LIVE from Miami: Monday at ICCE



Gina Scanlon
10/25/2010

The 1st annual International Contact Center Expo and Conference kicks off today (aka ICCE) at the Doral Golf Resort in Miami. And though I’m sure you’ve just teleported to a perfectly groomed green surrounded by palm trees and sweet summer sunshine, have no fear, I’ll help you get a better picture of what’s actually going on here, because like you, I won’t be golfing.

Today’s events are centered around two workshops led by SWBC Contact Center Service Manager Darryl Flores, and Telesphere Solutions President Elias Benaim, along with a panel discussion, moderated by Darryl, which includes the lovely Judith Rott, all the way from Germany, representing TUI (A podcast with Judith was recorded so stay tuned for that). A podcast of the panel will become available on Call Center IQ shortly.

A lot of interesting characters have arrived already, though keynote speeches won’t commence until tomorrow.

I caught up with Aaron Taylor, Senior Director of Customer Care from MyLife.com. Aaron is probably annoyed by the constant comparison he gets regarding his astute resemblance to Sideways actor Paul Giamatti, but in good spirits nonetheless, taking autographs and ready for an interview. Frequent columnist Greg Levin will be around later tonight, snagging people’s complimentary drink cards no doubt, in the bar.

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I spoke with Kevin Singleton, president of Center Core, a company that specializes in call center furniture. Center Core uses a cockpit design, circa 1984, to build more manageable and space effective work stations for call center reps.

Singleton said their biggest clients at the moment are big wig government operations the US Treasury and US Army, who are both going through quite the interior transformation. "People are always talking about government spending in a negative light," Singleton said, but the truth is that hardly any of that money has gone into call center operations, or as he put it "the every day taxpayer." Center Core will be giving a seat drop presentation at the Expo.

Flores ran a group activity at the beginning of his workshop on customer satisfaction and loyalty to get a conversation going. The audience mainly seemed to be concerned with topics ‘cost per call’ and ‘revenue per call.’ He asked the question, "Is satisfaction and loyalty different?" Audience answered yes. Flores explained that he’s not a big fan of AHT because he would rather spend more time with a customer in attempts to solve their problem more efficiently.

In what seems like an age old debate about AHT, Flores and participants discussed its purpose. Is it to take as many calls as possible? And for what period of time? Does AHT allow for FCR to go up? One member of the audience brought up the subject of ‘accountability’ in terms of not only who the rep has on the phone, but who’s waiting in line to be served.

Next door, Elias was trying to make IT a more animated subject matter, which we all know is a challenge. He discussed the challenges of finding the right technologies to fit your company when technology is constantly changing and improving.

Concerns and goals from the audience included web based system development, new technologies education, integrating social media in the work place, integrating ICR, investing in multiple agents and call center and campaign optimization.

Ann Daniele with BI Pharmecuticals is at this workshop to build her call center into a global center and wanted to attend the workshop to learn more about the IT side of things; what and what not to implement, etc.

Overall, looks like AHT and social media will be the big players this year. Stay posted for more ICCE coverage, which will end Wednesday.