How the Electricity Distribution Networks Perform for Customer Service on Twitter

Feb 6, 2018

There are 14 licensed distribution network operators (DNOs) and each is responsible for a regional distribution services area. The 14 DNOs are owned by six different businesses made up of Western Power Distribution, UK Power Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Electricity Northwest, SP Energy Networks and Northern Powergrid, all of which provide real-time support to customers on social media.

During the cold British winter many people can experience unplanned and unexpected loss of power to their properties and businesses. Without properly planning or knowledge of what to do in the event of a power cut, people can be left feeling helpless and inconvenienced. While traditional forms of offline channels are available to the public to report a power cut, this can be often inaccessible, and time consuming to use whilst also costly to provide.

Now, with the increasing popularity in smartphone usage and availability of more convenient access to direct social messaging channels, more and more people are using the power of real time social messaging channels like Twitter to contact their electricity provider, report and receive updates on the status of power cuts in their area.

The Electricity Distribution Networks provide a very high standard of emergency response, customer service and community engagement across social media, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In an effort to raise the profile of the great work these teams provide to their customers around the clock, we decided to take a closer look into how the electricity distribution networks provide advice and support to customers over Twitter.

Electricity Distribution Networks Customer Service Performance on Twitter

Best Overall Performers

Western Power Distribution (WPDUK) came out on top as the best overall providers of customer service on Twitter 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 four 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 HelpHandles.com

1st: Western Power Distribution
2nd: UK Powernetworks
3rd: Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
4th: ElectricityNorthWest
5th: Northern Powergrid
6th: SP Energy Networks

Michael Clarke, Corporate Communications Officer from Western Power Distribution

Michael Clarke, Corporate Communications Officer, Western Power Distribution

Western Power Distribution prides itself on treating customers the way we would like to be treated, and our Twitter account @wpduk is a reliable source of information that provides this same world class customer service ethos. We decided quite early into our Twitter operation to provide a 24/7 service so that customers can contact us any time and know they will get a quick response to their enquiry.

We proactively deliver up-to-date power cut information and advice with updates on power cuts affecting over 500 properties, and we monitor mentions of power cuts in our area so that we can identify and respond to tweets quickly — helping customers who may not have contacted us directly. We also continue to develop our service by offering customers more ways to contact us with initiatives like a web chat facility, two-way texting and our Power Cut Reporter app.

The dedicated team of staff based at our Cardiff Contact Centre do a tremendous job responding to all initial social media customer contacts, and we’re pleased that this report recognises their hard work and reinforces the positive feedback that we receive from customers about our service.

Below is the break down on how each network provider performed for customer service on Twitter.

Response Times (First & Average Response)

Overall, the majority of the distribution networks all achieved sub 30 min response times, with Western Power Distribution the fastest to respond to customers with an 8 min first response and 6 min response on average, with only SP Energy Networks exceeding the 30 min benchmark with a 48min average response time over the month of January 2018.

1 Western Power Distribution (First & Avg Response 8min/6min)
2 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (First & Avg Response 14min/14min)
3 UK Power Networks (First & Avg Response 15min/29min)
4 Northern Power Grid (First & Avg Response 20min/28min)
5 Electricity North West (First & Avg Response 31min/28min)
6 SP Energy Networks (First & Avg Response 48min/52min)

Inbound Mention Volumes

UK Power Networks were the busiest for customer service on Twitter receiving the largest share of mentions with a total of 2,112 mentions over the last 4 weeks, with SP Energy Networks receiving the lowest amount of mentions with 331 mentions.

1 UK Power Networks (2,112)
2 Western Power Distribution (1,751)
3 Electricity North West (633)
4 Northern Power Grid (599)
5 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (594)
6 SP Energy Networks (331)

Response Rate

UK Power Networks, were most responsive responding to (68%) share of mentions to their handle on Twitter, followed by SSEN Community and Electricity NorthWest both with (66%), followed by Western Power Distribution (64%), Northern Power Grid (55% )and SP Energy Networks (48%)…

1 UK Power Networks (68%)
2 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (66%)
3 Electricity North West (66%)
4 Western Power Distribution (64%)
5 Northern Power Grid (55%)
6 SP Energy Networks (48%)

Responses under 30mins

Western Power Distribution had the highest percentage of responses under 30 mins, followed by SSEN Community, Electricity North West, UK Power Networks, Northern Power Grid, SP Energy Networks.

1 Western Power Distribution (98%)
2 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (95%)
3 Electricity North West (86%)
4 UK Power Networks (85%)
5 Northern Power Grid (84%)
6 SP Energy Networks (76%)

Sentiment

All companies performed well for sentiment over a busy 4 week period, with Western Power Distribution receiving the highest score for positive sentiment among customers followed by SSEN Community, UK Power Networks, SP Energy Networks, Electricity North West and Northern Power Grid.

1 Western Power Distribution (+17)
2 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (+15)
3 UK Power Networks (+11)
4 SP Energy Networks (+9)
5 Electricity North West (+7)
6 Northern Power Grid (+7)

Conclusion

Experiencing an unexpected loss of power can be a stressful experience, leaving many people feeling unprepared and helpless. By making themselves available on real-time social media channels like Twitter, the Electricity Distribution Networks are able to provide customers a rapid response, at a lower cost than more traditional service channels.

The Electricity Distribution Networks offer a world class digital social customer service to customers over Twitter and for this they rank highly on the HelpHandles™ performance index.

However, given the significant investment and efforts in digital social customer service there is still a lack of information on the availability and quality of service via social media and the service levels customers can expect from the Electricity Distribution Networks.

In light of this, there is massive opportunity for the Electricity Distribution Networks to maximise their investment in customer service over Twitter. By using HelpHandles™ public profiles and performance dashboards the Electricity Distribution Networks can effectively monitor and benchmark their performance against industry standards and best-in-class companies while also providing their customers with a real-time customer service health status via their own dedicated HelpHandles™ public profiles and additional website integrations to help manage customer expectation, increase customer satisfaction and build better reputation for customer service on Twitter.