SOCAP International

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  • 2012 SOCAP Board and Committee Accomplishments

    Posted on: 12/12/2012

    SOCAP International's 2012 Board of Directors and Committees have been working hard this year to deliver great programming and services for the association.

    SOCAP International's 2012 Board of Directors and Committees have been working hard this year to deliver great programming and services for the association.

    Here are highlights of the major achievements:

    Automotive Steering Committee
    Jim Moloney, General Motors-Chair; Rosemary O'Malley, Ford Motor Co.-Board Advisor

    • Hosted 2012 Automotive Summit (October 17-18) during the SOCAP Annual Conference.
    • Provided 4 webinars for SOCAP's Automotive Community members

    Canada Community
    Chris Wallace, 24-7 Intouch-Chair; Kevin Schofield, Unilever-Vice-Chair

    • Two Canadian Specific Webinars
    • Continued successful partnership with Les Affairs on customer care conference in March
    • Successful Annual Conference in Toronto in September at Maple Leaf Foods
    • Successful May Meeting at the Kellogg Company

    Chapter Relations Committee
    Robert Braun, Revelant Technologies-Chair; Adam Oberweiser, The Clorox Company-Vice-Chair; Lorraine Avery, Associated Bank-Board
    Advisor

    • Hosted 57 chapter events in 2012 with more than 1,900 attendees
    • 100% adherence to Chapter Accounting Policies and Procedures
    • Eight chapters won the Chapter Award in Recognition of Excellence (CARE) indicating outstanding effectiveness at the Chapter level

    Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Steering Committee
    Jack Sullivan, Unilever-Chair; Lynn Reilly, Pinnacle Foods-Vice-Chair; Patrice Fehl, The Hershey Company-Board Advisor

    • Completed 2012 Data Reporting Workshop, which resulted in record attendance (10% growth in attendance from 2011)
    • Launched and completed new Complaint Rate Benchmarking Survey for CPG companies in partnership with CCMC
    • Hosted 2 CPG industry sessions at 2012 Symposium and held CPG meeting at 2012 Annual Conference

    Education Committee
    Matt Sanders, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts-Chair; Sandy Jewell, Jarden Consumer Solutions-Vice-Chair; Helen Horsham-Bertels, Starwood Hotels and
    Resorts-Board Advisor

    • Completed 2012 Symposium (May 1-4), including focus on SOCAP's Industry Communities with new Trend Sessions and Skills-Based Workshops, which resulted in a 10% increase in industry brands from 2011
    • Completed two online training courses on New Agent Training (with 24-7 Intouch) and The Personalization of the Customer Experience (with WOMMA)
    • Completed 2012 Annual Conference (October 14-17) which included focus on customer loyalty, consumer diversity, and engagement channels, with more than 100 industry brands

    Executive Community Steering Committee
    Donna Carr, Reckitt Benckiser-Chair; Beverly Randolph-Meeks, The Clorox Company-Vice-Chair; Mike D'Alessandro, Consumers Union-Board
    Advisor

    • Completed two Executive Chat sessions on issues related to the future of customer care
    • Hosted executive sessions at the 2012 Symposium and Annual Conference on The Evolution & Future of Customer Care with active participation from various industry brands

    Member Services Committee
    Andy Begnoche, HOLDCOM-Chair; Shelley Elkins, Guthy-Renker-Vice-Chair; Rita Wood, Network Direct-Board Advisor

    • Completed 8 webinars for SOCAP's 2012 Webinar Series
    • Continued to build content for SOCAP's online library tool, PING Powered by Astute Solutions RealDialog
    • Supported the development of two new surveys on customer loyalty and SOCAP's Member Assessment Survey
    • Completed three issues of CRM Magazine, including online versions of each issue
    • Launched new SEO Task Force to improve SOCAP's web search positioning and increase the organization's overall visibility

    Membership Committee
    Mike Neeson, Andersen Windows-Chair; Heidi Kabbage-Vice-Chair; Patrick O'Shea, TX Utilities-Board Advisor

    • Achieved a 10% increase in membership from 2011
    • Realized a 14% increase in Corporate Member companies
    • Awarded the Membership Achievement Award to 10 chapters for meeting new member and retention goals
    • Developed and launched the SOCAP Job Board with input from Business Partner Advisory Council

