British Gas expands crowdsourcing scheme

British Gas is to crowdsource ideas from 50,000 people on what they want from an energy company as part of its wider efforts to regain the trust of UK homeowners.

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The ‘Your World’ panel will include customers from all the major energy suppliers as well as British Gas. A campaign to encourage panellists to sign-up online is underway.

British Gas will use the platform to crowdsource ideas on how to improve specific services and products, asking for feedback on aspects such as customer service, simplifying bills, making pricing easier to follow and how to be more energy efficient.  

The panel will function in similar way to the company’s independent nine-strong “customer board” setup in 2010 to identify ways to improve transparency. .

Ian Peters, managing director of residential energy at British Gas, says: “Listening to customers is vital.  That is why we are complementing the valuable work of our customer board with ‘Your World’, a 50-000 strong online panel of people across the UK.”

Expansion of the panel comes as the energy supplier British Gas reveals the customer board has led to more than 30 “innovations” in the last 12 months. Developments include the June launch of a simplified energy bill.

Peters adds that its customers are already starting to see the benefit of the “ongoing opinions, insights and challenges” of the customer feedback push.

“The frank and honest feedback we have received has been hugely valuable, and has made a real impact on the way British Gas serves its customers”, he says.

The Centrica owned firm, which saw revenues rise by 21 per cent to £3.2bn in the six months to June 30, has also signed a voluntary agreement with the six big energy companies to tell their customers if they are overpaying for energy and how to switch to a cheaper tariff.

Analysts have predicted British Gas will announce an increase in energy prices after warning earlier this year that suppliers will be forced to pass on rising wholesale costs. Rival SSE announced that it would be increasing prices by an average of 9% from October.

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