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Next Level Customer Service Blog

News, tips, and trends to help you reach that next level of customer service.

Entries in ICMI (2)


Three terrific thought leader panels from ACCE 2013

ICMI's ACCE 2013 conference for call center professionals was a customer service extravaganza and a terrific learning experience (see my re-cap here). 

One of the best features of the conference was the Thought Leaders Discussion Table. It consisted of a rotating group of panelists who engaged in fifteen minute, freeform discussions on a variety of call center topics ranging from technology to social media. 

I was fortunate enough to moderate the first three panels:

Panel #1
Panelists included Tiffany LaReau of Human Numbers, Todd Hixon of Intuit, and Bob Furniss of Bluewolf. They kicked things off right with a great discussion on social media.


Click here if you can't see the video.

Panel #2
Panelists included Katy Wild of Freeman, Ben Paganelli of VIA Unlimited, and Lou Paduto of Satori Software. Incidentally, Lou and I will be co-facilitating a webinar on reducing call center stress on Thursday, June 20.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Panel #3
Panelists included Clare Wenham of New Voice Media, Tristan Barnum of Telcentris, Ruben Moffett of TantaComm, and Dave Bethers of TCN. And yes, astute readers will recognized that a story from Clare Wenham helped inspire my post on how companies are training customers to complain via Twitter.

Click here if you can't see the video.


2012 Call Center Demo & Conference Re-cap

I attended the 2012 Call Center Demo & Conference last week in Dallas, Texas. If you are like me, you find it hard to keep track of all the brilliant ideas, inspiring speakers, and helpful contacts you come across at a conference like this. And, it's sometimes just too difficult to choose between going to one session or another! 

With this in mind, I put together a re-cap of some of the conference highlights. 

Conference Overview
If you didn't attend, you may want to start by familiarizing yourself with the conference:

Day 1 Site Tours
Day 1 of the conference featured site tours to several call centers in the Dallas area. (See tour schedule.) This was a travel day for me, so I missed out, but participants were definitely abuzz about their experiences. The tour of the NOVO 1 call center generated a lot of conversation in particular:

Day 2 Keynote: Ann Tardy
Ann Tardy opened Day 2 with an inspiring keynote, Rousing the Remarkable: The Secret To Unleashing Moxie in a Mediocre World. Ann's credentials:

There were plenty of quotes from Ann's presentation on Twitter:

  • @MartaKelsey: "To influence your team members you must understand them and how they tick"
  • @sstealey: "People love to make a difference! Leaders are key to influencing their success." Ann Tardy is giving us those keys!
  • @bobfurniss: "Give people permission to fail. Fear of failure is a barrier to success but a powerful opportunity to learn."
  • @hawgbald: "Reject "lookism"... making assumptions about people by their appearance."
  • @chammarb: Ann Tardy tells us, "Declare a battle cry." What's YOUR battle cry?

Day 3 Keynote: Garrison Wynn
Garrison Wynn kicked off Day 3 with a humorous and energetic keynote, Mastering the Art of Influence. Garrison's credentials:

Once again, Twitter made it easy to collect inspiring and helpful quotes from Garrison's presentation:

  • @DanielDougherty: "Trust is built on 2 things: compassion and competence."
  • @justinmrobbins: "The #1 thing that people value is feeling valued."
  • @hawgbald: "The leading cause of stress is knowing exactly what you need to be doing and doing something else."

Day 3: The Journey to a Customer-focused Culture
I facilitated a session on day three that discussed ways to build a customer-focused culture in your call center. The participants were wonderfully involved and energized, making it a fun session for me. Here are some resources from the session in case you missed it:

More Learning
Going to a conference (or missing out on one) can sometimes generate a strong desire to keep learning about a particular topic. Here's another opportunity to gain more knowledge:

Webinar: Three Hidden Causes of Call Center Service Failures
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 7; 10am - 11am Pacific (1pm - 2pm Eastern)
Cost: Free thanks to our sponsor, Voiance Language Services

Click here to register

If you attended the conference, what was your biggest take-away?

Jeff Toister is the author of Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It. The book is scheduled to be released on November 1.

You can learn more about the book at or pre-order a copy on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or Powell's Books.