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Using social media to communicate with customers

Posted on 17 June 2014 02:34 PM by Parsl2M

Go to Twitter, key in @ukpowernetworks and if you find a tweet with Mel at the end, that's me.

I'm part of a 14-strong social media and messaging team. We use social media to help customers and answer their questions. It provides an easy way for customers to get in touch for anything from power cuts to roadworks.

We're based in Ipswich and work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on an eight-hour shift pattern. Today I started at 6am and finished at 2pm, but sometimes it's nights, sometimes it's afternoons and evenings.

On a busy shift we can send upto 300 tweets, but if it's quiet that can drop to 10.

We've been using social media since 2011, and I’m really proud to have been a part of it. We operate 24 hours a day so customers can send us a tweet or Facebook us day and night and we’ll respond right back. Customers like it, as it’s quite open and public and everyone can see what’s happening and going on.

It can be like Oxford Circus on sales day..
It can be pretty hectic at times, especially when there's been a storm, a few local power cuts or a larger power cut somewhere. That can be like Oxford Circus on sales day.

Busy, yes, but I love it, and it's much better than when I tweet or use Facebook out of work. I know I am helping to solve a problem and make someone's life a bit better, which is more rewarding rather than just telling someone what I ate for lunch or posting another holiday photo!

We've had lots of lovely comments from customers saying how useful they’ve found it which does make it worthwhile

Award winning
Last week we received a Utility Star award for team of the year and the customer service award. It’s nice to be recognised for our efforts.

Twitter, Facebook, and texting are just part of the job, of course, I have other things to focus on too. I’m part of the team that make sure the automated messages that customers hear when they call in are up-to-date with correct infomation. I also send out text messages to customers to keep them updated during a power cut.

Ensuring these messages are consistent is a vital part of the job – it's no good tweeting one thing while a voice message says something different.

Say it as it is
Our text messaging service is really popular. Customers can register for texts if they have a power cut and we’ll send them texts until their power's back on. We've been doing it since 2010, which is when I joined the company.

We try to keep jargon to an absolute minimum – so instead of saying that there's 'a restoration of service' we'll just say 'the power's back on'. Much easier and everyone knows what you're talking about.

When I'm done after a long day tweeting I like to keep fit and de-stress by taking the dogs for a walk, cycling or running.

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