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Yay: our TransLink Twitter service is now permanent!

Yay: our TransLink Twitter service is now permanent!

Our TransLink Twitter customer service pilot has been approved as a permanent program!

Great news everyone—our TransLink Twitter pilot is now a permanent service!

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Twitter pilot was a test project to deliver ramped up customer service through the TransLink Twitter account (twitter.com/translink). Since November 1, 2010, call centre workleaders have sent out system updates and answered customer questions from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day — and the results have been spectacular!

So today, we are happy to announce that the budget has been approved for continuing the Twitter pilot indefinitely. That means it’s now a permanent service you can rely on for the future, with permanent staff positions devoted to Twitter alerts, trip planner alerts and mobile updates, among other things!

A huge thanks to all the staff members involved with the Twitter pilot for making this project such a huge success and such a valuable tool for our customers. And another huge thanks to all the customers we are interacting with online, especially those who sent in such supportive notes for the pilot: we received more than a hundred formal commendations, and countless supportive tweets!

Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the blog post that L.A. Metro wrote about our pilot—it’s lovely to hear them chat about our work!

And for those interested, keep on reading for a deep dive into the stats behind our first three months of Twitter service — we now have over 6,900 followers and climbing!

Twitter: a key distribution point for information when people need it!

A graph of the number of tweets sent by the TransLink Twitter account from November 1, 2010 to January 28, 2011.

After three months of service, you can see the TransLink Twitter account is generally sending an average of 40-50 tweets a day, alerting people of disruptions and answering incoming questions.

Except, of course, when a major service disruption occurs! That’s when the number of tweets spike to about 120 tweets a day!

But that’s actually a great sign, as it shows we’re delivering more information when people actually need minute-by-minute updates on the system’s status.

And we can really tell that people are finding the updates valuable because our follower counts spike after each major service disruption. A graph!

The TransLink Twitter account's followers from November 1, 2010 to January 28, 2011.

Again, the jumps in follower numbers after each service disruption really shows that people are gravitating to our Twitter service when they need to be informed. And since we’re not seeing enormous drop off, we can hopefully extrapolate that people find the service valuable and continue to subscribe. Which is great—we’re helping more people get quality information to help them with their journeys!

Also, the TransLink account has seen a steady climb in its number of followers since November 2010 — in about three months, 2,900 more accounts are following @translink!

Retweets from the TransLink Twitter account, Oct 29, 2010 to January 28, 2011.

Last but not least, retweets of TransLink messages also see big spikes after major service disruptions—which again indicates that our information is valuable and is being spread out when people need it.

And according to the (sort of sketchy) statistics from TwitterAnalyzer.com, the “reach” of the TransLink account is 324,274 users—or that’s how many followers our followers have altogether. Which should be taken with a pretty big grain of salt, but still: it’s something!

Commendations pouring in

A comparison of commendations received on various TransLink initiatives.

I’m also quite proud to report that our Twitter pilot received 118 commendations in our formal feedback system from November 1, 2010 to January 31, 2011! (This is feedback sent in either through our online feedback form or called in to our call centre.)

This is in fact a HUGE accomplishment. For comparison’s sake, here’s how many commendations we received either

For comparison’s sake, here’s how many commendations we’ve received on other TransLink in initiatives, in our formal feedback system:

  • The IVR Next Bus automated service – 1 commendation
  • The Web Usability Trip Planner Enhancements – 12 commendations
  • The Main Street Passenger Information Displays – 2 commendations
  • The Next Bus Text Message Service to 33333 – 2 commendations.
  • Re-instating of Infotube Inserts – 3 commendations

Which of course is not to say that people don’t appreciate those projects—it’s just that they haven’t filled out the feedback form or called to say so! But the fact that the Twitter project inspired such love that 118 commendations showed up in our system… well. That means a lot.

Also, if you’re curious, there were also four complaints that came in during the beginning of this period, mostly around the number of tweets that were being sent out. However, I think this has mostly been resolved, as we were still getting our bearings in early November, and we haven’t heard any complaints about the number of tweets since.

Some of our favourite tweets…

And just for fun, I wanted to share some of the lovely commendations we’re hearing through Twitter itself — you can check out the TransLink Twitter account’s “favorites” for a big list of them!

 

@translink I’m thoroughly impressed. Awesome customer service today. Just thought you should know :)less than a minute ago via web

 

 

@translink Yay! I really, really appreciate the twitter feed from you guys. It’s made my commute so much better & I hope it sticks around.less than a minute ago via HootSuite

 

 

woohooo! so glad! love how positive and helpful you folks are :) RT @translink: Good news – our Twitter pilot is extended through Febless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

 

When snow dumped on Vancouver, @Translink did a remarkable job tweeting to update users. @TELUS, take note: Twitter’s the new alert system.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

 

That’s it for me…

So I really want to say thanks again to our amazing call centre workleaders who have been doing the amazing work of keeping the region updated and answering any and all questions that pop up on the fly—all in 140 character bursts!

And here are few past posts about the pilot, including results from the first month and comments from our call centre staff working on the team.