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Have been selling a house recently, and am in the middle of moving everything this week, and it’s been enlightening to see the self-serve and digital journey offerings of some of the big utility providers, and the contrast in CX between British Gas and E-on could not be greater.

Part of selling the house is we need to have the boiler serviced. No problem, I have Homecare with British Gas. Go online 3 or 4 months ago and book it. All good. Appointment date was 6 weeks ago, waited in all day. No one arrived. No text, no email, nada.

I went online to the account portal, and it says the appointment has been moved by 5 weeks. Well, was anyone going to tell me? No email update or text to say so!

Appointment rescheduled by them, for last Friday. My wife waited in. All day. No engineer, no text, no email. Nothing. Again. I was out on the Saturday so thought I’d try and ring them Monday morning and see what’s happening.

Saturday morning, the engineer turns up! Bright as anything, without a care in the world, and to be fair, none of this is his fault. But this wasn’t scheduled, nothing in the portal to say it was that day, no communication, it was pure luck that someone happened to be in.

Boiler is now serviced and we have the certificate which mean the house sale can go through, but this could have delayed or delayed the whole process, which is stressful enough as it is, or we could have had to incur the cost of paying for an additional company to come and do the work, when I already pay British Gas for the service plan.

And then of course I get the renewal email from them this week, as if nothing has happened, assuming they can just carry on taking the money each month, with the onus on me to have to cancel, if I can be bothered with the sheer horror of trying to contact them

What really bothers me the most about the dreadful experience from British Gas, is that this is a business and operation that has won countless customer service and contact centre awards in recent years. Is this really the standard we should be holding up to the industry as best in class?

Contrast this with E-on. Not everyone’s cup of tea I’m sure, but I doff my cap to them for their digitisation, self-serve and slick, low effort customer experience.

Went into my account, very easy to do, and very easy to navigate to the moving home page. Asked me if I wanted to keep them or cancel, this is really liked, no hard sell. How many companies make this bit the difficult bit, where you can only cancel if you ring them up to be put through several rounds of bushtucker trials by the retentions team?

Was all completed in a matter of a few clicks, with a email a couple of days later to remind me to send a final reading. They’ve even made this journey easier too. Yes, I can go online and submit the numbers, or I can just email them with a picture of the meters and they will do the rest.

I truly hope this is the type of CX and digital transformation we will now finally see across utilities, as some have been years behind.

Til next time, from the new home…

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