How The UK’s Train Operators Perform for Customer Service on Twitter

Aug 31, 2017

Most of the UK’s railway track is managed by Network Rail, which in 2016 had a network of 15,799 kilometres (9,817 mi) of railway line spanning across the UK.

In 2016, there were 1.718 billion journeys on the National Rail network* Unlike a number of other countries, rail travel in the United Kingdom has seen passenger numbers reach their highest ever level*. This growth is partly attributed to a shift away from private motoring due to growing road congestion and increasing petrol prices, but also to an overall increase in affluence.

The UK’s train operators come under constant scrutiny from the British public where overcrowding, fare increases, strike action, disputes, frequent delays and cancellations to services are all too common.

In the face of this disruption, commuters in the UK turn to social media and are no strangers to using Twitter to vent their frustrations towards train operators.

The August Bank Holiday is a time for getting out of the house and vacationing. Many people travel all over the UK, and to Europe, or beyond during this time. Many others vacation more locally, relying on public transport to head off to local parks, beaches, nature reserves, and attractions that usually are only visited by tourists.

It is a very busy period as far as traffic is concerned. So for our sixteenth edition of the HelpHandles Insight Series we decided to take a close look at how the Top 5 Train Operators on our UK Transport Index performed for customer service on Twitter over the busy August Bank holiday weekend from Friday 25th August to Bank Holiday Monday 28th August 2017.

UK Train Operators Social Customer Service Performance

Friday 25th August to Bank Holiday Monday 28th August 2017.

Best Overall Performers

GWRHelp (Great Western Rail) came out on top as the best overall train operator for customer service on Twitter over the August Bank Holiday weekend with the best aggregate score* across inbound volume, response rate, responses under 30 mins and sentiment amongst customers.

*Accounts are programmatically scored out of 100 on our performance index across 4 metrics. Inbound mention volumes (25%), Response Rate (25%), Responses under 30 mins (25%) and Sentiment (25%). All metrics are available and updated every hour on

1st: GWR Help (Great Western Rail)
2nd: East Midlands Trains
3rd: Virgin Trains
4th: Arriva Trains Wales
5th: Southeastern

Below is the break down on how each train operator performed for customer service on Twitter.

First Response Time

First responses from all 5 train operators were exceptional over the bank holiday weekend, with Arriva Trains Wales coming in with the fastest overall first response time of just 3mins and Southeastern coming last with a still admirable 18min first response on Twitter.

Arriva Trains Wales: 3min
Virgin Trains: 4mins
East Midlands Trains: 9mins
GWR Help: 11mins
Southeastern: 18mins

Average Response Time

Similarly all operators performed well on average Response with Arriva Trains Wales maintaining a fast 3 min average response, and Southeastern maintaining a 14 min average response time.

Arriva Trains Wales: 3min
Virgin Trains: 4mins
East Midlands Trains: 8mins
GWR Help: 10mins
Southeastern: 14mins

Inbound Volume

Virgin Trains received the most public mentions over the bank holiday period with 4,000 mentions in total to their help handle with both GWRHelp and Southeastern coming in 2nd both exceeding over 1,500+ mentions each….

Virgin Trains: 4,000 mentions
GWR Help: 1722 mentions
Southeastern: 1509 mentions
Arriva Trains Wales: 813 mentions
East Midlands Trains: 732 mentions

Response Rate

East Midlands Trains were the most responsive over the bank holiday responding to 63% of inbound mentions on Twitter, closley followed by GWR with 58% of mentions, Southeastern with 52% of mentions and Arriva with 50% of mentions. Virgin Trains were the least responsive with 33% of mentions responded to.

East Midlands Trains: 63%
GWR Help: 58%
Southeastern: 52%
Arriva Trains Wales: 50%
Virgin Trains: 33%

Responses under 30mins

All 5 train operators performed well for quick and timely responses to customers, all responding to customers within 30mins….

Arriva Trains Wales: 99%
GWR Help: 98%
Virgin Trains: 98%
East Midlands Trains: 97%
Southeastern: 97%


The bank holiday weekend is a testing and very busy time for both customers and those offering public transport services, despite this all train operators did well and maintained a positive sentiment score over the bank holiday period with East Midlands leading the way, followed by GWR and Virgin Trains.

East Midlands Trains: +8
GWR Help: +6
Virgin Trains: +6
Arriva Trains Wales: +4
Southeastern: +3


Train operators face many challenges with customer satisfaction and social media is proving to be an essential tool for operators to keep customers informed in real time on status updates, delays, and disruptions to journeys.

In addition we are now starting to see some operators improve in-carriage services with free movies, and entertainment, and some even going as far as offering passengers free bags of candy to sweeten the journey.

However, while many operators publish their own operational performance and customer satisfaction data, there is still more opportunity to be fully transparent with customers.

We regularly see innovation within the airline industry with security wait times being displayed on dashboards in airports, and some social media teams publishing response times on their own Twitter accounts.

As the general feeling towards rail operators in the UK continues to be challenging due to rising fares, overcrowding and disputes, now is the time for the rail operators to improve overall customer experience, invest in loyalty programmes and become more transparent through real time updates on journey times, delays and even social media responsiveness over channels like Twitter.

How Hertz Became the №1 Car Rental Brand for Customer Service on Twitter

Jun 27, 2017

Hertz is also the largest worldwide airport general use car rental company with more than 1,600 airport locations in the U.S. and more than 1,300 airport locations internationally.

