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

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%)


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)


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.

How HMRC Customer Support Delivers Self-Assessment Tax Advice on Twitter

Feb 1, 2018

Every year millions of people across the U.K with businesses and other income face a last minute rush to complete and pay their self-assessment tax before the online filing deadline (midnight on 31st January) or otherwise face penalties of £100 for late filing during the first three months after the deadline.

For those attempting to file a tax return themselves online, without the help of an accountant, the process is not always straight forward. Filing a self-assessment online requires pre-registration and a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) which can take up to 10 working days to be confirmed by post. There are also other options to consider for individuals with unique circumstances, those living abroad for example are required to fill in special forms, together with a detailed understanding of the online form process creates a huge demand from the British public for fast and efficient access to customer support and information, which historically has been difficult and costly to service at scale via more traditional offline contact channels.

Enter Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Customer Support team, providing help with general queries to their 22.4k followers on Twitter, Monday to Friday 8am — 10pm, Saturday 8am — 10pm and Sunday 9am — 10pm.

Now the self assessment deadline has passed, and the HMRC Customer Support Team have had a well deserved rest, we thought we would take a timely look into how the HMRC Customer Support team performed leading up to and on the 31st January online filing deadline. (27th Jan to 31st Jan 2018)

Inbound Mention Volume

The HMRC Customer Support team were certainly busy over the last week, receiving over 6,000 mentions to their help handle, placing them in the Top 10% of help handles by volume on the HelpHandles™ performance index.

Response Rate

The team were working hard over this busy time ensuring that customers received responses to their tax queries. Over the last 7 days HMRC Customer Support responded to over 4,000 mentions a 65% response rate, placing them in the Top 30% best performing teams for responsiveness on HelpHandles™

Responses under 30mins

They were not only just responsive to customers, they were lightening fast too. The HMRC Customer Support Team responded to (3,618) 90% of those mentions inside 30 mins. Again performing well above the average for the Government category and placing them in the Top 30% of companies providing support on HelpHandles™…

Twitter Support Coverage

The HMRC Customer Support team were consistently busy over their serviceable hours averaging between 200-300 replies per hour throughout the week from 8am GMT and even replying out of hours to ensure people got the help they needed after 10pm GMT time right up until the 31 January deadline.

A solid performance from the team…

Popular Hashtags

The most popular hashtags over the week leading up to the online filing deadline were #selfassessment, #hmrc #tax customers went to great lengths to show their appreciation for the teams assistance even including the #helpful hashtag in their correspondence…


This was also confirmed with an overall positive sentiment score for the HMRC Customer Support team…proving that their hard work helping customers was not an effort wasted…


In today’s increasingly demanding and fast-paced world, individuals and families are constantly having to balance multiple conflicting priorities, and pressures. By making themselves available in real time on channels like Twitter, the HMRC team of experts are able to provide fast, extremely detailed, and personalised advice and support to those who need it, helping people navigate the wealth of information required to submit an online tax return on time, avoiding additional stress and financial penalties.

For this, the HMRC Customer Support team receive our respect and applause and are deservedly ranked in our top 10% of help handles on Twitter over the week leading up to and on self-assessment tax filing day.