Voices of CRM

Jun 12 2011   1:19PM GMT

Contact center answers in the Big Easy

Rosemary Cafasso Profile: Rosecafasso

Contact center managers headed to New Orleans for the ACCE conference this week might be a little befuddled by the Voice of the Customer theme. That’s not exactly new. Haven’t contact centers been pretty much doing nothing but hearing the customer’s voice for years?

“Smart phones, social media and all these ways to interact have created a need to listen to customers and build products or services around what they are asking for and what they say is imperative,” said Brad Cleveland, an advisory board member of the International Customer Management Institute,
which runs ACCE.

Turns out, there really is a big difference between “hearing” and “listening.” (This is reminding me of a lecture I frequently give my children, but that’s another story).

For starters, if you don’t have a listening strategy that extends out to social channels by now, you should figure that out – and fast.

But most companies know this. They understand that they need to listen to what customers are telling them and respond to it. What they need to know is how to take the idea of Voice of the Customer and move it from concept to implementation.

When asked what he thinks is keeping contact center managers awake at night, Jorge Blanco, vice president of contact center marketing at Avaya said “it’s when they know they have a problem and they don’t know how to solve it.”

So, here’s hoping that some of the ACCE sessions and workshops will give companies real answers to some very basic problems. For example, Lori Bockland, president of Strategic Contact Inc., is leading a “Contact Center technology 101” workshop that will cover the basics on technologies every call center needs.

There’s also a scheduled keynote from the folks at Comcast who will be talking about how to best integrate social media in a company’s customer service strategy.

ICMI’s Cleveland said the impact of social channels and mobile communications has “created more change than we’ve ever seen.”

“Social media is seen as exotic and new, but really, customer relationships aren’t new,” Cleveland said. “It is just scale. We’ve got to use what we’ve learned all these years.”

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