Doing more reading these days and just picked up another doozy from Roger Hislop, Sentient Communications. He's talking about iBurst's efforts in using social media as a service channel and doing damage control through positive, pro-active engagement with unhappy customers. This quick quote perfectly sums up the issue I've been battling with when looking at commodity service brands and social media. There isn't much to talk about except complaints - and unless you are willing (TRULY willing) to fix the base problem that caused the complaint in the first place - don't bother with social media.
The reality is that a company providing a "commodity" consumer service such as telecoms will typically have a slightly negative online score - people generally speak up when they're unhappy. Everything working fine is what users expect - the marketing team is realistic about how much you can "surprise and delight" a customer with a service that is only remarkable to users when it's not working!It's a lot easier for sexy brands. It's a lot easier for sponsorship projects (and this is where I do believe service brands have a space to play). That's stuff I want to talk about. Otherwise, just get your product to work and don't bombard me with shallow, wishy-washy comms plans and vacant tweets.