You may have read about Uttar Pradesh police using Twitter, last week in this blog. Here’s an even more inspiring social media usage from a Government official.

Manivannan, IAS and Managing Director of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. is on Facebook and is doing a phenomenal job.

What does he do? Nothing dramatically different from say, Anand Mahindra on Twitter. Manivannan is helpful, proactive and very prompt.

Take for instance the complaint by someone living in Yelahanka. All Manivannan does is politely point out the escalation matrix already laid out (in great detail – every kind of contact number is listed in the directory page!) in the Bescom website. He doesn’t break the system, but merely uses his reach on Facebook to let people follow the process. He even closes with a request to sms him if there is any issue.

For another person facing a 30 hour power cut, Manivannan efficiently addresses his problem and points the complaint out to two of his colleagues, all on Facebook, by tagging them. He asks them questions in public glare and they respond promptly too!

Elsewhere, he updates a customer that any complaint made to Bescom will be addressed within 60 minutes. And if not done, he asks him to sms him with the docket number!

Not just that, he also proactively posts update on the power situation in Bangalore.

Given how proactive the man is, the tone of people writing to him, in general, is incredibly polite.

He also appreciates his colleagues on Facebook for prompt action. What is surprising is that many of his colleagues are on Facebook tracking the posts he has tagged them on and responding almost in real time!

This is a completely different situation from the traditionally ridiculed electricity department which one calls when there is a power cut and they don’t bother to pick up the phone. That image seems to be a thing of the past.

Who got Manivannan on Facebook? Who gave him the idea to use Facebook for grievance redressal and responding to customers, instead of sharing his kids’ photographs? Who got so many of this colleagues on Facebook doing the same?

This is fascinating use of Facebook. Without any sophistication or noise, Bescom’s MD seems to be utilizing the social media tool to serve customers better. The effort doesn’t even work through a Bescom page on Facebook, like how UP Police uses a department-specific account on Twitter. This man goes about using a Facebook account in his own name (while some of his colleagues use generic, designation-led name, but with personal photographs) and calmly goes about his business in a conversational and casual tone, focusing on customer service.

Hats off, Manivannan!

(Thanks to colleague @gollum77 for letting me know about Manivannan)