British Gas to convert call centre staff to joy of text
LONDON – British Gas, one of the UK's biggest businesses, is encouraging its call centre staff to use text message language to save thousands of pounds a year.
More than 10,000 employees in British Gas's nine call centres across the country are being taught to send internal memos and emails using the language of text messages instead of time–consuming longhand. The company has produced its own text message glossary to help staff learn text shorthand. It claims that the initiative will save its staff 8,333 minutes a day, which equates to 360,000 extra customer calls answered each year.
Alan McLaughlin, media relations manager at British Gas, told The Observer newspaper that the initiative has taken some employees, particularly older people, by surprise.
"For older people in the call centres using text language is a new phenomenon. But they realise it's a great way to link up with their kids. Over time this will save us thousands of pounds a day," he said.
Time-saving phrases include "CUB l8R" for "call you back later"; ":) BG Cuz" for "happy British Gas customer" and "Cuz F2T NOW" meaning "Customer free to talk now".
However, the Plain English Campaign has expressed concerns that this could lead to confused messages and cause a breakdown in communication. For instance "LOL" can stand for "lots of love" or "laughing out loud".
Last year The Accident Group also used text messages to staff to convey concisely that hundreds had been sacked. The texts were reported to have read: "Sorry folks im gutted 4 u good luck in ur future careers".
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