Monday, September 26, 2016

"I'm Laurel. And I Tweet It."

Social media has become an important vehicle to reach our customers. From rider alerts to service change announcements, we strive to provide exceptional service and foster great relationships with our passengers. From first thing in the morning until late at night, Laurel, from our Agency Communications department, monitors our social media to ensure our customers stay informed.

Laurel spent fourteen years marketing online financial services where she thrived on responding to rapid technological changes. Part of these changes included incorporating social media as a method for outreach and customer service. Laurel brought her passion for social media to Community Transit three years ago, "It was nice to be able to usher in Twitter and nurture our audience there. Social media has an immediacy to it that is unique. It gives us the opportunity to respond right away to customers, to tell them we hear them and we're listening."

Laurel monitors @MyCommTrans regularly, especially early in the morning just before our commutes are at their peak, responding to any questions or concerns. By coordinating efforts with our Customer Service and Dispatch departments, Laurel utilizes social media to connect with our riders. "When people are frustrated, listening and responding goes a long way. It helps when you feel like someone hears you. We may not have the answer right at that moment, but we'll work hard to get the answer you need."

In addition to Twitter, Community Transit also has a Facebook page and can be found on YouTube and LinkedIn. "Every social media platform is different, but the interactions I have with customers, whether it's a 140 character tweet about service or a 'Like' on a photo I've posted to Facebook, make my job challenging and fun. To be able to answer a question and get feedback in such an immediate way makes social media a great fit for public transportation."

Thanks, Laurel, for your commitment to service, for being the friendly voice our customers see on their Twitter feed, and for being an active listener and problem solver. When you "Tweet It", you make a difference in how we help bring our customers home.

Friday, September 9, 2016

"I'm Matt. And I Help People Use It."

Nearly 10 million passengers board a Community Transit vehicle each year. With a service area that spans over 1,300 square miles, these boardings take place in all kinds of environments, from bustling urban areas to sleepy suburbs to outlying rural routes. A lot of our passengers have never taken a bus before, or are intimidated to take the bus from one environment to another. We rely on the efforts of our hardworking Sales & Distribution team, where people like Matt help our passengers use it and ride with confidence.

After thirteen years of working in the transit industry, Matt joined our Sales & Distribution team as a Supervisor just over a year ago. He knew right away it would be a good fit, "When I worked for Everett Transit, Community Transit was one of our partners. Everyone there was always positive and I could tell it was a good place to be. If you're going to work, you might as well find a home. From the very beginning, everyone has been welcoming and supportive. The fact that you can have a real conversation with our CEO means a lot. It starts from the top down."

Our Sales & Distribution department is responsible for distributing route information to a network of over 225 outlets across Snohomish County. From colleges to grocery stores to libraries, this small team of eight is constantly on top of every rider alert and service change. All those time tables you see at bus stops are also managed by this team. A minor service change could mean swapping out materials at 550 bus stops, while major service changes could mean 1,200 stops and take two weeks.

Not all of Matt's team's work is behind the scenes. Sales & Distribution also staffs the RideStore in Lynnwood where they get the opportunity to directly impact our customers. From selling ORCA (One Regional Card for All) products to providing trip information, this team helps people navigate the world of public transportation. Matt says, "The availability of transit options can often turn an unwelcome burden into an exciting new experience. It's so satisfying to help somebody discover this entire new world available to them. The look of relief they have when they realize how easy it is is really rewarding."

One final way that Matt's team makes a difference is by reuniting our customers with their property. You would be surprised at what gets left on our buses! While it's common to find laptops, iPhones, purses and wallets, the RideStore also receives everything from bikes to yard tools. Every day items are either found on the bus or turned into the RideStore by helpful passengers. While the team receives well over 600 items each month, sadly only 25-30% of these are ever claimed. Any item determined to have value that is left unclaimed will eventually be surrendered to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office. If you've misplaced your wallet, try checking here first!

At the end of the day, Matt and his team find real value in helping people use our services. "It all comes down to touching the lives of customers. Everyone has somewhere to go. How can we help them?" Thank you, Matt, for overseeing an awesome team that feels truly passionate about our customers. Because of your efforts, new riders are empowered to take advantage of our services and more experienced riders are encouraged to try new ways of getting to where they need to go.