- Meet Brian Jackson, the man responsible for helping customers stay on top of their bills
- Helping people get out of debt, not knocking on doors to demand money
- There’s plenty of help available so people shouldn’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for help
When your job title includes the words ‘credit’ and ‘collections’, some people might dread having to speak to you. But with Brian Jackson, the Director for Credit and Collections at British Gas, it’s clear that the debt-collector stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.
Brian’s job is to oversee the energy provider’s credit and collections team, but a lot of the time he and his team are helping customers to stay on top of their bills.
Brian’s mission is not to get hold of your money at any cost – his goal is to work with customers to ensure that as few people as possible fall into debt.
The company wants to ensure that you do not fall behind, that you do not get into debt, and that you can continue to keep your home warm and working, without having to worry about the cost.
This means speaking to customers on a regular basis, helping them to better manage their finances and heat their homes more efficiently. It’s really about helping customers to stay out of debt in the long term – not knocking on doors to demand money.
“As the biggest energy provider in the Britain, there are a lot of areas that we look at in terms of best practice for helping our customers. We are shaping the industry, and other organisations are following suit,” says Brian.
The help that British Gas offers to customers ranges from finding long-term sustainable payment plans – that is, helping customers to spread the cost of their energy over a longer period of time – to working with external organisations, such as debt charities, in order to help customers with bigger financial issues.
One of the key ways that British Gas offers help is through the British Gas Energy Trust, an independent charity set up by British Gas to help tackle fuel poverty. Read about how the Trust warmed up Len’s home here.
British Gas is working hard to tackle this issue. By 2004, the British Gas Energy Trust had received donations of £85m from British Gas, helping more than 175,000 people by giving advice, awarding grants to help clear their debts or to help them buy more efficient household goods, such as boilers or fridges.
Brian regularly speaks with customers to help them stay on top of their energy bills.
“One particular case that I remember working on involved an elderly couple who were in a difficult situation both financially and in terms of their standards of living,” he remembers.
“Through the British Gas Energy Trust, we were able to provide them with support, not just for covering their arrears, but also in helping them to stay on track with concerns over future consumption. Through a grant, we also helped them to buy a new fridge-freezer to help them have a better standard of living.”
This is fundamentally what Brian’s goal is: to ensure that there is enough help, advice and support available so that no British Gas customer ends up in debt because of their energy use.
“There is help readily available,” he concludes. “We want to help you stay ahead – don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to us, we’re here to help.”
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