"This is at its early stages for sure, but there are some companies that are already connecting customer service centers to networks, and I expect that these efforts will quickly reach a larger scale," said Ian Jacobs, senior analyst for customer interaction technologies at Datamonitor. "The way to do that will be to link formal contact centers with those networks."

Jacobs, who is author of the report "The Rise of Social Networking and Emerging Channels in Customer Service," says the current state of linking customer service with social networks is rudimentary at best. Social media monitoring tools such as Factiva, Nielsen Buzz Metrics, BoardReader, and dozens of others help automate social media conversation tracking.

The second wave of this connection is about to break. Salesforce.com has introduced a tool that lets its users monitor, search and respond directly to comments on Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and other social media, directly from the Salesforce.com system.

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