Twitter: Hey Dominion Virginia Power, You're Doing It Right

Last week, I gave Morgan Stanley Smith Barney some pointers on using Twitter a wee bit more authentically.

This week, I'd like to extend some props to Dominion Virginia Power, which used Twitter in a highly effective manner to keep more than 900,000 customers informed who were affected by power outages which began as a result of a derecho storm on June 29th.

Since the outages began, the folks who are in charge of Dominion Virginia's Twitter feed have been Tweeting pretty much non-stop, and they've done a great job using these tactics:

  • Replying to pretty much every Tweet that's sent @DomVAPower. Their feed is full of @this and @that, and they do their best to answer every question.
  • Referring people to the right resource. Sometimes customers are directed to call and report an outage; other folks are referred to press releases, interactive maps, or web pages that show outage status. Dominion uses the resource that best matches the questions customers ask.
  • Partnering across the organization to get content out. Dominion is able to send customers to online resources that tell them what they need to know because the people who manage their web site are making those updates available non-stop, and the rest of Dominion's organization is working to get this information to their online team.
  • Keeping the right tone. Dominion celebrates when we're happy our lights are back on and sympathizes when it's 100 degrees out and we still don't have A/C. I didn't see any tweets where they became defensive, inappropriate, or unhelpful.
  • Being authentic and real. It's clear to me that real people run Dominion's Twitter feed and I appreciate them being available non-stop until everyone gets their power restored.
What's your takeaway?
  • For certain types of businesses, Twitter can be an effective customer service tool.
  • During an emergency, Twitter is a great way to let people know what's going on right now.
  • Since everyone can see your tweets, you can answer many customer questions by replying to one tweet.
  • Even though it took three days for Dominion to get power back on in my neighborhood, I still felt like they were doing their best. I knew they were on top of the situation because I could see what they were doing any time I checked their Twitter feed. I felt like Dominion was paying attention to the situation and that I could connect to them if I needed to. 
  • Dominion uses its Twitter feed to show that it cares about its customers. Do you do that with your feed? How many of your tweets are broadcast news ("Check out our new...") and how many are conversations with customers? It might be time to tweak that ratio a bit.
What do you think about Twitter for crisis communications and customer service? Let me know in the comments.

Need help making your Twitter feed more nimble, authentic, and useful? Drop me a line. I can get you moving in the right direction.

Related Posts
Twitter: Morgan Stanley, You're Doing it Wrong
How to Write Great Tweets

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