British Gas appoints customer loyalty head

Centrica-owned British Gas has created the new position of head of customer retention. The decision follows the shrinking of its gas customer base from 70 to 67 per cent in the wake of a price-hike imposed in January.

Doug Richards, finance director of Centrica’s Goldfish business, has joined as the new head of customer retention and will report to the British Gas marketing director Nick Smith.

The utility company denies that Richards’ appointment is a direct consequence of the loss of customers.

A spokesman says: “The appointment reflects the increasing importance of customer retention in what is a highly competitive market. Many energy companies have been focusing on acquiring new customers but British Gas is now leading the way in ensuring that loyal customers are not neglected.”

Following the gas price increase, consumer watchdog Energywatch launched a high-profile campaign urging customers to switch to cheaper suppliers (MW January 10).

Separately, British Gas is mooting the idea of energy companies working alongside the Direct Marketing Association to ensure the quality of sales services provided by the energy industry and address public concerns on misselling.

This follows the coming together of ScottishPower, London Electricity Group, Powergen, Seeboard and TXU to pilot a similar scheme called EnergySure.

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