Consumer is the king
It is the first thing you learn during marketing classes: consumer is the king and marketing is the art of creating value for your customers. This simple statement has sometimes been neglected by companies, more focused on the task rather than on the target. Then web 2.0 came and the role of consumers became crucial again. Customers were there, ready to (or, better, willing to) talk to you, to answer to all the questions you as a company forgot to ask them for too long. From a one-way marketing to a two-ways or relationship marketing. Social media provides the best stage for this new attitude: corporate blogs, communities, but also Facebook, Twitter, and recently Google+. Companies are competing one against the other, to show the world how good and quick they are in picking up suggestions coming from the market. What they sometimes forget is, that consumers talking to them in FB or Twitter are the same that maybe mailed them to ask for an information one month before and never got a feedback. If you are customer oriented, it should be in your DNA. So it doesn't matter if your target wants to talk to you via e-mail or in front of everybody in a social network. You owe him a quick answer in both cases. But this is not happening all the time. I remember having problems with Vodafone, as I couldn't get an answer from them. I asked the same question in Twitter and they quickly provided me with a feedback. Same thing with Ikea: consumers who couldn't get an answer from the company customer service, obtained it immediately after they posted the issue in the community. I understand that reputation is important, but reputation doesn't come only from social media, it also comes from daily business. As consumer is the king not only in the web, rather also (and above all) in everyday life.