British Gas has had its fair share of criticism over the years. Time was when I was right at the front of the queue, with plenty to complain about.

I’ve experienced how painfully slow they could be to get anything done. I’ve been on the receiving end of what was their dreadful customer service. And I’ve been bamboozled by their complicated bills.

But I’m beginning to change my mind.

A while ago I applied to British Gas for a smart meter. A lovely engineer came to install it – he was easy to talk to and, as far as I could tell, skilled at his job. I trusted him, which is a good feeling when you have a stranger in your house fiddling with your gas supply.

However, because we have dodgy mobile reception where I live, he was unable to fit the new meter. He explained why (smart meters use mobile networks to communicate), tidied up where he’d been working and left. And I didn’t give smart meters another thought.

Until this popped up in my inbox.


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What changed?

What strikes me is the easy language, helped by their clever copywriter’s use of contractions (for example, it’s instead of the more formal it is).

They used the word you three times in the first sentence so I immediately felt the message had something relevant to me. And who wouldn’t be pleased to know they haven’t been forgotten?

The heading is a question and does make me want to know what the latest is.

It’s honest, which I appreciate. I still can’t get a smart meter, they’re sorry about this but reassure me I’m on their waiting list.

And because they sent this message, I believe them when they say they’ll be in touch again.

My only gripe is that the email is signed British Gas. A whole company can’t write to me so it would have been much better to have a real person’s name at the end.

But I’ll let them off as otherwise their crack copywriter has done such a good job.

So while it’s pushing it to say I love British Gas, I do applaud them for the effort they’re making with their communications.

A few well-chosen words really can make all the difference.

P.S. They didn’t even try to sell me boiler cover as a PS!


Hello. I’m Sarah Russell. I’m a crack copywriter too.

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