Ngnr pl& 4 2day: how British Gas is saving time

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The Independent Online

"Communic8 by txt msj so more ppl can fone us," British Gas has told its staff. To be precise, the 10,000 call centre staff and engineers have been instructed to use truncated "text-speak" in e-mails and texts to each other to save time on the phone.

"Communic8 by txt msj so more ppl can fone us," British Gas has told its staff. To be precise, the 10,000 call centre staff and engineers have been instructed to use truncated "text-speak" in e-mails and texts to each other to save time on the phone.

New phrases being introduced include "cuz" (for customer, rather than cousin) and "ngnr" for engineer. Thus to tell someone that a customer is waiting for a visit, the proper message would now be "Ngnr pl& 4 2day" - Engineer planned for today.

Managers have calculated that this will let an extra 360,000 customers get through on the phones annually, by shaving 50 seconds from every conversation and message, which currently lasts an average of six minutes.

To help the older staff get used to the jargon, the company has asked its younger employees to draw up a glossary of text terms.

Alan McLaughlin, a spokesman for British Gas, said the scheme had been "a great success" so far . He said: "When a customer calls it takes time for our call centre staff to log the call, order an engineer and take other details. Anything that can be done to save vital minutes on this system is a good thing."

Mr McLaughlin added: "All this is doing is harnessing in business what people are already doing socially."

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