WMATA to launch new social media campaign

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (DC) is launching a social media campaign intended, in part, to create a two-way dialogue with riders. After years of using Twitter almost exclusively to push out automated service updates, Metro recently created a new Twitter account (@MetroForward) that engages customers in conversation. “We’re putting the people, the tools in place to give more information to more people than ever before,” managing director of public relations Lynn Bowersox told The Washington Post. “It is our strategy to find out where customers are getting information and to be there. We’re putting more time and attention into those channels, where people are looking for information on their PDAs, Twitter, Facebook.” Part of the plan, as reported yesterday, is hiring a social media manager who will help the agency’s new Twitter-savvy chief spokesman Dan Stessel bring WMATA into the social media age. Link to full story in The Washington Post.

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David Kuehn

It is good to see a committment towards customer service. A two-way conversation also could aid agency operations when the public is reporting problems before employees notice. This will require more than having public communications people sitting in the bus operations center. It will require system managers and front line route supervisors to repsond to public reports, which may require a change in standard operating proceedures and agency culture and habits.

Alicia Mazzara

WMATA has a pretty terrible customer service reputation, so I’m glad that they’re trying to do a better job engaging with their riders. The DC Department of Transportation does a great job with their Twitter feed by soliciting and responding to complaints that people tweet. It’d be great if Metro started following their example.