By: The CPI Team On: November 06, 2013 In: Contact Center Comments: 0

It’s Day 1 of the full Contact Center Association Conference in Phoenix, AZ (  After yesterday’s site tours, today the sessions began in earnest.  If you saw yesterday’s blog post, you know that during the site tours, I was struck by the emphasis on the people of the contact centers…and the fact that I was reminded of very good, foundational practices that we as contact center leaders need to be doing in our businesses.

Today, I expected to be focused on technology.  However, I’m finding more good sessions focused on people.  The difference today is that we’re talking about both our agents and our customers.  And, we’re adding technology to the mix!  Here are a couple of highlights from today’s sessions.

First, you really better be “doing” social in your contact center.  Your customers are doing social and you need your contact center responding to those customers where they’re talking to you.  One presenter said, “Social media is the canary in the coal mine.”  It used to be that one customer (happy or unhappy) talked to one agent.  Now, one customer talks to many people through social media.  Your customers and competitors are watching that “conversation.”  You need to be participating – listening and talking to the signals that are being sent to your company via social media.

Second, there was a great emphasis in sessions today on building relationships.  We need to be building relationships with our agents.  I don’t just mean having a supervisor monitor five calls a month – I mean getting to know your agents as people.  What is their vision for their career?  Today’s generation of agents wants to be involved in continuous improvement.  Do you give them the opportunity to be engaged with that improvement?  This was a great topic that I could type about for a long time.  If you want to talk more about this, send me an email!

We also need to be building relationships with our customers.  Today’s customer expects us to have technology to handle “regular” transactions.  When the customer reaches out to an agent, generally, they’ve got a more complex problem.  The customer wants a problem-solving agent available who “sees” the customer as a human being.  They want someone empathetic who connects with them.  As leaders in our centers, we have to help agents gain skills to handle this customer.  Again, I could type for a long time about this.  I guess I’ll have to write more blog posts when I get back to the office! 

One other thing – yes, the weather is beautiful here in Phoenix.  Today’s vendor expo was held outside under clear, blue skies.  While I was walking through – look who I ran into – our friends from Interactive Intelligence!