I didn't have time to write this note about this while it was happening, but I haven't forgotten :) While I am completely over-bored with the same stuff about how brands should behave on the web, i came across an interesting example first hand. And I am writing it here ONLY because i think it is important that brands' micro-neglect stuff like this become visible.
Time Warner Cable guy, Jeff Simmermon, is on Twitter, and all those unfortunate people allocated to do "digital communication" in conglomerates like TWC, he is paid to stare at the screen and wait for someone to say on Twitter "Time Warner" (usually in combination with "SUCKS") so they can start following them. Then they repeatedly poke disillusioned customers with the same question "is there something i can help you with?". At first I thought that it was a good brand move (micro-interactions are real important, after all) and that behind it is a genuine concern. The guy even showed some traces of humor.
But then, here on my blog, the old thing got confirmed: it's not enough for brands to just be there in the social media, they've got to behave like their customers. Social media is not just another channel of communication for brands. It is an entirely new set of relations, and it often requires building the brand from scratch there. So, as Faris repeatedly points out, be nice or leave.
There is a larger point here, however. Your communication is not your brand, your service is your brand. Until your service is great, your brand is going to suck. If you are nice in social media, you may mend that relationship a bit, but only to the extent that customers may be willing to put up with your crappy service because you are nice (think Frank at Comcast). But the sad truth is, no matter how nice you are, there's no real loyalty there. Only awesome service builds real brand loyalty.
Anyway, back to the story. Namely, the dude responded to my suggestion that his company better offer some good service instead of just using Twitter with the following: "Thanks for the tip -- we should have something ready for your approval shortly after lunchtime :)"
Lovely & totally endearing.