Top Tips From ICMI Contact Center Demo
Sep28

Top Tips From ICMI Contact Center Demo

  Highlights from one of the top contact center / customer service events in America Las Vegas hosted another fantastic ICMI (International Customer Management Institute) production this week.  While the time seemed to pass by in the space of a blink, I’m coming back to Nashville with several key learnings.  Here are the biggest themes and take-aways from The City of Lights:   Culture And Employee Engagement Are Still Number One – These two topics dominate so many conversations and fill conference halls on a regular basis.  It may be because these are problems that neither money nor AI can solve for us.  There are no short cuts to a great culture.  It requires hard work and intentional focus over an extended duration of time. Great leaders are those who consider the mind, body, and overall wellness of their employees. It’s no longer about giving them a decent place to work and trying to maximize utilization – it’s encouraging a healthy lifestyle, fostering positive peer-to-peer relationships across the team, and offering flex shifts even when this means more work for you.  These activities will go way further then offering a smelly gym and a ping-pong table.  Bottom line?  You will attract the best talent and keep them when you treat people like family.  Also, shout out to the best panel-mates ever Sean Hawkins, Jenny Dempsey and Erica Marois!   AI Is (Really) Coming – There are a few milestone events in the history of the contact center.  The introduction of the telephone, the internet, email, and mobile devices to name a few.  Artificial Intelligence will be on par with these if not greater.  Confused on what AI is and what it actually does for the customer experience?  Consider this present-day example articulated by Bob Furniss – An agent is on a difficult call or is currently in training.  Watson uses speech to text analytics to process the conversation in real time, and using certain triggers, will recommend questions for the agents to ask and knowledge base articles to accelerate a quality resolution.  Now that’s smart stuff! Naturally, there was a great deal of conversation on whether or not AI will take jobs away.  While the transactional support that used to be associated with “tier one” either has been or will soon be eliminated, higher-level support activities (what I like to call tier infinity) are going nowhere soon.  AI is as big of a win for a smart agent as it is for the customer, as demonstrated in the example above.  It will save all of us time and allow us to focus on more important activities.   Omnichannel and...

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How To Have An Amazing Conference Experience
Jul22

How To Have An Amazing Conference Experience

ICMI knows how to throw a party. I had the fortune of attending their Expo and Conference this year in Orlando, FL. Speaking at a major conference for the first time, I was pretty much a ball of nervous energy for the first two days. Even so, I managed to pull out several great learnings which I will memorialize and share right here on this blog :).     1. Invest in People Throughout the Year Twitter is the first big (unexpected) win. I hated Twitter at the beginning of last year. It seemed like a giant hodge-podge of worthless information. Roy Atkinson and others helped me to stick with it, and now I see Twitter as an even more powerful networking tool then LinkedIn. Walking into the expo the first day, I thought I was completely alone. As it turns out, I had walked into a room full of friends with which I had developed a great relationship with through sharing knowledge. It was an absolute blast learning from and engaging with them in person. My favorite moment of the whole conference was sitting on a panel for a live twitter chat complete with Sean B Hawkins, Leslie O’Flahavan, Neal Topf, Erica Marois, and Jeff Toister.  It is so much more exciting to learn with you are sharing the experience with others and participating in robust dialog. The best way to avoid a conference “summer camp” experience, but a much deeper and sustainable one,  is to engage with industry experts on Twitter throughout the year. Two of the greatest chats are the #icmichat on Tuesdays at 12:00 PM CST and the #custserv chat on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM CST.      2. Make Fun a Priority I was really confused when I first got my speaker ratings back. I gave two completely different types of sessions. My first was around the “Effortless Experience” and how to balance this with customer delight. It was very well researched and heavy on the content side. I expected this to be by far the more popular and highly rated session of the two. The second was more about having an exciting dialog in the room and learning a topic (gamification) together. I had considerably less “solid” content and I was afraid I would take a bath in the ratings for my (very) nontraditional approach. The “Effortless Experience” session was rated 18 out of 44, whereas the Gamification session received a 9 out of 44!! I still can’t believe that result. It tells me that if people want to listen to someone drone on about a particular topic for an hour, they can find...

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