For two years, I’ve had two cell phones essentially one personal and one for work but I often mixed them based on coverage and features that were convenient for me. I had a Blackberry and an iPhone, the former with Verizon and impeccable coverage, and the latter with AT&T and spotty coverage at best. I never had to worry about a dead battery charge, one had GPS, one had a camera and together they were a complete pair. Many people laughed at me with my two phones. Then last Friday I ended my cell phone bliss in the hopes that I could save some money. Ironically, I will save $35/month.

I noticed an increase in emails lately encouraging folks to follow each other on Twitter because of a customer service issue they wanted resolved with a particular company and they wanted support through Twitter to have leverage with that company. For example, a friend flew from Michigan to North Caroline with his family about a month ago and had a terrible experience on Delta. He wrote to his network through email encouraging everyone to follow him on Twitter as he publicly flogged the airline. Within a few days, we received an email from him thanking him for the support his Twitter followers gave him.

I didn’t start following this person after the request though I may in the future for other reasons so I’m unsure of the details but I believe this is a movement that we’ll see happening more and more, particularly this holiday season. Companies will have to increase the staff that monitors and manages their social media outlet or risk their reputation. This has always been a possibility and a concern but never as marketers did we have to react to the frequency and breath of how quickly word spreads through a medium like Twitter. Now of course, we can also use this to our advantage as marketers and increase sales and brand satisfaction.

This friend may have had a very valid concern but we’re not sure what other methods he tried for resolution but we didn’t know the popular and easy one is effective right now and that’s Twitter. Companies like Delta seem prepared to manage complaints through this channel and many of the speakers we’ve had on social media at AMADC programs encourage preparedness. In fact, you’re biggest complainer can become your best advocate.

However, this friend still relied on email to tell us to follow him on Twitter and I’m not sure of the value or interest in following him on Twitter for the longer term so the system is flawed right now. As the consumer, customer and marketer develops policies and standards for mediums such as Twitter, these bumps will smooth out and much like direct mail and telemarketing, we’ll see this channel settle down into just that, another channel to reach the consumer in the manner to which he or she wants to communicate to us and through us. Follow AMADC on Twitter: @amadc.