    Resource Management Committee
    Marie Shubin, E&J Gallo Wineries-Chair; Tom Asher, SunRun-Audit Chair

    • Evaluated and hired a new audit firm to review SOCAP’s annual financial statements and supported the audit of the association’s 2011 Statements
    • Managed SOCAP Investment Accounts and Investment Advisor
    • Provided oversight to the budget and management of the association’s 2012 financial position

    Business Partner Advisory Council (BPAC) Steering Committee
    Chris Garrity, Astute Solutions-Chair; Angie Puthoff, Stericycle ExpertRECALL-Vice-Chair

    • Assisted in the recruitment of additional Fortune 1000 companies as SOCAP members
    • Worked with Membership Committee to develop and launch the SOCAP Job Board
    • Worked with Member Services Committee to enhance member engagement and learning opportunities
    • Provided content resources for PING, Powered by Astute Solutions RealDialog

    Hospitality, Travel & Tourism Steering Committee
    Anne Seeley, United Airlines-Chair; Helen Horsham-Bertels, Starwood Hotels and Resorts-Board Advisor

    • Produced industry-specific survey and presented results during two industry-specific sessions at the 2012 Symposium
    • Hosted 3 webinars for SOCAP's Hospitality, Travel & Tourism community members

    Bylaws Task Force
    Jeff Hagen, General Mills-Chair

    • Proposed a series of extensive amendments to the SOCAP Bylaws approved by the Board to modernize and streamline SOCAP’s governance structure

    Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
    Iasha Rivers, Macy's-Chair

    • Created a framework and definitions for Diversity and Inclusion within SOCAP
    • Drafted SOCAP’s first Diversity and Inclusion Belief Statement approved by the Board
  • Customer Loyalty and Big Data!

    Posted on: 12/09/2012

    A funny thing happened on the way to understanding customer loyalty.  SOCAP recently surveyed its members on this subject.  Going in, a reasonable hypothesis might be that companies understand what makes their most loyal customers, well, loyal.  Instead, what we found were differences in understanding based on the role the respondent plays in the enterprise.  Executives say they have a greater understanding; senior managers less so.

    A funny thing happened on the way to understanding customer loyalty.  SOCAP recently surveyed its members on this subject.  Going in, a reasonable hypothesis might be that companies understand what makes their most loyal customers, well, loyal.  Instead, what we found were differences in understanding based on the role the respondent plays in the enterprise.  Executives say they have a greater understanding; senior managers less so.

     

    Are those closest to the customer on a day-to-day basis (e.g., senior managers) likely to really know more about them–and therefore more apt to know what they don't know?  Are those higher up in the company likely to have a more commanding view, able to look out over the strategic landscape and understand what truly drives the loyalty relationship?  Either way, why should there be a difference based on professional level or career rank?

    SOCAP's loyalty survey offers plenty of insight, and I will be talking more about the survey results in the months to come.  But two things about this seeming disconnect strike me immediately.

    First, many of the companies in this survey have revenue of over $1 billion.  Big companies sitting on repositories of big data need to use this resource to see the road ahead and to see around corners too.  Customer care executives should be engineering the data analytics train, making sure that the best data generated from customer interactions becomes the business intelligence stoking customer relationships and greater loyalty.  And while everyone in the enterprise doesn't need to know every detail about the customer-certainly rules of privacy, confidentiality and common sense must apply-every manager and perhaps even every employee should know the key components of what makes loyal customers loyal.

    And so point two:  while managing big data is a big challenge, so is the opportunity of getting everyone in the company on the same page.the page marked Customer Loyalty.  Don't just gather and analyze the data.  Don't just hold it in organizational silos.  Share it across divisions and departments.  Use it to foster initiative, innovation and ingenuity.

    Companies with a mission solve their customers' challenges today.  Companies with a vision solve their customers' challenges of tomorrow.  And companies who will be around for the long haul are using their big data resources to navigate the future and appropriately sharing information about customer loyalty with their executives, directors, managers and other employees.

  • SOCAP Great Lakes Chapter Event Wrap-up

    Posted on: 09/20/2012

    SOCAP Chapters are a rich source of exciting and relevant content for our members.  I just returned from Battle Creek, Michigan where I attended the SOCAP Great Lakes Chapter Meeting with presentations from Chrylser, Ford, Kellogg, Nestle Nutrition, ONSTAR and the State of Michigan Department of Treasurery.

