These items are things like take away coffee cups, plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda, water bottles and most food packaging.

Last year, in the final episode of Blue Planet 2, David Attenborough, called on the public to help reduce plastic waste in a rallying cry to raise awareness of the damage single use plastic is causing to the environment and our oceans.

Together with Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign #passonplastic shining a spotlight on the issues affecting ocean health, and Prime Minister Theresa May pledging to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042, there has been growing support from the public, and a wave of companies starting to implement change and adopt single use plastic bans across the U.K.

One of the biggest problem areas for single-use plastics is the UK’s coffee cup consumption, as highlighted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in the BBC’s War on Waste Series.

With consumers throwing away more than seven million coffee cups a day, totalling a staggering 2.5 billion cups a year, which are not recyclable, the BBC’s War on Waste, called out the coffee retailers, challenging them to implement change.

Late last year, we started to see a number of coffee retailers wake up to the realisation of the coffee cup crisis. Most notably, Clive Schlee, Pret-A-Manger’s CEO, used his personal Twitter account to get feedback from customers and the public, and together with his team implemented rapid change across the business.

Together with Pret, a number of leading coffee retailers have started to also offer reusable cup discounts in this vibrant and competitive sector.

In light of this, we thought we would take a closer look at how the UK’s reusable coffee cup discounters perform for customer service on Twitter.

Customer Service Performance of the UK’s Coffee Cup Discounters

Best Overall Performers

Pret 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.

  • 1st Pret
  • 2nd Greggs
  • 3rd Costa Coffee
  • 4th PAUL UK
  • 5th Starbucks UK

*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

Inbound Mentions

Costa Coffee received the largest share of mentions with a total of 17,862 mentions over the 8 week period from Feb-Mar 18, followed by Greggs, Pret, Starbucks UK and PAUL UK.

  1. Costa Coffee (17,862)
  2. Greggs (11,947)
  3. Pret (9,766)
  4. Starbucks UK (8,376)
  5. PAUL UK (82)

Response Rate

Pret were the most responsive to customers, responding to 45% of mentions received, followed by Costa, Greggs and Paul, with Starbucks UK the least responsive among the Coffee Cup Discounters.

  1. Pret (45%)
  2. Costa (26%)
  3. Greggs (24%)
  4. PAUL UK(20%)
  5. Starbucks UK (15%)

Responses under 30 mins

Greggs were the fastest to respond to customers on Twitter, achieving 38% share of responses under 30 mins, with Pret coming in a close 2nd place with 28% of responses under the 30 min mark. Costa, Starbucks and PAUL all were slowest to respond with less than 10% of responses made from their Twitter accounts in under 30 mins.

  1. Greggs (38%)
  2. Pret (28%)
  3. Costa (7%)
  4. Starbucks UK (6%)
  5. PAUL UK (-)


Pret scored highest for customer sentiment out of the coffee cup discounters, followed by PAUL UK, Greggs, Costa and finally Starbucks UK.

  1. Pret (+24pts)
  2. PAUL (+21pts)
  3. Greggs (+15pts)
  4. Costa Coffee (+14pts)
  5. Starbucks UK (+12pts)


Pret CEO, Clive Schlee’s winning combination of authentic leadership, and teamwork on Twitter to get closer to customers has proven to be effective not only in gaining actionable feedback and implementing change but also in gaining competitive advantage in this vibrant, and fiercely competitive sector.

CEO + Social Media Operations = Customer Success

Our analysis of the U.K’s coffee cup discounters has seen a lower overall representation in customer service engagement, than other sectors with the coffee retailers clearly opting for a joint marketing and customer service focused strategy on social media.

However, by adopting a combination of authentic leadership on social media to get closer to customers, and working together as a team, the results are conclusive. We can see there is a clear opportunity for higher engagement and customer satisfaction when senior leaders work together with operations to adopt an authentic customer first approach on social media.

Add to that the powerful combination of HelpHandles Customer Service Health Profiles, and the coffee cup discounters can maximise their investment in customer first operations on social media by better connecting customers to their customer first channels on social media. Using HelpHandles, the coffee cup discounters can effectively manage customer expectations, and promote performance with customers, increasing outcomes with customers and overall satisfaction.