Thursday, September 24, 2009

TriMet should man the Twitter Desk

Go to Twitter and search "TriMet". You can see many complaints. Maybe if TriMet actually manned the Twitter, they could help some of the people solve problems.

They need to hire a full time Social Media Person (I would volunteer). This person would search Twitter and try to find answers to the issues. Provide Public interaction to bring TriMet and their customers to a more personal level. They are limited complaints, but if people knew someone was listening, they would voice more. Complaints, questions and even commendations. Its a customer service position in a way. I would take it further, give me a laptop and I can tweet from a MAX line, a bus route, meet some of the readers face to face. Being on a personal level is important for this agency. People have questions, they want answers, and no one is providing them. They are here to provide a public service, but they need to have a connection between them and the riding public. Some won't care, but some will. They were all over the Green Line tweets, but after that ended, they have sort of disappeared. Tweets can be service alerts, Information on route and meetings, and helping fellow tweeters out. Someone asks "Where is my 44?", the SM person makes a call to find out, and tweets the results. Someone complains about a broken machine, the SM Person can relay. It fast and easy for the customer, and its something TriMet needs to focus on, its a growing form of communication, and they need to be on board. I am tired of seeing all the questions, complaints and whys, with no help from TriMet.

Its a long shot, but this is a blog after all, I am entitled to my opinion hehe.


J said...

This is my second time trying to write this, but I got an error the first time, so if you get a similar message twice, sorry! :)

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but I don't think it's a feasible one for TriMet now, budget-wise. I agree that it's a customer service avenue that isn't being utilized, but I can't imagine TriMet would get a lot of public support if they hired a full-time Twitter operator after so many bus routes were just cut. Personally I'd love to see an expansion in TriMet's customer service in general - not just someone dedicated to responding to customer concerns (not just Twitter but also the comment section of the website), but also if the phones were staffed outside of business hours M-F - who hasn't been stuck wondering what happened to their scheduled bus or train late at night after the customer service reps have gone home?
My guess is they got really into Twitter because of the Green Line opening, but now lack the capability to use it as a real-time customer service outlet.

Al M said...

I agree totally on this!

Anonymous said...

The good news is that with the Trip Planner and especially Transit Tracker by Phone (Call-a-Bus schedule info before that), you can get a lot of information 24/7. Also, I'm not sure that they would be able to look up what's actually happening (I'm sure the dispatchers and controllers don't have the time to take the calls if that's what it would take).

BUT...I just realized that they make actual vehicle data available (latitude and longitude, more--example), and am looking at making a "Transit Mapper" web page that would put the info on a Google Map so you can see where the buses and trains actually are, instead of just hearing or seeing "arriving in X minutes". IN ADDITION, if I get my Tech by Transit business going, I am considering getting onto Twitter and answering the questions that I can as a way of "advertising".