ACCE 2009 – Good Conference / Great People!

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So the ACCE 2009 conference is now in the history books.  I enjoyed the conference and reached a new level in Twitter communications this week.  You can follow me @bobfurniss – I will say that it has been a learning experience (lesson learned: check names, spelling and hash-tags BEFORE you hit send!)

audienceI had the opportunity to speak about culture.  My session “Culture Shift – Moving People Forward™” was a lot of fun – full room, great engagement!  I really do love the rush of being on stage!  Thanks to the folks that attended who asked good questions, took notes and laughed at the right times.  We talked about the seven steps to transforming the  culture of a company, a call center or a team.  I am working on a white-paper on the subject and will make it available here soon.



Here are a couple of additional highlights:

  • Patrick Morrissey, Vice President Service and Support Marketing from Salesforce.com gave a great lunch keynote about the impact of social media on the future of call centers.  It was perhaps the best product presentation I have seen in the past 10 years!  He shared their solution, Service Cloud, as the answer to tracking social media information inside their hosted CRM solution.  I have been saying for a while now that social media is the “next” call center channel.  He explained why and educated the industry leaders in the room on the subject.  The amazing part for me was that only about 15% to 20% of the people in the room said they are on Twitter.  Now, I understand that someone may not want to participate personally but I believe call center leadership should be leading the charge in understanding and educating companies about the need to engage.  If a customer can tweet about a bad experience and reach more than a million people (followers) in one 140 character post, the customer service group has to care about it.  Contact Solutions was on hand to teach people how to participate at the official “Tweet-up area” and to give out gift cards for participating (no – I did not win)
  • ICMI is a leader in the call center space and did a great job with the conference.  Mandalay Bay employees were the essence of good service.  It seems the number of attendees continues to decline each year and it is always a topic of conversation as to why – access to information on the internet, webinars, travel budgets, locations?  I don’t know the answer.  But the people that that I met were great.  I had a great conversation with the leader of global support for Apple and the I-phone.  It was enlightening to hear him talk with passion about the call center being a big part of the brand.  I am glad to have the new connection. I also met Tom Vander Well with E Wenger Group, a fellow consultant who specializes in quality programs for call centers.
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  • Las Vegas is an interesting place so there were prime opportunities for people-watching.  If you have been to a conference in one of the resorts there you know that the hotels are HUGE.  I actually counted my steps to from my room to the conference center (yeah I know, weird huh?) but it was so far I had to know.  2456 steps (+ an elevator and two escalators).  I think that is almost a quarter-mile.  Amazing!
  • Congratulations to American Express UK for winning the Global Call Center of the Year Award.  Congrats also to Blue Cross Blues Shield of Massachusetts for being named the runner-up.  They were my sentimental pick since they are a client of mine.  I had the opportunity to work with the leadership team and conduct a one-day seminar several years ago.  I often tell people that they have a call center by which others should be measured.  So, I think 2nd place is a validation – against the hundreds of entries.  The leadership team is amazing!
  • It was great to meet Dustin Hou and Stella Young from ICMI China and learn about the amazing growth of call centers there.  They invited me to speak at their conference in 2010 so that is very exciting!
  • Hot Topic won the Customer Experience Video contest and they did a great job of showcasing their call center.  I met Joy Hussey, their Customer Service Manager and had a great conversation about their culture.  Hope to do a showcase of their success in a future interview and post.  The video is online at ICMI but without a direct link.  Click here for the video page and choose the second one on the list on the right.  The others are good also.  I told Joy it must be cool to work in an environment where the product is a “lifestyle” so defining the culture is perhaps easier to “show” – but, of course, the success is in the details and the “attitude” of the center.  I love the sock-throw – very great example of the “fun” side of the center.  I am not sure how to create a similar visual  culture say in an insurance center?


So that about does it for the update.  Again – great show…  Hope it was worth your time – the 140 characters of Twitter is a much quicker read!

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