    I just had the great pleasure of attending the SOCAP Great Lakes Chapter Meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan at the Kellogg Global Headquarters.   The SOLD OUT Event was fantastic in terms of attendance, content and hospitality provided by the amazing team at Kellogg.

    It was very exciting to also see so many attendees who had just recently attended the wonderful event at United Airlines with the Chicago Chapter the previous day and the SOCAP Canada Community Event last week in Toronto as well as many others who I will be joining next week at the Wisconsin Chapter Meeting at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI or attending today’s event in New York!  I am inspired by and grateful to the many dedicated volunteers that run our chapters across North America.  The content at these meetings are exceptional and attendance and evaluations are showing that members agree!

    Thank you so much to all of you who support our chapters by serving as members of local chapter Boards and especially to those who serve in positions like President, Vice President of Programs and Membership.  Your support and passion for SOCAP contribute in profound ways to the membership value proposition of our association and to the strong sense of community and connection that we all feel to each other as members of SOCAP.

     

    As I mentioned, the program in Michigan was phenomenal with speakers from organizations like Kellogg's, Ford, Chrysler, ONSTAR, Telerx, Nestlé Nutrition and the Michigan State Department of the Treasury.   It was a jam-packed day complete with visits from Tony the Tiger AND Ernie the Keebler Elf (photo attached).

    During the day, I was struck by a few key themes that resonated with me:

    1. Empathy:  We heard a lot about empathy in the contact center.  Training, hiring and measuring empathy in customer contacts.  What an important but challenging discussion!  We discussed whether an individual can be trained to be empathetic, how a person's capacity for empathy can be assessed at hiring and also, how do you protect empathic agents from just plain stress and overload?  The discussion was rich and seems to me to the beginning of a theme that I would like to SOCAP explore further as a topic at a national meeting.  Stay tuned!
    2. Reducing the complexity:   Another theme that struck me was the many ways that companies are reducing complexity to better serve consumers.  One organization discussed how they were able to drastically reduce the number of toll-free numbers made available to consumers creating a more consistent and higher level of customer care.  Another organization discussed how they worked to created consistency among all centers and brands on key contact center metrics.  As a result, they were better positioned to ensure that all business lines and centers where able to produce at higher level through improved benchmarking and a truly shared vision.

    At the end of day, we are all committed to creating meaningful and positive customer experiences.  We want the "transaction" to be successful but we are also working towards making the customer's experience and recollection of the exchange with our brands both memorable and positive.  This is achieved through working and tweaking all aspects of the business from streamlined processes to enhanced metrics to imporved technology in the contact center.  Whether it is the ONSTAR advisor who just experienced a life-threatening accident or a young parent who is calling at 3:00 AM regarding their young child's baby formula, we want to connect them with the help that they need and in a way that creates a meaningful moment for the customer. This is achieved through technology, streamlined complexity and measurement but mostly through an authentic and empathetic represenative on the other side of the phone or screen!

     

  • Membership Recruitment Success: Back to Basics!

    Posted on: 09/14/2012

    The idea of membership recruitment can seem like a task for the adventurous and intrepid. However, Leslie Summer from General Mills, president of SOCAP Minnesota, shares with us that if you keep things simple and stick to the basics, then you too can achieve membership success!

    The idea of membership recruitment can seem like a task for the adventurous and intrepid. However, Leslie Summer from General Mills, president of SOCAP Minnesota, shares with us that if you keep things simple and stick to the basics, then you too can achieve membership success!

    Leslie Summer, SOCAP Minnesota, and SOCAP International welcomed Best Buy as a new member in February 2012. It took a team effort to finally welcome Best Buy, a power player in the region, aboard.  Lisa Jemtrud, Vice President of SOCAP Minnesota volunteered to connect the chatper’s leadership with a contact at Best Buy and asked them to host a chapter event to share their customer care success story.

    While it was not easy to organize and plan the event, Leslie explained that Shannon Buesgens, Program Chair at the time, was diligent in her efforts to connect with Best Buy. It took monthly and weekly communications with the company to stay on top of the new relationship and to create the successful event. It was worth the investment of chapter resources.

