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SOCAP International 2013 Annual Conference
October 27 – 30, Scottsdale, Arizona

In a land of timeless natural wonders—the breathtaking Arizona mountain views, the amazing red rock formations of Sedona, and the simple beauty of the Scottsdale desert — over 500 conference attendees met for the 2013 SOCAP International Annual Conference.

These steadfast wonders of nature were the backdrop of the conference setting, and while hundreds of years old, they were viewed by eyes peering through new technologies—iPads, digital cameras, iPhones, and various other smart devices. Here in lies the juxtaposition of the old smacking into the new—old views being captured in very new ways, much like good old fashioned customer service being executed across new and diverse channels.

It’s not the old versus the new so much as it is the “old complemented by the new”—at least this was my sudden realization while reviewing my notes from the keynote and breakout sessions. Almost every conference speaker touched on how to deliver solid customer service across many new markets and in a relevant manner—via global contact centers and through social and digital media.

The first keynote speaker and futurist, Mike Walsh, emphasized the next generation’s expectation of business engagement and how customer care will be shaped by a childhood of disruptive technology and a mobile-centric worldview. He invited us to consider something our customers do today that drive us crazy but could be a lead to a new innovation.

In the “Why Globalize Your Contact Centers” breakout session, panelists from Church & Dwight, Unilever, and Danone shared their companies’ strategies for providing customer care globally. One strategy is to shadow the employees from other countries and learn their culture before incorporating existing processes into the global contact center. The goal is to make sure the processes translate well across cultures. If the procedures don’t fit culturally, the outcome of a good customer experience will not be achieved.

Keynote speaker and global economics expert, Euvin Naidoo, discussed knowing your customer and using big data effectively. When you take the time to really know who your customer is, then you can develop the right value proposition and stick to it. You can then use big data appropriately. You want to get big data right so that it serves the customer, empowers the frontline, and feeds the profits.

Nature is surprising in that it can inform the senses and the mind, and trigger new ideas. Having a conference in such a great setting enhances the experience because new ideas can develop into full-blown strategies and solutions with the help of like-minded attendees. The 2013 SOCAP International Annual Conference marked the 40th anniversary of SOCAP, and it effectively delivered foundational customer service principles, but did so by wrapping them in 21st-Century packaging!

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