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What Surprised Me Most About ICMI's Contact Center Expo and Conference

After working in the contact center industry for more than a quarter of a century, and participating in various trade shows and conferences either as an attendee or an exhibitor for 15 of those years, I didn’t think the May 4-7 ICMI Contact Center Expo & Conference would hold much in the way of surprises.

But I was wrong.

First, a disclaimer. In all those years of attending hundreds of industry events, this was my first experience with an ICMI-sponsored event.

Based on the attendees and the conversations that ensued, it won’t be my last.

My company, Corvisa, was among the more than 70 exhibitors on the show floor. Over the course of the four-day event, we talked with hundreds of people. What made this show different was the fact that almost everyone we spoke with was a key stakeholder who had keen insights and very specific questions they wanted answered. These folks were no tire-kickers; they are the people driving the bus (i.e., decision-makers).

While the context of the questions varied based on if their respective organizations’ size, industry and communications needs, the quality of the conversations was consistent. Rather than a 10-minute overview, we had deep discussions that lasted more than an hour. And not only did they want to talk about the software, they wanted to see it in action and test it for themselves.

More often than not, we spoke with teams of individuals who have been charged not only with their company’s vetting process, but also with making the final decision. Hence, the titles and responsibilities of those we spoke with ranged from VP of operations to contact center director. The team approach to a trade show made for rich discussions that looked at the software from various angles. In fact, such an approach is exactly what I recommend to those companies I consult with – make sure you have key stakeholders from various parts of your organization on your decision-making team.

In terms of topics covered, many of the conversations revolved around the topic of unified communications. No surprises there. Astute decision-makers understand that the agent experience provides the basis for the customer experience. Hence, many questions concerning technology were often framed with, “How can I make it easier for the agents to do their jobs which, in turn, will make it easier for customers to interact with us?“

Another key takeaway from the ICMI conversations that aligns with my own business philosophies – Those I spoke with understand that they must first examine their own internal processes and business objectives before investing in new technologies. Many had already given thought to the key questions I always ask first, “What is it you are really trying to achieve? What measure of effectiveness and efficiency are you trying to get to and how will the software enable you to accomplish that?”

Lastly, in terms of topics touched upon, I heard from multiple IT types who were very interested in the ability to easily customize the solution on their own… without having to call the vendor and wait for it to happen. Those conversations underscored that more and more IT professionals are looking for solutions that gives them more control not only in terms of functionality, but also in the timing of the delivery of those functions.

The ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference provided proof positive that when it comes to technology, today’s contact center decision-makers have a higher level of understanding than ever before. It not only makes for great conversation, but also will serve them well as they navigate the vast number of solutions and vendors within the industry.