British Gas Unified IP (UC): Aspect Software

Author: Aspect Software

Date: 16th February 2012

The Company

British Gas provides gas, electricity and home repair services to millions of customers in Scotland, Wales and England. Part of the Centrica Group, it is the UK’s leading energy and Home Services provider.

The Business Challenge

British Gas required a customer contact solution that supported call blending, outbound campaign management and natural language speech recognition to support its new Smart Meter operation.
Smart Meters (SMs), for both gas and electricity, record the consumption of energy by households (or organisations) and then communicate that information back to utility companies for monitoring and billing purposes at the end of each day. Consumption is typically visible in near real-time, allowing consumers to see exactly how much energy they are using at any point in time. British Gas sees the top three benefits of SMs for energy consumers are accurate bills, greater energy awareness and control and better budgeting.

In December 2009 the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change announced its intention to replace around 47 million meters in Britain by 2020. And while the official start date for the rollout of SMs is summer 2012, some energy suppliers have already started installing the technology - with British Gas leading the way.

British Gas Smart Meter Rollout

In 2009, British Gas started Smart Meter trials with the aim of identifying where product improvements and business process enhancements can be made before full roll-out. To date, these trials have involved three phases. During the first phase in 2009, there was an introduction of early product prototypes. Phase two in 2010 involved the installation of a few thousand units of an improved trial product with more functionality and better reliability. Finally, the third phase starting in 2011, involves the trial of 500,000 units of an enhanced product capable of doing pre-payment as well as credit.

British Gas has also set up a dedicated Smart Meter team, including around 2,000 Smart Energy Experts (SEEs) whose target is to install 14 million meters by 2020. The team expects to be installing around 10,000 meters a day by 2012. British Gas is eager to update its customers about the benefits of Smart Meters and has set up a new area on its web site to provide useful information and give insights into how consumers can reduce bills and cut emissions.

The BGSM Contact Centre

During the 1990s, meter-reading appointment booking was outsourced by British Gas to a number of third party outsourcers. The Smart Meters programme now allows British Gas the opportunity to bring this activity back in-house, a significant move given the strategic importance to British Gas of discussing energy efficiency matters directly with its customers. British Gas also believes it will be more cost efficient to run meter-reading operations in-house.

Aspect Software

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