I generally don't trust contacting any organisation via their website or email anymore. Telephone contact can also be pretty useless. If you want to get things done, create a paper trail. I once setup a website contact system for a big government corporation - I checked on it a few months later and found that the mailbox that we'd created for the website was stuffed full of queries, but none of the emails had been read. The person who had been assigned the task of reading them had moved on, and not handed over to the next person the job of reading and responding to the emails on a daily basis. There were thousands of unread emails in there that had to be followed up.
I bet they just deleted the lot and hoped that everyone forgot about them.
I've found over the years that this sort of thing seems to be common in government departments, mainly because these emails are not revenue generators. The private sector tends to take more notice, as these sorts of emails might turn into valuable sales contacts. If nothing else, hungry salespeople will make sure someone is looking through the emails.
That said, I did test out the RTA website not long ago. I took this photo just before ANZAC Day this year - it shows the plinth where the statue of the NZ soldier now stands. I ducked around to the site a week before the unveiling out of curiosity. One thing I immediately noticed was the presence of a couple of graffiti tags around the site - one is visible in the bottom right hand corner.
Now that really ticked me off. This was about to become the site of a war memorial - something that deserves to be a sacred site in my opinion. Having graffiti in such a location is just not on. I can just imagine how the RSL representatives would have felt about it.
So I jumped onto the RTA website and let them know about it, half expecting to revisit the site after the statue had been raised to find it still there.
Imagine my surprise when I got this email response from the RTA shortly afterwards:
I refer to your email concerning the graffiti near Anzac Bridge.
The graffiti was removed on 22 April 2008.
Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the RTA.
An RTA person
RTA Customer Services
So it just goes to show that maybe these agencies are getting better at using the internet for customer service. Personally, I don't trust them - I've seen too many missives vanish into cyberspace to put any faith in them. But that shouldn't stop you from having a go if you don't feel like forking out 50 cents for a stamp, and making the hike to the letter box.
In this case, a successful conversion of an SEP into action. I'm actually a bit proud of this one. I drove past as the statue was being raised onto its plinth a day or two before the unveiling, and I thought that at the very least, his site was being respected.
I could have strangled the blasted RTA project manager though - imagine being in charge of a site like that, and not noticing vandalism. The people in RTA customer services that processed my email saved his bacon.