We live in a world where artificial, automatic responses are facilitated by all sorts of technology. Automatic Tweet replies, pop up support chat invitations on websites...even "Tom" over at MySpace. These are all meant to make life easier for those of us who are trying to keep up with the myriad social touchpoints for which we are responsible. For the most part, they do help a little bit, but are they really accomplishing the mission?
When the grocery store clerk looks at my receipt and then says, "have a nice day....Mrs. O'Neill," it makes me feel a little creepy. I know that there's a memo tacked up somewhere telling him/her to greet each customer by name (and refer to receipt if necessary).
When I follow someone on Twitter and I get a rapid DM saying "thanks for the follow, what are you up to right now?" I like to reply (with my own two hands) and offer a response. More often than not, there is no reply back. The Tweeter is asleep at the wheel, relying on technology to establish relationships.
That isn't how it works. If you're going to use the tools, you have to back them up with your own presence. So go ahead and post on your own forums, answer your own phone, learn the names of your customers, and start REALLY engaging. You'll see a difference immediately.