Earlier this week I was looking for a way to contact RTL (a TV broadcasting company in the Netherlands) and tell them that their online television guide wasn’t showing the info for all channels – a very distressing proposition for me, as it will result in the phenomenon knowen as “random viewing” where I end up channel grazing for hours.

I couldn’t find an appropriate email address on the site so I turned to twitter,  that fab new tool that companies the world over are embracing to use for the customer contact. It seems that a lot of other people thought that RTL would be the company, and have tweeted questions and comments with @RTL in the tweets, instead it’s someone in fukuoka, with a locked account so I don’t know how active he/she is.

There are loads of tools out there to monitor tweets, so I wondered if perhaps RTL was picking up on these questions and responding somehow. Further digging revealed the offical RTL Netherlands twitter account @RTLNL, with zero tweets.

Lots has been said about how companies should set up their twitter accounts, how they should be used, how it’s vitally important to staff them etc, so I won’t go into what RTL could improve. In any case someone managed to get in contact with them – because the programme data is back today.

But I’d like to point out that users could also help by checking that the account they’re sending comments to is one that will provide an answer. In this case @RTL is a random person in Japan who’s getting messages in languages he can’t read.

To increase the chances of the company helping you via twitter check;

  • does the company have a twitter account?
  • are they actively using their account?
  • if the company has more than one account, which one is relevant for your question?

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