I was reading about the launch of another two software  products over the last few days that will help organisations to better manage their use of Facebook and Twitter within their contact centre. Such products typically have an impressive list of functionality including the ability to know the instant, yes the instant (whether you  are geared up to do something about it the ‘instant’ it is posted is quite another question), your customers comment about you (as opposed to anyone else commenting about you), tracking messages against your customers, automatically routing comments to specific agents, supervisors pre-screening outbound Tweets or Facebook comments, queuing by top customers, influencers or sentiment, moving responses between email and Twitter and back, and scheduling Tweets and automated broadcasts.

These products have been created to help call centres overcome some of the issues that the use of social media has brought with it including the escalation of issues into PR disasters, increased volume of inbound messages originating from social media channels, complaints going unanswered in public, responding to the immediacy of complaints being posted, lack of visibility of activity resulting in very manual and time-consuming reporting processes.

I’m all for technology, and get just as excited about it as anyone else. Okay, I admit, I’m more likely to be excited about the new Windowsphone, than I am about the latest call centre software. But please, please please, don’t confuse functionality with aspiration. Being more open, authentic and empathetic is a cultural acceptance of the importance of these customer engagement characteristics.

The technology may well be designed to allow you to give instant responses and help avert PR disasters. Whether you can actually do that is another matter entirely. The technology will only ever reflect what your organisation truly is to begin with. To be open, authentic and empathetic to your customers, isn’t just a case of paying a monthly subscription fee.

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