Amplifying customer care and communications using social media

By Rachael Harper, Research Manager –

In an increasingly digital world, utilities have seen social media channels change, grow and decline (R.I.P. Snapchat).

While it can be difficult to create engaging content and manage customer care interactions for each of these channels, it’s not difficult to understand why social media channels are an essential tool for communicating with customers. Customers don’t routinely visit their utility’s website for information, but they do check their social media accounts, and they check them often. By allowing the news to come to them, customers give their utility a chance to be front-and-center, but will utilities shine when it’s their time?

At the 2019 Social Media for Utilities Conference, held earlier this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Sidney Alvarez and Philip O’Brien from Con Edison demonstrated how to create engaging content that tells a story. Alvarez found inspiration during a call with an elderly woman complaining she had not received her rebate and threatening to go to the media. Alvarez assured her he would take care of her issue and asked if she would be willing to be interviewed; she agreed as long as her issue was resolved. Alvarez was able to turn a disgruntled customer experience into a heartwarming video about replacing fluorescent lights with energy-efficient LEDs while showcasing the positive impact the change had prompted at her assisted-living facility.

Sabrina Potirala from ComEd said customers enjoy content that makes them laugh or gives them an inside look at the lives of those who work tirelessly to make sure the lights stay on. She also discussed strategies for utilizing influencers to enhance the reach of content, emphasizing that customers trust advice and recommendations from individuals, as many feel that a person is more authentic than a brand. These efforts have proven successful for ComEd, whose customers have become more aware of the utility’s services, programs and events.

Utilities recognize that managing these channels can be cumbersome, and according to Chartwell’s 2017 Social Customer Care Survey, 82% use a platform to manage their social media activities.

Utilities are recognizing that these channels are an asset when they need to reach customers where they are: social media. A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to creating content that is engaging. Whether you are big or small, at the beginning of your social media journey or leading the way, taking the opportunity to engage your customers on social media is essential to offering a positive customer experience.

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