British Gas is launching a pilot scheme that will allow customers to speak to customer service advisors via online video technology.

The energy provider will be trialling Cisco WebEx Support Centre in its Leeds call centre, and it is working with video chat systems supplier Vee24 in its Southampton call centre, to provide the service.

It has introduced the three-month pilot following independent research which found that 66 percent of its customers believed that their queries would be resolved quicker if they could see the customer service advisor.

Ian Peters, managing director of British Gas Energy, said: "We hope that our online face-to-face pilot will not only make our support and advice as transparent as possible, but will also allow us to add an even more personal touch to the service we offer our customers."

The video chat service will be offered to some customers visiting the British Gas website with questions about their bill, tariff information or complaint issues.

Users will be sent an email with a link to click on to open a video chat screen, and like with online video chat services such as Skype, they can choose whether or not they can be seen by the customer service advisor.

An initial 20 customer service advisors, based at the company's Leeds and Southampton contact centres, have volunteered for specialist training to take part in the trial.