SOCAP International

Editor's Letter

What does innovation mean to you as a customer care professional? What does it mean for your company or organization?

What does innovation mean to you as a customer care professional? What does it mean for your company or organization? I found an interesting definition from BusinessDictionary.com: “the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value.”

When we hear the word innovation, many of us think in terms of technology and digital tools like messaging apps, video chat and mobile. And while technology is a major driver for advancing new products and services, innovation isn’t limited to what’s happening in the tech sector. This is particularly true for customer care.

Take “bleeding edge” technology such as artificial intelligence. Two authors focus on how it’s transforming industries and companies across the board, and what we do in particular in “The AI Revolution” by Rashed Haq of Sapient Consulting and “AI, RPA and Customer Support: Striking the Right Balance” by Phil Friedman of Computer Generated Solutions. Interestingly, both are keen to point out that AI isn’t there to replace humans but to better assist them and free them from repetitive tasks. “It takes the right balance between technology-driven support and qualified call center representatives to create a truly efficient customer support operation that ensures customer satisfaction,” says Friedman. Nate Edwards of Sweetwater Sound echoes that sentiment, in “Which Comes First—the Car or the Driver?”

And technology shouldn’t scare you, or anyone, off. Adding things like chatbots or messenger apps doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition; it can be done incrementally as Shellie Vornhagen of Astute Solutions demonstrates in “3 Tech Trends to Put on Your Customer Engagement Radar.” Plus, in “3 Ways to Use Emojis to Drive Customer Satisfaction,” Jessica Hyland at Teckst has a case stud highlighting how the simple addition of emojis can transform how customers perceive text responses from customer care.

Innovation isn’t just about new technology. It can help us better leverage “old” technology we use every day. Andrew Begnoché of Holdcom shows us how advances in transcription of voice calls can give us untold power in “The Future of the Contact Center Can Be Heard.” And while Big Data isn’t exactly old, Frank Pettinato of C3i Solutions offers a primer on why companies are making a mistake by using it just at the end of the customer journey in “The Real-Time Data Advantage.”

The challenge for companies is to keep up with consumer expectations—they want things faster, simpler and easier! So I’d like to invite you to take innovation in your company a step—or leap—further by attending this year’s Annual Conference, Oct. 22-25 in San Diego at The Del Coronado. The focus will be “Moving at Speed of Innovation.” Tamara Kleinberg of GoToLaunchStreet.com, one of our keynote speakers, will demonstrate how all of us can be—and should be—innovators. Read her thoughts in the SOCAP Spotlight with “Frontline Innovation” … and I’ll see you in San Diego!

Marjorie Bynum
Marjorie Bynum, CAE
Managing Editor