Last week, I attended ICMI's Contact Center Demo & Conference in Dallas, Texas. As always, the event featured exceptional site tours, keynote presentations, an expo hall, and educational breakout sessions.
Here's an overview of the conference along with some of my key take-aways from the event.
You might want to start by familiarizing yourself with the conference if you didn't attend.
Customer-focus was at the top of the list. This isn't unusual, given the nature of the conference, but the message dug a bit deeper this time.
The first full day of the conference started with an impactful keynote presentation from Tom Grothues, USAA's Senior Vice President for Bank and Property & Casualty sales and service. USAA is a financial services company that's at the top of just about any list of best customer service organizations.
It's no surprise that Grothues explained much of USAA's ability to be customer-focused comes from getting employees to buy-in to its customer service vision.
It also seemed that contact center professionals are starting to get more sophisticated. For example, I was fortunate to moderate a panel discussion on first contact resolution (FCR). The experts on the panel came to the surprising consensus that FCR was a very limited metric.
Suggested alternatives included "Future Contact Resolution" (thanks, Neal Topf!), "First Conversation Resolution" (thanks, Al Hopper), or limiting FCR to situations where an agent had direct control over solving the issue on one try.
Justin Robbins, Group Community Director for ICMI and HDI, was one of the panelists. He continued the theme in his keynote the next morning where he encouraged contact center leaders to avoid broken promises.
Best-selling author Marsha Collier delivered a keynote focused on helping contact center leaders understand the impact that customer service has on marketing.
The concept itself isn't new, but Collier revealed opportunities for companies to improve. For example, a company often has loyal customers who engage them on social media channels like Twitter. A smart marketing strategy is to follow those customers and engage with them regularly.
Customer service writing expert, Leslie O'Flahavan, followed Collier's keynote later that day with an impactful presentation on writing to customers in your brand's voice.
She encouraged contact center leaders to work with their marketing departments to identify brand language standards and translate those into guides for customer service agents to mirror the same approach.