How @ComEd used @Twitter for Customer Service to Restore Power

[tweetmeme source=”socialchadder”]It’s been 4 days now that we’ve been without Power in our home since a terrible storm came through the Northern Suburbs of Chicago and knocked out Power for some 850,000 people. Tonight at 8:03pm, Power was finally restored to our home by our Energy Provider, @ComEd. It was not easy by any means being without power for 4 days. With no television to watch, no computer to connect, the only device that I had to check for updates and stay in the know about the situation was my smartphone. I called the ComEd “800” number to report my outage, but could not reach a live person. I checked for updates on their website, but could never get an accurate Estimated Restoration Time. The only way in which I was able to receive accurate and up to date information as well as speak with a LIVE person was on Twitter. Here are 5 examples that I found from @ComEd on How they used @Twitter for Customer Service to get #ComEdRestored Power for their Customers.

Be Informative: When using Twitter for Customer Service it’s very important to provide as much information as possible to your customers. Checking the ComEd Twitter feed was the main way in I was able to stay up to date on the status of the Outage. They would frequently post updates regarding the number of homes restored, the number of crews on the job, and the overall progress of the restoration. Being Informative is a great way to keep your Customers in the loop with the latest happenings and updates. Here’s a tweeted status update that ComEd sent out detailing the overall restoration status for existing customers without power:

ComEd has successfully restored power to approximately 787,000 of the 850K w/o power b/c of the storm. Approx. 63,000 custs remain w/0 powerFri Jul 15 00:30:05 via web

Be Responsive: In a such an intense situation as with this recent Power Outage people were firing off several thousand tweets an hour to @ComEd. ComEd may not have had all of the answers of Expected Restoration Times or have been able to restore people’s power right then and there through their Twitter feed, but they did respond quickly to people’s posts. This is a very important part of when using Twitter for Customer Service in order to protect your brand, control the situation, and let your Customers know that you are aware of their needs and the situation. Do your best to respond quickly and accordingly to any and all Tweets directed at or mentioned about your brand in good times and bad. Here’s an example of one of ComEd’s responsive Tweets:

@panicM00N Does your surrounding neighborhood have pwr? If so, it may be a different issue. Did you try resetting your circuit breaker?Fri Jul 15 00:58:49 via web


Show Compassion: Not everyone is going to be happy with your brand when a bad situation arises. People will head to Social Networks first, like Twitter, to voice their opinions and share their feelings. ComEd received alot of negative tweets and posts from un-happy Customers that were displeased and dissatisfied with the progress of the restoration process. However, ComEd did a good job of replying to the Customers tweets showing an understanding of their situation and a compassion for their well-being. It’s very important for your brand to empathetic to you’re paying Customers especially in a time of crisis or distress. Be sure to make your Customers feel the love letting them know that you care as represented in this Tweet:

@CareS926 I’m so sorry to hear that you and your family are still w/o power. We hope to have 99% of customers restored by tomorrow night.Fri Jul 15 00:56:06 via web

Make Recommendation: It’s never easy to predict what people will tweet to your brand. Be prepared early and often with answers to make recommendations to your Customers. By making a recommendation you are helping that Customer solve their problem or issue as well as show concern for their situation. Always have Tips Sheets or Recommended links handy and available for you to share with your Customers. Here’s an example of a FAQ sheet that ComEd tweeted out which contained helpful information about the restoration process as well as tips on how to protect food and meds during an outage:

Many have had questions about buried power lines/restoration process/food & med protection etc. FAQ sheet here http://t.co/WXlU2QeThu Jul 14 16:05:41 via web

Be Advisory: Lastly but not least important by any means, be advisory to your Customers through Social Customer Service. Customers have questions and they want answers. You may not have the exact answer that they are looking for, but you can certainly provide them with a helpful suggestion or advice. During the first few days of the Power Outage, temperatures hit record highs leaving many Customers at risk for heat related health issues. ComEd became an adviser to their Customers by providing helpful resources and information. See how they advised this Customer to attend a nearby Cooling Station:

@catswig Waiting is never easy. If you need to visit a cooling center, we have a list on our website here: bit.ly/pHBBssThu Jul 14 16:27:33 via web

Customer Service has its place in Twitter. It surely can be a tool to leverage to connect, inform, and engage with Customers. In the case of this ComEd Power Outage, I’d say that their #SocialMedia Team handled their Twitter feed well. They provided updated info on point, they were responsive rather quickly, and they did a good job understanding and relating to their Customers. Not to mention in the midst of all that, they were able to provide relevant recommendations and helpful advice to their Customers.

Does your Business use Twitter for Customer Service? If so, do you have other techniques or tips that you use to provide Customer Service on Twitter? Share them here.

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