News Local

TransLink’s online strategy wins awards

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

TransLink social media guru, Jhenifer Pabillano handles TransLink's social media services — now with more than 30,000 followers on its Twitter account. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

TransLink social media guru, Jhenifer Pabillano handles TransLink's social media services — now with more than 30,000 followers on its Twitter account. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

TransLink’s move towards online customer service has seen its social media accounts explode in growth and recognized with awards, according to a new report.

The fastest-growing platform, Twitter, now has about 31,000 followers — about one follower for every three tweets — and was recognized for having the “best” Twitter handle in 2012.

TransLink social media guru Jhenifer Pabillano, seen on @TransLink with the initials ^JP, is one of 19 faces behind the account.

Her duties include handling the transit authority’s Buzzer blog and Facebook page. According to the 2012 Statutory Annual Report, both were recognized with an American Public Transportation Association award, with the Buzzer blog also scoring an International Association of Business Communicators award.

“The ability to give people information in minutes … clearly just fuelled its growth,” Pabillano said Thursday.

“We’re all so much more used to asking questions through online, through quickly texting a friend, and that sort of thing, and this (strategy) really takes advantage of that sort of behaviour.”

There were 1,267 fewer year-over-year transit complaints in 2012, according to the Statutory Report. In addition, complaints were addressed more promptly.

In the bus sector, 97% of complaints were closed within two weeks last year. For SkyTrain, 96% of complaints were responded to and addressed within a week.

Both improvements were partly attributed to TransLink’s Twitter account taking on some of the complaints, though phone enquiries continue to be used.

For example, Pabillano said, a clean-up request made through Twitter is responded to nearly “instantaneously.”

Social media staff reach out to complainants to pinpoint the location and extent of the clean up, and liaise with the appropriate services.

TransLink’s customer feedback line at 604-953-3040 is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. Twitter personnel work 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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