Midlothian Council is launching a new dedicated customer service Twitter account on August 13.
The council has been helping residents with issues such as missed bins and faulty street lighting on its main Twitter account @midgov since its launch in 2010.
However, the growing numbers of residents requesting services via social media has prompted a rethink on how best to use these channels to serve local people. Therefore a dedicated Twitter account, @midhelp, will run daily from 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday.
Council leader, Councillor Derek Milligan (Lab) said: “We now have just short of 14,500 followers on Twitter.
“With social media a normal part of daily life, more and more people are using it as a way to ask us a question, request a service or make a complaint.
“We want to give our customers the best possible service and we think that a dedicated Twitter account will help us do that. We’ll be able to answer enquiries promptly, make sure we don’t miss any enquiries and generally keep people up to date with anything they need to know thus saving them a call.”
As well as responding to enquiries, @midhelp will have information on issues affecting local people such as a power failure or burst water main.
The main account will continue to operate with general messages about council services and what is going on locally.
Councillor Milligan added: “Residents who don’t use social media can still get in touch with us in the usual ways.
“However, we want to support residents to do more online as it is a quick, efficient and cost effective way to communicate with us. We’d encourage as many people as possible to use the new @midhelp account.”
The new Twitter account is supporting the continued drive to encourage residents to increase their online contact. This will help secure savings of £500,000 by 2020.