Operating a 24/7 joint marketing and customer service Twitter handle, with over 50k followers, we take a close look at how @Hertz stack up against its competitors @EnterpriseCares and @Avis for customer service on Twitter.


With over 15,000 inbound mentions over a period of 12 weeks, Hertz ranks highest as the most engaged, responsive and fastest car rental brand to respond to customers on Twitter.

When you benchmark that level of performance against other leading U.S based car rental providers, you can see why its so impressive.

Social Customer Service Performance

Average Response Time

Hertz on average maintain a fast 16 min response time on Twitter. Given the volume of inbound mentions they receive around the clock this deservedly places them in the top 10% of brands on Twitter for response time.

First Response Time

The Hertz social team work tirelessly to support and be available for their customers in times of need. They lead the way as the fastest car rental brand on Twitter reaching out to customers with a first response time of 21 mins.

Inbound Mention Volume

Over a period of 12 weeks Hertz received a total of 15,131 public mentions to their handle on Twitter

Response Rate

…of which they responded publicly to 8,776 (58%) of mentions…

Response under 30 mins

…with 7,989 (90%) of those responses made quickly in under 30 mins.

Customer Support

Hertz customers love to use Twitter to vent their frustrations, get a direct response, and fast resolutions to problems they are experiencing on the ground at the many Hertz locations around the globe.

The Hertz team work hard to not only respond to customers quickly, but to ensure that customers are listened to and heard. The team offer a calming presence on Twitter, and are able to listen and read their customers more effectively, using empathy and attentiveness to respond to customers in difficult situations, and turn lonely negative experiences into more positive human interactions.

Hertz also receive high levels of advocacy on Twitter, with customers regularly checking in to tweet about the great service they receive on the ground from staff at Hertz locations around the globe.

Servicing such a demanding, high volume customer base over channels like Twitter is challenging, and the combination of supporting customer issues, and positive brand advocacy is reflected in Hertz’s overall sentiment score.


Arriving at a new destination, or unfamiliar location to pick up a vehicle can be logistically challenging and sometimes a lonely experience. By making themselves available in real-time on social channels like Twitter, Hertz are able to respond quickly and empathise with a vast, distributed customer base that is constantly on the move across many locations around the world.

For this, the Hertz social media team receive our utmost respect, and are deservedly ranked as the №1 car rental brand offering customer service on Twitter

How Ocado Delivers Online Grocery Customer Service on Twitter

May 31, 2017

Growth in traditional “big box” stores is static: all growth is in online, food discounters and convenience stores, with online having the biggest growth potential of all to disrupt the current retail marketplace.

Enter Ocado. The world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer with over 580,000 active customers placing online grocery orders for home delivery.

Established in the UK in 2000 in partnership with UK supermarket chain Waitrose, Ocado has gone on to grow significantly with a commercial delivery area of 10m households, delivering over 100,000 orders a week, a listing on the London Stock Exchange and a strategic commercial partnership with Morrisons.

Operating a truly online business model, Ocado has no chain of bricks and mortar stores and manages all deliveries from it’s state of the art fulfilment centres where AI, automation and robotics play a key operational role in delivering the best in customer experience, convenience, quality and price to customers.

Operating a joint marketing and customer service handle on Twitter and sitting firmly on-top of the HelpHandles Food Index, @Ocado consistently out perform their market competitors for customer service on Twitter. In this fourteenth edition of the HelpHandles Insight Series we take an in-depth look at @Ocado’s performance over the last 12 weeks from (13/02/2017–10/05/2017).

Productivity & Responsiveness

Unlock your free company profile on and start improving your performance with social customer service analytics and reviews for Twitter.

First Response & Average Response Time

@Ocado’s response to customers on Twitter is pretty impressive, the team have been averaging a consistent 17 min first response and average response time to all public mentions.

Ocado First Response Time (13/02/2017–10/05/2017)

Inbound Mention Volume

Customers love engaging with @Ocado on Twitter. Over the last 12-weeks, the @Ocado team received a total of 8,923 mentions to their handle. Placing them in the top 30% of handles providing support by volume on Twitter.

Response Rate

The @Ocado team responded to 64% of inbound mentions received to their Twitter handle, that’s 5,711 responses in total…

Responses under 30 mins

….of which 4,969 (87%) responses were made quickly in under 30 mins.

Customer Happiness

We found that Ocado customers are highly engaged over Twitter, using the tool to ask direct questions and provide feedback to the team in a polite and efficient manner. With such high-standard of conversational transactions, Ocado are building an active community of loyal, trusted and engaged customers who obviously enjoy the convenience of shopping with Ocado and interacting with them over Twitter.

This highly personal, genuine, conversational approach has resulted in a high overall positive sentiment score for the @Ocado team, and is testament to the great work being done to ensure customers remain satisfied and engaged with the company over social channels like Twitter.

Ocado Smart Platform

The Ocado Smart Platform, is a managed service offering of proprietary software and equipment solutions that offers retail partners a faster, flexible and more cost efficient way of operating online. By offering the only fully integrated end-to-end platform available in the market, Ocado are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growing global trend of online food shopping, putting efficiency and convenience at the heart of the customer experience.


Built on a foundation of convenience, innovation, growth and efficiency, Ocado are well positioned to support the changing shift in consumer behaviour.

What makes Ocado an interesting proposition is their commitment to innovation. With a dedicated Technology business and investment in research and development utilising cloud technology, machine learning, robotics and automation, it will be interesting to see how Ocado maximise new opportunities to disrupt and develop improved customer experiences across online channels in the not too distant future.