During the latest New Hampshire Social Media Breakfast held at Rick’s Pond View and sponsored by CustomScoop, the topic of the morning was focused on Government 2.0 – how utilities and municipalities are using social media to communicate and connect with customers and the public. Some of the speakers of the day included Martin Murray from Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) and John Daly of The Boston Police Department who both spoke and shared how their organizations are adopting social media technologies.
I was especially interested in the presentation by Martin Murray who handles media relations for PSNH – better known as @PSNH on Twitter.
With the ice storm that hit on December 11, 2008, the word quickly got out that @PSNH was on Twitter and followers increased by 1,700% as customers were seeking answers and comfort in knowing that others were dealing with similar situations and that @PSNH was listening and responding.
As a customer of PSNH, I was very impressed with the organization’s use of Twitter to communicate with its customers during one of the biggest ice storms in the company’s history. The treacherous storm knocked out power to more than 320,000 residents across the state – including mine – for six very long days.
I also found it interesting that, along with Twitter, PSNH has also adopted other social media tools to engage with and communicate with customers – using Flickr and YouTube to share pictures and videos, as well as setting up a Facebook fan page.
In the video clip below, Martin sums up how the customer experience has changed significantly with PSNH’s adoption of Twitter. Instead of private one-to-one phone conversations with a customer, PSNH is now able to share and include others in those discussions publicly – getting more information out to more people.
John Daly and The Boston Police Department (BPD), known as @Boston_Police on Twitter, are also not strangers to social media. They were the first city police department to have a blog and with their Text a Tip program, people can text their anonymous tips. It wasn’t until recently that John decided to get the BPD onto Twitter to use it as a public information tool.
Check out the video below where John talks about how they are utilizing Twitter, as well as their plans for integrating it into their 911 Center to use as an early warning detection system – cool stuff!
Both The Boston Police Department and PSNH saw an opportunity to improve communications with the adoption of social media technologies. The results have proved that it is indeed a smart move – doing so has helped both entities to connect with the public and their customers on a more personal level. They can now include customers in the discussions at hand – no other communications method can offer the same results.
P.S. – The next New Hampshire Social Media Breakfast is scheduled for April 17th at 8am.