    Prior to the event, Leslie spent time with representatives from Best Buy to discuss the details of their upcoming meeting. It was there that she planted the seed about greater participation in SOCAP. She shared with Best Buy executives the value of SOCAP membership and the benefits of SOCAP networking and professional development opportunities. By the time the event took place, Best Buy had become a member and the event's success affirmed their decision.

    For SOCAP Minnesota, the keys to its success involved getting back to the basics of recruiting. They activated the prospect's participation in the chapter. This involved inviting the prospect to host their event. Sharing the value of SOCAP through engagement in the chapter community and SOCAP programing was a win for all involved. Face-to-face interactions and relationship development also contributed to this success. Inviting a prospect to lunch or coffee for face-to-face interaction has value that should not be underestimated.

    SOCAP Minnesota members took the time to develop a relationship with Best Buy as a prospect and this relationship was then enhanced by the value of SOCAP membership and programming! We learn from this example to keep it simple. If we focus on the relationship first, then recruitment success is attainable.

  • Let's Build the SOCAP Team

    Posted on: 09/14/2012

    As customer care professionals, we all experience the same kinds of business challenges. SOCAP is the place to address them because your colleagues are willing to share their knowledge.  In our daily life when we interact with others, we need to be asking, "Are they a member of SOCAP?"  Then it is up to us to sell the organization as a benefit to them personally and professionally.

    By Elizabeth Tanis, Hillshire Brands 

    I always say, "To build a great business, you must first start with a great team within to lay the foundation and build it together." I believe the same holds true for the growth of a great organization like SOCAP in that it is the quality and greatness of the members we acquire that truly leads to the build of a great organization.

    As a long-time member of SOCAP International, I believe that SOCAP is your team.  It's your team of dedicated customer care experts providing professional networking, education and support to members across the globe.  That is why I talk to everybody about SOCAP.  If I get great service on a trip, in a restaurant or in a department store, I frequently ask individuals if they have ever heard of SOCAP.  On the other hand, if I get less- than- stellar service, I ask the same question and then tell them the value of SOCAP-promoting world-class customer care.  I believe that every member has the opportunity to build the SOCAP team and help it to grow. As busy professionals, we spend most of our time doing business where we come into contact with individuals who could benefit from SOCAP.  Recently, I was speaking to a group of people from a large grocery chain and I asked, "Do you belong to SOCAP?"  When they said no, I explained specifically why they should join and the great benefits offered by SOCAP.  This group later joined the association and now these individuals thank me for introducing them to SOCAP and the great benefits received.

    Just think about the SOCAP value to you.  For example, upper management asks about your complaints per million (CPM) rates and your CEO wants to know how we are doing.  With SOCAP, you can benchmark your rates with other brands without revealing specific results and report this information to the CEO.  Without SOCAP, you would just be comparing yourself to previous results.     However, the even greater value is that you are building your own team-a team of colleagues across many different industries to share ideas and best practices.  A team to help you do your job better.   Because of SOCAP, I have a lot of people to talk to because I am in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Industry Community with other major food & beverage brands like Sara Lee.

    SOCAP is so unique because the value and success is driven by people working together to help you become more successful.  Although we do not share proprietary information, we share best practices and successes so that others can be as successful as we are.  After all, we all want to deliver great service that makes our customers say, "WOW!"  Good customer service is not proprietary; it is something we all want to achieve.  We learn so much at the SOCAP conferences and the information is relevant because the members determine the topics and present in the sessions.  I know because I am on the CPG steering committee and I also serve as Vice President of the SOCAP Chicago Chapter.  We listen to our members and ask them what they want at these conferences and chapter events.

    As customer care professionals, we all experience the same kinds of business challenges.   SOCAP is the place to address them because your colleagues are willing to share their knowledge.  In our daily life when we interact with others, we need to be asking, "Are they a member of SOCAP?"  Then it is up to us to sell the organization as a benefit to them personally and professionally.

    Any time I encounter someone who is involved in customer care, I get his or her contact information. When I get back to the office, I send the individual an email and copy the SOCAP National Office for further follow up, which hopefully includes having that person join the association. It is an easy process and one that every member needs to do.   If just 100 more members were as engaged in building membership as I am, we would double our numbers in a short amount of time.  The more members we have, the more people we can collaborate and learn from.

    What is going to get the creative juices flowing?   SOCAP is very special because the members are special.  It is a win-win for everybody to belong to this organization.  So join me in growing our team at SOCAP.