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 Personalization– Could this be the year that the industry finally gets omnichannel right? It was clear in the demo hall that vendor technology has come a long way in this area. Today it’s both realistic and affordable to implement true omnichannel service. This will in turn enable us to provide more personalized support. Better data on our customers = more opportunities to customize their experience in meaningful ways.
A huge thanks to the ICMI staff, my fellow event board members, the speakers, and vendors who made this an excellent event! I’m already gearing up ICMI Expo coming up in May. Hopefully, 2018 is the year I take the Mini Golf Trophy back home to Nashville and away from Jeff Toister 😆. You still have a few days to submit a speaker proposal here! Let me know if you’d like to brainstorm on a topic or if I can help in any way!