Utilities Harness Social Media for Customer Service

“The way utilities view social media is radically changing,” says Greg Guthridge, global lead for Accenture Energy Consumer Services, quoted in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal (“Utilities Tap Power of Social Media,” by Andrew Blackman, The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2013).

Indeed! Many use Twitter and Facebook to interact with customers; Facebook, blogs, YouTube and other channels for tips and advice on energy efficiency; and, a variety of social channels, especially Twitter, to pinpoint outages during storms.

The article sites the experience of N.J.-based PSE&G during Hurricane Sandy as an example of the power of social interactions: The storm led customers to send over 90,000 tweets to the company, which assigned 22 staff members to read and respond. According to Jenn Kramer, the manager who oversees social media, PSE&G’s followers increased to 57,845 from 14,787 before the storm.

I love to see this kind of coverage, and believe author Andrew Blackman sums it well: Utilities have entered the social media age.