SOCAP International


  • Customer Analytics: Driving the Next Wave of Customer Engagement

    Posted on: 12/13/2013

    by Lauren Ziskie

    The customer care industry has a huge opportunity to capitalize on Big Data by applying analytics to customer interaction data in order to gather customer insights. These insights will allow service professionals to deliver a personalized experience at the time of engagement and ultimately build loyalty and grow brand evangelists.

    Decoding the Voice of the Customer

    The biggest mistake an organization will make is choosing to collect and store enormous amounts of data from customer interactions, and fail to do nothing with it. That data is a company's competitive advantage if leveraged correctly. New ideas, product enhancements, quality or warranty issues, operational efficiencies, sales and marketing insights, and legal risks are all outcomes that can be uncovered and used to develop strategic business plans. The reasons companies don't tap into their goldmine is that the massive amounts of data tends to be overwhelming to filter; usually stored in multiple places; rarely integrated; hard to get at for security purposes; and require a lot of IT time and resources to access it which all tend to be very costly. Despite all of these challenges, it remains critical that consumer affairs professionals do their best to use this data to personalize the conversations.

    Let's take a look at examples of how service professionals can apply and use these tools for each channel they service.

    • Anticipatory Customer Service

    Micah Solomon, the author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service describes the concept of anticipatory customer service where "companies predict customer needs and proactively address them". The customer care industry has officially entered an era where customer service can no longer be viewed as reactionary, meaning if the customer has a problem they call us. Instead, service professionals have to start being more proactive with their engagements by identifying a customer's need before they even realize they have one. Anticipating a customer's needs gives customer service an opportunity to provide a WOW experience by fixing the problem before it happens. This is where predictive analytics technology plays a big role. By analyzing historical customer interaction data, predictive models can be used to help uncover specific customer trends and proactively queue up the next engagement. For example, let's say there is a specific loyal customer who calls in every Thursday at 2:30pm to place his same order of five widgets. Wouldn't it be a WOW moment for that customer if instead customer service called him on Thursday at 2:20pm and ask if he wanted to place his usual order of five widgets? This type of proactive service would deepen relationships because customers would feel like brands really know and care about their business. No longer does customer service need to be reactionary. Reactionary service is not going to hold today's less loyal, ready to jump consumer.

    •  Personality-based Routing

    Most consumer affairs professionals have implemented skills-based routing, where service teams will route calls according to agent skill level such as language, license, training experience, etc. Our industry has now evolved to go beyond skills. There's a new way to route callers based on customer-agent personality matching. The philosophy behind the new technology is in life there are some people that you will instantly connect with when introduced for the first time, and then there are others that you want to run the other way. The goal of an engagement center is to match the right agent to the right customer, so the chances of having a WOW experience significantly increase. The definition of "right" is determined by communication styles, personality mapping, and behavioral characteristics.

    Leading companies are building predictive models to analyze their historical conversions to identify customer personalities. Then, with the help of routing technology, service centers are able to route each caller to the best suited advocate every time they call in. The end result is an increase in customer loyalty, rapport, evangelism, and most importantly lower customer attrition.

    •  Silence & Emotion Detection

    When it comes to monitoring the quality of phone calls, service professionals can leverage speech analytics technology to detect silence, emotion and even fraud. When there is a long period of silence on a phone call, many times that is a red flag for a system or process failure. For example, maybe the representative's computer is taking a long time to load or maybe the representative wasn't trained well enough on the correct process. Either way, by leveraging speech analytics technology you can detect these periods of silence and discover whether they are happening on every call or just a few. Next, you can leverage speech analytics to detect high emotion in a customer's voice. Most of the time, a customer will start off a conversation with customer care in a low, monotone voice. If bad service or policies are being communicated, then the level of voice will become amplified and the speech analytics technology will detect the loud tone and alert a supervisor. Lastly, many institutions are forced to verify the consumer before providing service. Speech analytics technology will tell you if that consumer is who they say they are, by matching their voice to the record on file.

