British Gas: Smart homes, dumb websites

It’s been a while since I updated this blog.

Starting a new job, moving home: life takes precedence! But I’m back, and it’s back and I’m going to try and update it every other week… watch this space.

So to business, and specifically British Gas. The company used one of Metro’s special cover features to advertise its new smart meter product.

Sticking with its theme of cartoony, almost Tim Burton-esque artwork, the ad shows the smart meter bathed in heavenly light.
British Gas smart meter Metro wrap cover 22 August 2012
Now, this is enough of a sales pitch for me – anything with a screen and a USB port is immediately on my wish list. Even more so, this little gizmo will (apparently) help me reduce my energy consumption and save me money. What’s not to like?

There’s a simple drive-to-web call to action – visit a specific URL to find out more. But vesting the company’s website is a little disappointing. First up, is a plain page, inviting me to begin. Well I’d done that by typing in the URL. The second page has a movie extolling the benefits of the smart meter. Yeah, yeah, yeah, how do I get one? Oh and I’m at work, so just some simple text instructions will be fine. But nothing. No more info, no further links. Nada.

After a bit of a hunt, I found some FAQs, suggesting that all British Gas customers will be receive one of these meters, and I can register my interest. So why not state this up front? No doubt someone will be counting the hits to the website and views of the videos – but if these are unsatisfactory to the customer – the stats are no indicator of success.

The customer journey is disappointing and frustrating. Some considerable resource must have gone into this campaign, but to me, it feels like a missed opportunity.


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