Brand Biology was appointed to create a customer experience initiative for the British Gas credit and operations department, comprising two teams, both responsible for debt collection. The 275-strong contact centre team was office based, while the 100 field representatives visited customers at their homes and business premises. Senior management was keen for the department to move away from a ‘cash is king’ culture to a customer-centric focus.
Traditionally, credit and operations had focused on ‘collection’, but this had changed. It was felt the team tended to distance themselves from customers, meaning the service given was at best ‘transactional’, and at worst ‘threatening’. Quality checks, such as giving energy efficiency advice, often sounded overly scripted.
Management wanted staff to strive for a ‘win-win’ situation in each interaction. The department therefore needed to focus on rapport building and learn to understand and adapt to different customer needs.
An overall mindset shift was also needed, to challenge negative perceptions about customers’ financial circumstances.