Posted By Jeffrey Mullan, MassDOT Secretary and CEO
From the first day of the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation, on November 1, 2009, we have pursued Governor Patrick’s vision for our organization– to lead the nation in transportation excellence. We knew the emphasis on customer service would be one way to restore people’s trust in us as stewards of the Commonwealth’s transportation system.
In 15 months, MassDOT has taken many steps to improve customer service. Our managers are out in our system engaging our customers. We are in the second phase of our "You Move Massachusetts" statewide public outreach effort. We have a started a "How Can I Help You Today" initiative with our front-line workers who interact with customers every day. We have a more customer-focused website that is being upgraded continually- a growing web presence that includes our most popular RMV "branch" that handles 1.5 million transactions every year. We have this very active transportation blog. If you are interested in Massachusetts transportation news and information, be sure to check our blog frequently.
A great example of our rapid development of customer service tools can be found on Twitter. If you are reading this blog, you probably know that MassDOT is tweeting regularly at www.twitter.com/massdot
We believe it is an important and growing tool that allows timely interaction with our customers. Since MassDOT's first tweet on March 25, 2009, we have sent more than 2,700 tweets with news and photos, information about public meetings, traffic updates, and links to our blog, road, bridge, and transit websites, and news articles. We also monitor Twitter for questions and concerns and answer those when we can.
Twitter's immediacy has been particularly helpful during weather events affecting transportation, from last year's floods to this winter's two major snow events. MassDOT's first priority is safety- clearing state roads quickly and efficiently. My thanks to the hundreds of MassDOT employees and hired contractors for their successful efforts this week and in previous events.
And as our crews do their work, Twitter is one way to keep our customers informed before they travel. Wednesday this week, in one 24-hour period, we tweeted 49 times and “retweeted” 13 service updates from the MBTA twitter account, www.twitter.com/mbtagm Customers are responding- we added 192 new followers to our Twitter account between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning. We are approaching 5,000 followers and expect that number to grow.
Social media is still relatively new and evolving. I know that it is not for everyone, but it is an effective tool for an increasingly large part of our community. We can and will do more as we pursue all avenues to communicate with our customers and gain the public's trust. We invite your feedback on this blog and on Twitter.