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ACCE Insider: The Top 5 Things I Learned at ACCE 2013

It is hard to believe that ACCE celebrated its 10th Anniversary this year. I’ve had the honor of speaking nine of those ten years. ICMI is an obvious industry leader—and this year was one of the best ever.
ICMI asked me to share the top 5 things I learned this year, so here’s my list.
1.  The contact center and customer experience industry has a great new buzz in 2013. 

While speaking at one of the “expert” sessions on the tradeshow floor, someone asked me, “What is the number one thing you will take away from ACCE this year?” 

As I listened to the noise of so many people in the same room—all seeking to better solve customer problems—my answer was easy. My top takeaway is the continued buzz of our industry. Whether I was checking out new vendors with “perfect solutions” or listening to global leaders of service and sales centers in conversation, it was amazing to see the potential for the future. The show floor was packed with excitement about cloud technology and new employee/customer engagement applications. I just don’t see our industry running out of the “next big thing.” Just think about the progression over the 10 years since the first show: email, quality management, chat, speech analytics, workforce management, CRM, CEM, cloud computing….and the list will go on!
2.    Social media really does matter! 

While at the show, a colleague reminded me that in 2006 we first spoke about the future impact of social media on the contact center world. I remember, in a room with more than 75 people, only two companies were already engaged with social. In my session on Friday, more than 60% of those attending said their company was already engaged with their customers via social. How cool is that? It is not too late for your company to do the same. With the right technology like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and the amazing connectivity to the Service Cloud, you can listen and respond in a whole new way. One thing I heard over and over this week was that every company needs a social strategy. Bluewolf had the opportunity to help some great companies and their brands develop “Social Playbooks.” If you want more info on how you can do the same, I would love to talk with you. You can reach me via Twitter @bobfurniss.
3.    I believe creating and living from lists (e.g. ‘to do’ or ‘how to’) can have a major impact on your success.

If you missed the session with Dayna Steele, you missed a great opportunity to set a new course for your life—and for your career—based on her lists. I love this excerpt from her book “101 Ways to Rock Your World:”

  • Wake up early
  • Review the news
  • Send something to someone who can give you money for your product or service
  • Contact an old acquaintance you have not spoken with in a while
  • Write a handwritten note to someone

I particularly LOVE that last one. I’ve said for many years that a personal handwritten note is a powerful way to show you really care. Think of the impact when an agent who returns home from a long day in the contact center, goes to the mailbox, and finds a handwritten note of thanks from their supervisor. I bet that piece of paper gets a lot of discussion with friends and family. Try it! Oh, and I  just signed up for Dayna’s daily success email here.

4.     The Cloud matters to the contact center

I had the honor of speaking in three sessions this year. My Wednesday session was on Best Practices in the Cloud. You can find the presentation and resources here [http://www.bluewolf.com/landingpages/bob-acce]. If your company is looking to move to the cloud for CRM applications, you will find great information and checklists for what you need to do to ensure your contact center moves in the right direction. Knowledge management, governance, contact centers and social media are all discussed in the content. The Cloud matters to the contact center because most IT organizations are moving this direction. It matters to you because it will impact how you access data and manage reporting. It will also impact other aspects of your job that will either make your life—and the life of your agents—easier or harder, depending on a successful implementation plan.
5.     Technology companies continue to offer great tools to improve processes and people.

The biggest industry buzzwords for 2013 seem to be ‘employee engagement’ and ‘customer engagement.’ Tools like improved knowledge management, employee collaboration, customer engagement, social service, quality management and desktop management systems have improved year over year. The tradeshow floor was full of opportunities, but I believe the real opportunity is to share advice from the expert breakout sessions. 

It is always easy to take notes and make plans for change. But, then you get back into the daily fray and fall back into the same comfortable rut. Consider taking a moment and writing down three to five things that you would like to implement in the next month. Post the list and give yourself a score in 30 days. And if you have the time, tweet me at @bobfurniss and let me know what worked for you. I would love to follow up with a blog about your success stories from 2013.