How South Staffs Water Handle Social Media Customer Care At Scale

South Staffs Water supplies high quality drinking water to approximately 1.3m people and approximately 35,000 commercial customers in the West Midlands, South Staffordshire, South Derbyshire, North Warwickshire and North Worcestershire.

minutes average response time during incidents

over 500 inbound messages handled in just 12 hours

enquiries in an average month

over 1M people supplied with high quality water

The Background

The water industry is quite unique with heavy regulation from the industry body Ofwat. When it comes to customer service, water companies are gearing up to record and report on the number of complaints received via all communications channels including social media.

“As the Service Delivery Coordinator for South Staffs Water and Cambridge Water, my focus is on delivering excellent customer service. By mapping our customer journey, we’ve highlighted trigger points where we typically receive complaints, and then introduced innovative digital technologies to make it as easy as possible for our customers to get in touch.”

A complaint is defined as any interaction which does not end with a positive sentiment, and any inbound message that is not responded to within 24 hours.

The Challenges

  • Ensure customers receive the highest levels of customer service, as measured by the industry regulator Ofwat.
  • Improve customer service response times and response quality on social media.
  • Establish a single view of all social media activity spanning both the Customer Service team and the Marketing Communications team.
  • Monitor the sentiment of customer engagements and record an audit trail of all social media activity.

 In a nutshell

As part of a wider digital transformation initiative, the team were seeking a new solution that would allow the organisation to deliver a better, faster customer experience on social media.

“We set up a social service channel and therefore had a need to choose a system that offered the best level of monitoring and reporting yet was simple for our agents to use.”

Today with SoCrowd, the Service Delivery team can monitor and respond quickly to incoming customer enquiries in a controlled way, and the Communications team have a single dashboard to schedule outbound messages and campaigns.

“Our biggest success in social media customer service since using SoCrowd was a recent burst water pipe incident which resulted in more than 500 social media enquiries in just 12 hours. Using SoCrowd we were able to monitor all these incoming messages and provide relevant and meaningful responses, with an average response time of just 2 minutes.”

“It’s all about the level of service. We’re focussed on our speed of service, and quality, and improving upon that. It also enables all outbound messages and PR activity to sit with the Communications team. We’re able to work together very closely to react to common trends and plan ahead for upcoming themes in a closed loop process.”

 How we got here

Because of the strict regulations on complaints, it is vital that South Staffs Water and Cambridge Water can monitor and respond quickly to new enquiries on social media, making it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch.

When it comes to recording the sentiment of social media interactions, the software provides both a day-by-day snapshot and high-level overview for all connected accounts and users.

“The content Validation feature and audit trail are key for us, along with the ability to use Canned Responses that can be edited before being posted. We are able to edit the tone-of-voice of replies if required before they go out to ensure we provide a consistent customer experience.”

What they say

Aiden Bowden
Service Delivery Coordinator, South Staffs Water & Cambridge Water

“In a crisis or incident, the Conversations view gives you everything all in one place. If I close a conversation it will get re-opened automatically when required. SoCrowd gives us access to all incoming interactions all in one place.”


With SoCrowd, South Staffs Water and Cambridge Water have improved their social media customer service capabilities resulting in a better customer experience.

Additionally, the Communications team now have a single dashboard to collaboratively plan and schedule content, and drive greater engagement with customers and local communities on social.

  • Ability to manage social media customer care enquiries at scale in times of crisis or incident, with an average response time of just 2 minutes.
  • Can safely manage hundreds of social media interactions with a complete audit trail of all activity and sentiment.
  • Established a reliable and repeatable process to record complaints on social media which can be reported to senior management and the industry body Ofwat.
  • A shared dashboard for all social media engagements across the Customer Service and Communications teams, allowing close collaboration and resulting in a better overall customer experience.
  • Ability to plan and schedule social media content in advance, and easily report on the performance with detailed campaign and post analytics.

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