SOCAP International


  • SOCAP 2013 Annual Conference

    Posted on: 11/07/2013

    We have received lots of positive feedback about the 2013 SOCAP Annual Conference in Scottsdale Arizona.  I am proud to say that from all accounts, we can confidently call the meeting a success.  As CEO, I have a unique perspective on many different facets of the meeting and especially the community that comes together that makes an event like this a success.

    First and foremost, the SOCAP culture is special.  The sense of community and the deep relationships formed by our members are both authentic and unique.  I am always amazed to see how our how veteran members go to great lengths to welcome and get to know "first timer" attendees.

    Additionally, there are so many communities that have contributed to our success highlighted our annual conference.  First, our Board of Directors, led by our Chair Linnea Johnson, has been steadfast and strategic in guiding our association forward and keeping our volunteers and staff focused on a bright future.  Also, our Education Committee produced a world-class program that managed to keep attendees networking in meeting rooms within an amazing property overflowing with amenities such as pools, golf courses and spas.  Our Automotive Steering Committee produced another focused and intense Automotive Summit that engaged automotive manufacturers in active, productive consumer-focused sharing.  Finally, our 40th Anniversary Working Group provided our community with numerous opportunities for SOCAP members to both reflect on our past accomplishments but also to look ahead to the bright future for customer care.

    Finally, our professional staff team does an excellent job of working together to produce a high- quality event that is both educational and fun for our attendees.  Although we have a small staff at our National Office in Alexandria VA, our team's common commitment to professionalism and SOCAP motivates them to produce outstanding events annually that are both memorable and valuable to our members.  I am proud to work with them and appreciate their effort and talents.

    So, for those of you who joined us in Scottsdale, thanks and see you again in 2014!  We hope that you felt that "stickiness" of our community and that you will be back again and again.  If you didn't, please call me and let me know why not or how we could have improved your experience.

    For everyone, we are working to bring key elements of the content to you and your staff teams.  Through online learning portal, available through our website, we have loaded some of our conference sessions that are available to members at no charge.  Additionally, we will be packaging and delivering key learnings from the event in our e-newsletter, CRM Magazine, via the website and through our Webinar Series.

    Community is the glue that holds our association together and is the key driver that helps us build the profession and your career.  Your investment in this community is critical to your continued membership in our association.  So, as you received your membership renewal invoice, I hope that you will renew immediately and you will also reach out to discuss options to also upgrade your corporate membership to ensure that we continue to engage with more of your colleagues at your organization and grow our community!

  • To Have Power Means To Have Responsibility

    Posted on: 10/09/2013

    I had the absolute privilege to attend the Trumpeter Award Dinner on Tuesday night hosted by the National Consumers League.  NLC, founded in 1899, is an inspiring organization.  They have been fighting the good fight for important causes such as workers' rights, consumers' rights and equal pay for equal work.  Although the organization is well over 100 years old, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Trumpeter Awards Dinner which, of course, made me think about the interesting connection between this celebration and SOCAP's own 40th anniversary.


    Organizations like NCL have been a critical player in important movements in the history of our country, such as the consumer movement which helped create new legislation, practices and accountability which ultimately led to the creation of SOCAP and literally the customer care profession.  I believe that leaders like Florence Kelly, the first general secretary of the NCL (and the namesake of one of the Trumpeter Awards), would be thrilled to see the power of consumers today.  I believe she would be challenging organizations like SOCAP and our members to ensure that the Voice of the Consumer is alive, strong and elevated within companies on every issue.  Ms. Kelly once famously said, "To buy means to have power, to have power means to have responsibility". 

    This responsibility is born by consumers, by customer care executives and by organizations like SOCAP and NCL.  To that end, SOCAP has worked hard to build a partnership with the National Consumers League to ensure that we are living up to Ms. Kelly's challenge of taking our responsibility seriously to consumers.  For example, SOCAP-working through our local chapters and our national members-actively supports NCL's LifeSmarts program which works with young people in grades 6 - 12 to help them learn important skills to better and more educated consumers.  Our members help write questions, volunteer their time, and donate funds to help the LifeSmarts program grow.  As SOCAP's President and CEO, I also serve as a member of the Advisory Board.

