The ‘Big Four Banks’ is a term used to describe the largest banking groups in the UK, made up of (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyd’s Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland Group) they manage approx 75% of all current accounts and 85% of business accounts in the UK.

Since the global financial crisis 10 years ago, the UK’s big four banks have been under increasing pressure from the Government to reform and diversify. With cash and cheque transactions diminishing in favour of more convenient electronic payment, online and mobile app usage by millions of customers, many of the UK’s major banks have been left to evaluate the viability of their traditional bricks and mortar branch networks.

According to Which? part of the independent consumer association, more than 482 branches belonging to the major high street banks were axed for good in 2017, sending the number of branch closures soaring to more than 1,500 over just three years, since 2015.

For this edition on the UK Banking sector we take a close look at how the UK’s ‘Big Four Banks’, Barclays UK Help, HSBC UK, RBS Group* (incl RBS Help, NatWest Help and Ulster Bank Help), and Lloyd’s Bank Group* (incl Ask Lloyds Bank, Ask Halifax Bank and Ask Bank of Scot) performed for customer service on Twitter.

UK’s ‘Big Four Banks’ Social Customer Service Benchmark

Over a period of 8 weeks, the UK’s big four banks received 64,823 mentions to their help handles on Twitter.

Source: 01/11/2017–31/12/2017

Best Overall Performers

RBS Group* and Barclays UK Help 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: RBS Group* (RBS Help, NatWest Help, Ulster Bank Help)
2nd: Barclays UK Help
3rd: HSBC UK
4th: Lloyd’s Bank Group* (Ask Lloyds Bank, Ask Halifax Bank, Ask Bank of Scotland)

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

First Response Time

RBS Group had the fastest response times among the big four banks, with a first response of 11 mins across the groups help handles, followed by Barclays UK Help, 20 mins. Lloyd’s Bank Group and HSBC UK had the slowest first response times of just under an hour with 55 mins and 59 mins respectively.

  1. RBS Group* (11 mins)
  2. Barclays UK Help (20 mins)
  3. HSBC UK (55 mins)
  4. Lloyd’s Bank Group*(59 mins)

Average Response

Similarly, RBS Group* maintained the fastest response time out of the big four banks with a 12 min average response time, with HSBC UK and Lloyd’s Bank Group* the slowest coming in just under one hour.

  1. RBS Group* (11 mins)
  2. Barclays UK Help (20 mins)
  3. HSBC UK (50 mins)
  4. Lloyd’s Bank Group*(56 mins)

Inbound Volume

Lloyds Bank Group* were the busiest for customer service on Twitter receiving the largest share of mentions with a whopping total of 26,278 mentions over the last 8 weeks, with HSBC UK receiving the lowest amount of mentions with 10,212 mentions.

  1. Lloyd’s Bank Group* (26,278)
  2. RBS Group* (15,118)
  3. Barclays UK Help (13, 215)
  4. HSBC UK (10,212)

Response Rate

Barclays UK Help, were most responsive responding to (79%) share of mentions to their help handle on Twitter, followed by RBS Group (77%), Lloyds Bank Group (68%) and HSBC (58%)…

  1. Barclays UK Help (79%)
  2. RBS Group* (77%)
  3. Lloyd s Bank Group* (68%)
  4. HSBC UK (58%)

Responses under 30 mins

RBS Group* had the highest percentage of responses under 30 mins, followed by Barclays UK Help, HSBC UK and Lloyd’s Bank Group*…

  1. RBS Group* (95%)
  2. Barclays UK Help (84%)
  3. HSBC UK (84%)
  4. Lloyd’s Bank Group (55%)


All companies performed well for sentiment over a busy 8 week period, with HSBC UK, and Barclays UK Help coming out top with the highest sentiment score, followed by RBS Group*, and Lloyd’s Bank Group*.

  1. HSBC UK (+9)
  2. Barclays UK Help (+8)
  3. RBS Group* (+7)
  4. Lloyd s Bank Group* (+6)

In the below thread, Corrina @Barclays UK Help exemplifies everything that’s great about delivering fast, responsive, personal service on Twitter. Corrina, proactively engages with a customer, helping them to resolve a problem with their mobile banking app. This results in the real-time transformation of a disgruntled detractor into a satisfied promoter.

Nice work Corrina!


For decades, British banks have held a tight grasp on their customer relationships, maintaining the majority share of current and business accounts leaving very little room for movement, but now, gradually, a brave new world is emerging.

With the development of; Open Banking, regulation around payment services, fintech innovation and crypto-currencies; trust, transparency and competition will be placed at the very heart of the UK banking sector.

The journey will be far from linear, but in this new world customers will be offered more choice and will be empowered to take more control of their data and finances, leaving banks to adopt an entirely different role in people’s lives. A role that will be focused on transparency and building trust with consumers, this in-turn will create new opportunities for banks to compete and deliver on customer experience at scale for the benefit of everyone.