Improving the British Gas customer experience

Taking a user-centred approach to deliver results for the UK’s largest energy company.

My role: UX consultant (contract)
Strategy, research, analysis, design

2017 to 2018

I was hired as a consultant to work with the online account team, set up to serve existing business customers. Our team were responsible for user onboarding, login and account management journeys.


We were set the following business challenges:

  • increase adoption of the online account for existing business customers
  • redesign the experience for customers switching from another provider, using a modern technology stack
  • reduce the load on call centres for routine tasks, such as payments and checking the status of a switch


To discover what was working and where improvements could be made, we first needed to examine how customers were using their account.

I started by mapping our user journeys. Visualising the user experience in this way helped facilitate conversations with people from around the business enabling us to form a shared understanding of what was effective, and more crucially discuss pain points and gaps in our knowledge.

I was then able to collaborate with developers and data analysts to ensure we were recording the data points needed.

Once we had a high-level view of what was happening, we could investigate any assumptions: which journeys were abandoned? What features weren’t used? Why did we think this might be the case?

Abstract illustration of a journey map showing the path a user needs to take with lines and boxes
Journey map illustration (content redacted)

User research

To complement the quantitative data shown in the journey maps, we needed to involve our users. We ran regular one-to-one sessions with customers. Typically, these included observational research with a prototype. Stakeholders from around the business were encouraged to observe.

The analysis involved correlating our findings with our previous assumptions. Including stakeholders in this process was really valuable as they were able to provide context and input their ideas.

British Gas colleage stcking post-it to wall Two colleagues looking at the wall of post-its A colleague adding a post-it
Collating notes after research sessions with customers

Learning from call centre team

Spending time with staff at the call centres proved another useful way to learn about customer behaviour and areas for improvement. I was able to participate in calls and speak with agents to understand their needs.

Our most effective changes weren’t always visible to customers; they were a result of rethinking back-office processes. For example, how the business treats registration approvals.

Outcomes / results

By taking a user-centred approach our team were able to:

  • significantly increase the account registration conversion rate
  • redesign and release a new switching process for customers coming from another provider, reducing follow-up calls
  • reduce repetitive, manual admin work
  • prioritise a backlog of longer-term opportunities
Screenshot of British Gas business homepage
Screenshot of message outlining progress switching from another supplier to British Gas Screenshot of message outlining progress switching from another supplier to British Gas Screenshot of message outlining progress switching from another supplier to British Gas
Screenshot of British Gas business online account

Phil has been an awesome member of the team. Always positive, always doing the right thing and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the design dept and beyond. Amazing detail and such a thorough user centred approach across every area from research, through design to commercial impact.

Conor Ward
Global Digital Experience Director, Centrica