Published: February 03, 2014 | Comments
We have all read about the virtues of attending at least a couple of professional conferences and seminars annually. The rationale generally includes references to your specific industry’s “changing practices” and “evolving technologies.” Personally, I’ve often found truly tangible benefits of attendance to be as elusive as the terms used in conference sales brochures. However even during less than stellar conferences (of which there are many), time away from my contact center’s daily challenges provides opportunity to gain perspective and often develop longer-term strategies. Removing myself even for only a couple of days may prove critically valuable. Though with this the only potential return, it’s still difficult to justify investing in a conference, especially as a small contact center owner.
Thankfully at last year’s ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference (formerly ACCE), I found time to think strategically but also experienced true ROI. I will attend again this year for one principal reason: networking.
True. The title of the blog post is the “Top 3 Reasons Every Contact Center Should Attend Contact Center Expo and Conference.” So below are three concrete benefits within the context of networking:
1. Network to grow your business.
ICMI breakfast roundtable discussions provide an informal opportunity to meet industry leaders. Last year, I met a woman from the northwest who was doing similar work to ours. We exchanged business cards, linked online, and scheduled a follow-up. Today, we have monthly check-in calls but more importantly, our breakfast meeting led directly to my call center securing multiple Spanish outbound campaigns with a major trade association.
2. Network to address business challenges.
After a tremendously informative workshop on hosted solutions led by an accomplished consultant, I approached the presenter and she graciously offered her time to address our contact center’s specific needs. Since that meeting, we’ve exchanged emails and she has spoken via conference call with our frontline staff. She took time to listen to their challenges before providing hosted solution advice and continues to provide ongoing consulting. Did I mention she does this without compensation?
3. Network to meet your next mentor.
Through ICMI networking, I met co-owners of a Midwest contact center who partnered with us to successfully launch our business. They provided consulting and were responsible for securing our first inbound campaign. I consider them mentors and friends but they also experienced benefits themselves: “While working with Oprima-1, we witnessed from start-up to proof of concept as students improved their English while achieving client goals. Our experience with the Oprima-1 team, as they thought and worked outside the traditional phone center solutions box, was enlightening.”
In San Diego in May, I look forward to more networking opportunities and hopefully to meeting you there. Unless of course you don’t see value in networking or happen to be a competing BPO outsourcer. If either is the case, you should probably skip it.