By Daniel Hunter

British Gas has announced plans to invest £50 million in its customer service in an attempt to stop the flow of customers defecting to other energy suppliers.

The energy giant will hire 350 customer service staff as part of the plans to 'make life easier' for customers.

It comes as figures show that nearly 400,000 customers left British Gas in 2014.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, said the investment was evidence of new chief executive Iain Conn's commitment to improving its service.

Figures also suggest that customers stopped leaving British Gas when it announced a price reduction at the start of 2015. But it stressed that it still needs to reduce waiting times on phone lines, provide better information and make its website easier to use, if it wants to keep hold of customers.

Mr Conn, who took over in January, said: “Customers tell us they want excellent service when they deal with their energy supplier. We’re making a substantial and long-term commitment today, which will help us achieve that goal. In addition to new jobs, the £50m will fund significant investment in training and new systems to improve customer service.”