British Gas suspends “unsustainable” doorstep selling

British Gas is suspending its sales staff from door step selling, claiming it is “outdated” and no longer a sustainable way to build a relationship with customers.

BritishGas

Instead, the energy supplier will focus on face-to-face appointments with advisers and online customer service. Doorstep selling will be halted for an initial period of three months.

The move comes on the advice of watchdog Consumer Focus, which said that many customers are compelled to switch to worse deals after they have been confronted by door to door sales people. A committee of MPs also discussed concerns about the “Del Boy” sales tactics used by utilities companies on customers’ doorsteps last month.

British Gas is currently ramping up its communications drive to repair its haemorrhaging brand reputation after coming under fire on several occasions, from consumers and regulators, in recent weeks.

Rival supplier Scottish and Southern Energy, also recently stopped doorstep sales after it was found guilty of mis-selling products to its customers.

Ian Peters, managing director of energy at British Gas, says: “Doorstep selling, in its current form, is no longer a sustainable way to engage or build a relationship with customers. We want the energy advice we give our customers to be trusted and delivered at a time and place that is convenient to them.”

British Gas says it has been reducing the number of doorstep salesmen for “many years” and has shrunk that side of the sales force from 1,300 in 2006 to less than 300 people.

Separately, regulator Ofgem is currently undertaking a review into a “radical reform” of the energy sector and is calling on utilities companies to increase their transparency about prices and auction off up to 20% of the energy they generate in order to increase competition in the marketplace.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here