    We have also been working with NCL on other programs such as their project protecting consumers from bad players who mean to do them harm, the very opposite of customer care.  Additionally, we have started important dialogue with NCL about the issue of consumer privacy.  Privacy is an important topic for customer care and business, especially as we see the great opportunities to use Big Data to build meaningful, authentic relationships with consumers.  It is through these important partnerships like this that SOCAP can contribute to your internal conversations.   To that end, I invite you to participate with us at our 2013 Annual Conference (October 27-30 in Scottsdale, AZ) where we will convene a panel session with NCL leaders as well as industry representatives from Microsoft and Publishers Clearinghouse to discuss issues around consumer privacy and what we can learn from consumer organizations and industry working together.  This will be the first of many discussions on this important topic and we hope you will join us.

    I am proud of SOCAP's history of supporting customer care experts who are the heart and soul of industry and who bring the voice of the consumer to decision makers.  I am also proud to share a bit of our history with the consumer groups like NCL who have fought to push for the transparency and openness that customer care provides.  As we look to the future, our partnership will ensure that SOCAP members remain at the forefront of pushing our profession and service to customers through listening and engagement.

  • Key Take-Aways from Heartland

    Posted on: 09/13/2013

    The SOCAP Heartland Chapter hosted an exceptional event on September 9 featuring keynote speaker, Cy Wakeman.  The well-attended program included more than one-quarter new and first time members who were engaged and excited about the association and the presentation.

    Wakeman's presentation was centered around her two New York Times Best Selling Books - Realty-Based Rules of the Workplace and Reality-Based Leadership was both a thought provoking keynote speech and a hands-on workshop with practical tools and techniques to build more effective teams and leadership skills.

    I had many personal take-aways.  Here are a few of my favorite:

    •  Leaders inspire employees and engage them in the vision and purpose for the organization.  Be a leader not a manager.  Your job is to inspire not to do the work of your employees.  Employees should always leave your office with more follow-up items then the leader.


    • An Employees Value = current performance score + future potential score - (emotional expense x3); employees.  An employee's emotional expense is a huge drain on the organization in many ways, and active coaching needs to identify employees with high emotional expenses.



    • Change is inevitable in every organization.  Employees and organizations that are resistant to change are those that are not prepared for change.   Leaders have to build a workforce that is prepared to perform in changing environments.


    • Empathy is a key skill to develop in managing teams and sympathy is not!  Understand, learn and practice the differences between sympathy and empathy!


    • Leadership is a skill that needs to be practiced.  Practice with your most engaged employees first and be open about the process with your employees and yourself.

    I am looking forward  to reading Cy's books and practicing these techniques!  For more information on Cy Wakeman and resources, visit

  • This Week in Customer Care (Week of September 9, 2013)

    Posted on: 09/08/2013

    This Week in Customer Care is a blog series by SOCAP International that takes a look at the week’s upcoming events and opportunities for customer care professionals. You’ll find out about professional development opportunities taking place across the country and get the inside scoop on new publications and research on the consumer affairs industry.


    As summer wraps up, we hope you have enjoyed summer vacations and can return to work well rested and rejuvenated.  You will need your energy because SOCAP is gearing up for an exciting fall! From the launch of SOCAP’s online training course to an impressive lineup of fall chapter events, the education and networking opportunities are plentiful.

    Check out the exciting upcoming chapter events:

    September 10
    SOCAP Heartland Chapter Presents Cy Wakeman

    The Heartland chapter will host keynote speaker Cy Wakeman who will share a formula for measuring worth by quantifying  current performance, future potential, and the biggest detractor, your emotional expense.  Join chapter members and SOCAP President and CEO Matthew D'Uva for a day of learning and networking.

