Of course, the Web 2.0 potential is great for companies. This is a brand new media which is still to be explored. But it is pretty scary for companies. Hence companies for the past decades have been aiming and setting up processes and technologies to control investments, data, information in order to drive efficiency. Therefore, before any product launch, public appearance of CEOs or advertisement, everything had to be perfect and clean, in order to show off the company's professionalism.
But web 2.0 is not controllable in the way that company's wants. Hence, if a company masters the public relationship art, as it knows journalists and reporters, as it has prepared itself to any kind of eventuality, web 2.0 and how the information can be spread fast and wide makes it impossible to control.
Community managers needs to establish a relationship, where the customer and the company are on the same level. And companies have trouble doing that. All the different customers interactions have been defined through automatic processes in order to turn every event previsible. This is the reason why a lot of customer requests are responded by non sense answers over the phone or in store. Because the process has been set in such a way that it is more and more difficult to adapt to individuals.
Web 2.0 is made out of individuals, that could have a great powers to spread the word of mouth, and therefore automatic responses are not the best way to interact with this new medium. Community managers can't use this new media the same way call centers do. Because if one unhappy customer could turn down 10 people, unhappy customers could reach thousands of people through their communities and other network interractions.
How should a company approach this problem? They must consider community management seriously and define new processes that would enable community managers to respond in the best way to customers. That means flexibility and responsabilities.