British Gas’ business division has been rocked by a 95% loss in operating profit during the first half of this year following a botched implementation to a new CRM and billing system.
The utility giant admitted the gaffe in its recent profit announcement, blaming issues with the switch to SAP software for significant delays in issuing customer bills.
It added: “As a result, we incurred an increased bad debt charge and additional costs associated with extra resource required to help resolve the issues…”
British Gas’ moved over 34 million residential customer accounts from the legacy Siebel CRM programme to an integrated SAP CRM and billing system in September last year. Its 500,000 business customer account migration to SAP, however, has taken far longer than first envisaged.
The company, which spends upwards of £30m a year on direct mail and sends nearly 100 million mailshots, planned to use the CRM software to draw on its databases of customer interactions and enable a greater degree of targeting for campaigns.
Insight from data gathered is also designed to shape the overall marketing strategy – including the company’s multi-million pound call centre. OgilvyOne handles the firm’s direct marketing account, with CHI & Partners running the ad business and Waste Creative on digital. Just to confuse the issue, it also uses SAS software for data analytics.
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