    Consumers are starting to expect a level of personalization at every step of their customer experience journey. As Generation Y and the Millennials continue to grow up with options available at their fingertips, loyalty is going to become a lot a harder to maintain. This proves to customer care professionals, that customer service should no longer be viewed as cost, but instead as an asset. Customers are the lifeline of business, and organization need to invest in that asset. Provide customers with an amazing, off-the-charts, WOW customer experience and you will earn their loyalty and more important, their brand evangelism.


    Ziskie_Lauren_headshotWritten by Lauren Ziskie, Customer Engagement Officer at Dialogue Marketing. Founded in 1977, Dialogue is focused on customer engagement services that create remarkable experiences between brands and consumers. By combining proprietary technology with a passionate, innovative culture, Dialogue enhances each stage of the customer life-cycle. The company has been recognized by Inc. Magazine, Crain's Detroit and Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine as one of America's fastest growing private companies.  To learn more or ask a question, feel free to follow her on Twitter (@LaurenZiskie), call 800.523.5867, or visit


  • A Closer Look Inside: A Review and Reminder of What Matters

    Posted on: 12/11/2013

    by James Cammareri

    In addition to development in the practical elements of the role that will be specific to the organization, the following soft skills have been the most prevalent in the organization for which I've worked when looking to develop the competencies of their team leaders:

    Leadership skills - the ability to delegate, affirm and adjust performance, providing direction, leading courageously, influencing others, fostering teamwork, motivating others, working with human resource professionals to manage any agent sickness absence and persistent poor performance.  Be able to motivate and inspire agents through an effective and consistent leadership style and make communications with the team effective for cascading information and generating ideas.

    Organizational Knowledge - time and self-management, planning and organization, managing conflict, personal effectiveness, setting and meeting goals, targets and timescales, know the business, use financial data, and use technical and functional expertise.

    Communication Skills  - speaking effectively, foster open communication, listen to others, deliver presentations, prepare written communications running effective meetings, networking, working across teams and departments, connection with the wider organizations and the vision, mission and purpose and the role of the contact center in the achievement of deliverables.

    In all cases, any leadership development needs to be delivered in an interactive way, utilizing principles of accelerated learning. In order for any learning to be effectively transferred to the job it should be followed-up with effective coaching, support and opportunities to practice.  In the case of the team leader, this is usually best done by the contact center manager/director, training professionals and with good peer group support.



    James Cammareri is Vice President of Business Development at Knoah Solutions, responsible for new client acquisition, supporting client program implementations and client relationship management in the BPO Industry.

    James has 24 years of experience within the call center industry holding positions at SPI Global as VP of Business Development, and at Alorica (formerly PRC) as a Client Services Director.  His career has noted emphasis in wireless, IT and telecommunications industries. 

    James and his team have built strong client relationships with a philosophy of mutual business success through focus on Employee Retention, Client Satisfaction, and Economic Success.

  • NY Metro and Philadelphia Chapters Unite for Interactive Event Discussing Social Media and Customer Care

    Posted on: 11/13/2013

    More than 80 members from the New York Metro and Philadelphia SOCAP chapters enjoyed lunch, conversation, and lively discussion about Social Media at the inaugural co-sponsored event held in Princeton NJ on September 13, 2013. Frank Eliason, Director of Social Strategies at Citi gave an inspiring presentation about his experience building social networking strategies to enhance the customer experience - and what has worked (and not) for him during his tenure with Comcast and Citi. Following the presentation, social strategy leaders Augie Ray, a popular speaker and author, Valeria Maltoni and Marc Monseau, co-founder of the Mint Collective, led a panel discussion. Each panelist, brought a unique point of view to the table and engaged the audience with real-world stories, applications of social media, and questions for one another.

    Key Takeways from this event include:

    • Talking at your customer about yourself won't work.
    • Listen to the "chatter" about your company to do a better job of keeping clients happy and positive.

    A lively back and forth between the panel and the audience ran the gamut from members challenging some of the points made and creating a healthy dialogue for the group about real-world applications of social media strategy to solve business communication problems.  Overall, the co-sponsorship of the two chapters led to many new business connections, a healthy attendance, interesting program and very successful afternoon. It's very likely that we can look forward to more the New York Metro and Philadelphia SOCAP chapters combined!

  • 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.