How the NS handles Twitter

There are enough companies who tweet just to tweet. Create an account, once a week send a tweet and never look beyond what others say. Simple and it does not cost any extra money, after all sending a tweet is just a mouse click away. Occasionally there will be a new follower and the company also follows every follower. The question is, however, do you really follow everybody?

You start with simply “follow” someone, actually read all the tweets is a second. And then even respond to tweets is for many companies a very different story. But sometimes, just sometimes, there is a company that really knows how to deal with Twitter. Respond quickly is a must. These companies passed the stadium of “just check my Twitter account during the coffee break”. It has become an effective call for one or more employees.


Do you travel frequently by train and do you use Twitter? If so, you’ll know the Twitter profile of the NS (Dutch Railways). Since March 2010 they’ve send over 315,000 tweets. With over 110,000 followers, NS is one of the companies most discussed. Commonly used hash tags to messages with the NS are #fail, #vertraging, #Utrecht and #ns.


There were and are many complaints on Twitter about the NS. #ns is trending topic almost everyday. However, the messages are not always that positive. The aim of the strategy that the NS has plotted is therefore to be involved itself. It’s not a replacement of the customer service, such as webcare is. It’s more an additional dialog platform.


The NS tries to quickly answer tweets, which are directed to them. The Twitter employees of the NS always try to be positive. Some travelers make clever use of this by sending sarcastic comments.

I am one of many who has ever been in a train that was delayed. It was late at night and because of the delay I missed the last connection. I had to wait for 45 minutes for a taxi, arranged by the NS, to take me home. Despite to my sarcastic tone in my tweet to @NS_online, I still got a positive response back. Some (sarcastic) twitter conversations are attached (in Dutch, sorry).

Besides the responses to tweets from travelers, the NS sends daily messages themselves. Often this concerns current disturbances and delays. Important and remarkable reactions are internally fed back and possibly lead to changes.

What are your experiences with the Twitter team of the NS? Do you use it often?




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