For Entergy, Lessons Learned Following Christmas Storm

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

Angry customers flooded social media last week with complaints about AT&T’s handling of a widespread U-verse outage.

A number of Facebook posters compared AT&T’s response with Entergy’s handling of the power outage after the Christmas ice storm and found the telecommunications giant lacking by comparison.

Whispers asked Entergy Arkansas spokeswoman Julie Munsell what PR lessons the utility had learned.

“This was the first major event where we [Entergy Arkansas] deployed social media,” she said. “From the very beginning of the event, we said we were going to make a significant commitment to a 24/7 response during the outage on social media, which took a significant amount of resources and effort on the part of the company.”

The second strategy Entergy used was “that we would respond with whatever information we had to as many questions as possible.”

Using social media allowed Entergy to converse with customers — to “listen to them and be able to respond to them” — in real time, Munsell said.

Requests for neighborhood-level information “prompted an expansion of our ‘view outages’ map,” she said.

Munsell did note that Entergy wasn’t able to provide detailed information during the first couple of days after the storm because of the weather but did move in that direction as soon as it was able.

“We think that telling people what you know when you know it seems to be very critical to how people felt about the restoration process and how it was going.”



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