury’s Energy. They offer £50 Amazon gift cards, Fixed Rate tariffs and no exit fees to tempt customers.
With British Gas you have the reassurance of knowing you have a large organisation of long-standing and good reputation as a supplier. Their customer service is not the best, but nor is it the worst. The good news is that the company are responding to concerns about customer service, with the announcement of a £50 million investment in this side of the business. This means an expansion of their customer services department by 10%, with 350 extra roles, new systems and extra training for all 5000 current customer services representatives. This will target call waiting times, which is a particular gripe for British Gas customers, especially at peak times. The investment does show a real commitment to improving this side of the business, which is good news for both existing and future customers.