British Gas has announced that it will stop doorstep sales for three months in line with a request from Consumer Focus to all energy suppliers.
British Gas said doorstep selling was increasingly out dated as a way of communicating with customers and that the company would now work with both customers and consumer bodies to develop how it “provides access to advice and information about its products and services, including the role of appointment based face-to-face advice”.
British Gas said doorstep selling was no longer the preferred or trusted way that consumers want to assess their energy arrangements.
British Gas has actually cut down on the number of doorstep sales agents over recent years. The number is now less than a quarter of the 1,300 agents employed in 2006.
Customers have reported that they do value face-to-face advice but have said it needs to be delivered differently. British Gas will consult with Consumer Focus which called for a three month suspension of doorstep selling and has suggested that in future energy providers should have an appointment system.
British Gas said it was “committed to giving its customers control of how they can access product information and advice at a time and place convenient to them”.
The company said there was an increased demand for appointment based face-to-face advice from trained energy experts. Now British Gas wants to develop new ways to do this. Working with Sainsbury’s British Gas has gained over 100,000 new accounts this year since the partnership was launched.
The managing Director of Energy at British Gas, Ian Peters said “Doorstep selling, in its current form, is no longer a sustainable way to engage or build a relationship with customers. We want the energy advice we give our customers to be trusted and delivered at a time and place that is convenient to them”.