    September 12
    SOCAP Northwest Regional Chapter Celebrates SOCAP’s 40th Anniversary Aboard Yacht Empress!

    Join the Northwest Chapter, SOCAP President and CEO Matthew D'Uva and sponsors to celebrate SOCAP's 40th anniversary and experience the 34th America's Cup Finals aboard Yacht Empress! On board, you will hear from Barefoot founders and authors Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey as they share traits of successful leadership.

    September 13
    SOCAP Minnesota Chapter Event and Call Center Tour at AVEDA Headquarters
    The Minnesota chapter and guests will tour Aveda's call center and learn how the Aveda Customer Relations team lives their mission and applies customer service best practices to build the organization's brand.

    SOCAP Greater Philadelphia & NY Metro Chapters – Interactive Learning and Networking Event!
    Join the SOCAP Greater Philadelphia and New York Metro Chapters for an interactive panel discussion with Frank Eliason, Citibank's Director of Global Social Media and social strategy leaders on the current state of social media.  Hear predictions on why and how companies are shifting away from social toward the next "big thing.

    SOCAP Online Course: Core Contact Center Management for Customer Care Professionals
    SOCAP launched its first online course designed to help your team learn the concepts and processes most important in the contact center environment.   This five module course provides you with budget friendly training for your employees at a pace and schedule that works both for you and your staff.  Check out Module I: Managing to the Numbers available now!

    We will continue to keep you posted on more upcoming events and news for customer care professionals!

  • This Week in Customer Care (Week of June 17, 2013)

    Posted on: 06/17/2013

    This Week in Customer Care is a weekly blog series by SOCAP International that takes a look at the week’s upcoming events and opportunities for customer care professionals. You’ll find out about professional development opportunities taking place across the country and get the inside scoop on new publications and research on the consumer affairs industry. Finally, take a look back at last week’s most popular customer care news stories and catch up on any articles you may have missed.

    You’ll find SOCAPers and customer care leaders all over the globe this week!  The annual Data Reporting Workshop, which brings together data analysts, data reporters, and anyone who works with data, kicks off tomorrow in Chicago and will explore new insights, case studies, and real-world examples of data reporting best practices.  There are a number of chapter events taking place this week, too, with more details below.  Finally, customer care executives from more than a dozen brands embark on the inaugural SOCAP China Study Trip to meet with industry and government experts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.  Lots going on!

    Here’s what’s happening this week:

    • Monday, January 17
      SOCAP Heartland Chapter Networking and Information Happy Hour!
      Join us for a fun networking opportunity to meet the chapter board, fellow members and people interested in learning more about SOCAP. This is an informal event where you can ask questions about upcoming events and the benefits of a SOCAP membership.
    • Tuesday, June 18 – Wednesday, June 19
      Data Reporting Workshop | Chicago, IL
      Hosted by SOCAP's Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Community, the Data Reporting Workshop is the annual must-attend event for any customer care professional responsible for collecting, interpreting, analyzing or reporting data to improve business operations.
    • Thursday, June 20
      New York Metro Chapter Meeting
      You provided feedback and the Board has created a unique day of Best Practices sharing. Get answers to your questions about how your colleagues:

      • Keep the Frontline at the Forefront - What's new in Training and Coaching
      • Report KPIs – Distribution and Frequency
      • Handle Customer Inquiries from "A to W" - Everything from Allergens to 'Where to Buy' and 10 topics in between.

    The meeting will be interactive, including break out discussions, allowing you to decide what's relevant for you. This is a great opportunity for your Supervisors and Managers to participate and learn from SOCAP members. We've reduced the price so you can bring your whole team.

    Special thanks to Pinnacle Foods Group for hosting at their Parsippany, NJ office, named the World's Coolest Office by Inc. Magazine (inc-magazine-names-pinnacle-foods-office-cool-office).

     Top Stories in Customer Care