Concerned about British Gas’s forthcoming astronomical price rises? Don’t be. Chris Jansen, their MD, is here to help.
“Personally, I’ll help any customer,” he said on TV recently, adjusting his cape and superhero mask. “Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
So, I did. Having been with British Gas for over ten years, I felt I deserved at least an explanation as to why my bills are about to be smashed by an 18% price hike. After all, in the ten years they’ve paid someone else to pump gas and electricity into my house, the only offer I’ve had from them is for boiler cover. Or a new boiler. Free of charge, I wondered? No, I’d have to pay for either, but they would send the nice smiley man you see on the adverts who definitely wouldn’t rape me.
In my email, I asked why British Gas deemed it necessary to increase their prices by so much and why they chose now, of all times, to do it. Steer clear of bullshit, I told him. I also highlighted that I’m an EnergySmart customer, which has marginal benefits.
To my surprise, Chris replied and, after a long winded, bullshit-ridden list of excuses about rising fuel costs, recommended I switch to EnergySmart.
Now, forgive me for being pedantic, but if you say you’re going to personally respond to customers, surely you should be true to your word and do just that. What I received was quite clearly a formulated reply. A template knocked up by a copy writer quickly after Chris’ appearance on Sky News. Something he could ask someone else to send to muggles like myself who bothered to get in touch.
To cut a long story short, after threatening to go and live in the woods and thus avoid the need for gas and electric, Chris replied somewhat more personably and offered to stuff my walls with cavity insulation, free of charge. It wasn’t clear whether he’d come round to do it himself, but he was quite insistent that I should take him up on his offer. He also pointed out that I could gain Nectar Points because I’m a British Gas customer. That would be great, if I had a Nectar card and if I actually wanted a pair of one-size-fits-all gloves or a new torch. Mind you, if these price rises continue, I’ll probably be thankful of them.
Lastly, the money shot. He brought out the big guns. Something that would win back my trust. SuperChris would credit my account with £75…
…in nine months time. If I’ve bothered to stay with them.