Social media for utility companies is becoming indispensable, according to a piece from an American industry publication.
Last week, in an article published on BreakingEnergy.com, a number of leading commentators offered their opinions on the need for gas, electric and water firms, in both America and the UK, to offer social media customer service. Matt Rudling, Director of Customer Services for UK Power Networks, was one such voice:
“Customers and other organisations’ customers talk about you on social media; at your peril if you allow it to go on without responding,” he commented. “If lots of people were online, tweeting ‘why is the power off tonight, it’s dreadful, where are you UKPN?’ then leaving that unanswered can make the situation go viral very quickly.
“The important thing is to not let customer views and inputs just sit there and fester,” he adds.
The piece raises some interesting questions for utility brands using social media, discussing issues like transparency, price hikes and customer loyalty. The article also calls for power and water firms to link their social media activity with an existing CRM system.
The US firm, Public Service Electric & Gas Co is used as an example of how to combine these two channels to offer an effective customer experience. To wit, the Manager of Customer Technology at the business, Tracy Kirk, said:
“We established information flows, our online tone and personality, and developed the close working relationships that allow us to be nimble,” she says. “Social media is an increasing part of day-to-day operations and customer interactions…understand that customers often take to social media when traditional channels haven’t solved their problem.”