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Professional Workshops

2016 Symposium Areas of Focus


Learn from brand thought leaders:


Professional Workshops 

  • Show Your Customers You Care: How Crayola Writes Email, Chat, and Social Media That Builds Rapport
    Kristina Lomax, Consumer Affairs Social Media Manager, Crayola; Leslie O’Flahavan, Principal, E-WRITE

    In this session, Crayola’s Kristina Lomax and E-WRITE’s Leslie O’Flahavan will take participants through Crayola’s efforts to make its written customer service—email, chat, and social media—more personal, empathetic, and connected. Kristina Lomax will explain how Crayola’s contact center is staffed for multichannel written service. She will also discuss the goals she and her management team have for improving the quality of written service, making it less scripted, and ensuring agents use a consistent, engaged tone in all written channels.

    Leslie O’Flahavan will describe the customized writing training she provided for Crayola’s agents and share the writing practices agents learned. She will provide writing training strategies attendees can use with their team that will help them engage with each customer individually and build connection with their brands.

  • Data Accuracy - Dealing with the Dirty Little Secret
    Priscilla Sutherland, Director of Consumer Affairs, Butterball; John Stieger, CMO, Wilke Global

    Consumer affairs at its best delights consumers, generates profitable relationships, and identifies actionable consumer insights.  But generating accurate, detailed data while serving consumers is a challenge we all face.  And data errors, combined with varying sample sizes, can lead to conclusions that may not be accurate.  We will explore the different components of the challenge and share some solutions, along with others the audience is willing to share!

    This session will address the following key questions:
    • How can we effectively frame the tensions that might lead to erroneous recommendations?
    • How can we quantify the difference that coding errors can make?
    • What concrete steps can we take to address the challenge of data accuracy?
    • Participants will walk away with a framework for evaluating the issue in their operations as well as 2-5 processes or approaches they can bring to their team.
  • Look Who's Calling (And Texting)
    Jon Cox, Consumer Affairs Manager, WellPet; Mike Vandenbos, Entrepreneur in Residence, ZipWhip; Sam Espinosa, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Next Caller; Frank Pettinato, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Telerx

    Today cell phones outnumber landlines by a factor of 8:1. In 10 years, that number is expected to grow to around 20:1. As businesses are compelled to adapt, the implications of this shift impact nearly every area of customer service and brand marketing, creating new challenges. This session will explore several areas where brands can stay ahead of the curve and turn these challenges into opportunities. Participants will learn multifaceted approaches for how brands can interact with their customers in an evolving mobile landscape.

  • Social Media Customer Care: Life in the Trenches with Orbitz Worldwide
    Lisa Diehl, Manager of Customer Relations, Orbitz Worldwide; Paul Johns, CMO, Conversocial

    Today, one of the greatest challenges facing your contact center is managing the flow of customer service inquiries over social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The social customer is also more demanding: 71% desire faster customer service and 32.8% claim their complaints are ignored over social.

    In this session, discover how to overcome these challenges through lessons learned from Lisa Diehl, Customer Relations and Social Media Engagement Manager at Orbitz Worldwide, and Paul Johns, social customer service expert and CMO at Conversocial. They will cover themes such as:
    • Going beyond simply responding to customers on social media to provide full issue resolution;
    • Being more proactive, rather than reactive, in your social customer service program;
    • Using data and insights from social media to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty;
    • Trends in the technologies available to help automate, streamline, measure, and drive positive results from social media interactions.

    You will leave this session with the knowledge, insight and motivation to jumpstart your social customer care program to really drive results, whether you are starting from scratch or reinvigorating your current program.

  • You Are Herearrow
    Colleen Miller, Senior Manager of Consumer Relations, Bayer Healthcare; Deborah Sommers, Manager of Consumer Advocacy, Blue Diamond Growers; Marie Shubin, Senior Director of Consumer & Product Insights, E&J Gallo Winery; Linda Grover, Consumer Affairs Supervisor, McCormick Canada; Tara Bischoff, Senior Manager of Consumer Relations, Pinnacle Foods; Peggy Lundquist, Director of Consumer Connections, WhiteWave Foods Company  

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a roadmap for the future? To gain some reassurance that you are leading your team from here along a path to success? 

    The SOCAP Customer Care Framework is a new free tool to help you assess, monitor and plan the roadmap for your customer care organization.  This panel will share  their experiences as they blazed the trail,  from “You Are Here” by implementing the Framework and leveraging key learnings to plan their routes to becoming strategic assets of  their companies.  Prepare to go deep into the woods, hear stories from the trail, ask questions, share ideas and plan your journey with panelists Colleen Miller of Bayer; Deborah Sommers of  Blue Diamond Growers; Marie Shubin of E. & J. Gallo Winery; Linda Grover of McCormick Canada; Tara Bischoff of Pinnacle Foods; and Peggy Lundquist of WhiteWave Foods.

  • The Contact Center of the Future, Part 4
    Lorraine Avery, Senior Vice President/Strategic Director of Bank Operations, Associated Bank; Marie Shubin, Senior Director of Consumer Relations, E&J Gallo Winery; Beth Ziff, Vice President of Operations, Premiere Response; Andy Begnoche, Director of Operations, Holdcom

    Join us in the Relationship Hub (formerly the Contact Center) as we explore virtual agents powered by artificial intelligence, “Built-In” service courtesy of the Internet of Things and the art of pairing agents with services.  In this session, E&J Gallo’s Marie Shubin, Associated Bank's Lorraine Avery and Premiere Response’s Beth Ziff along with Holdcom’s Andy Begnoche will work through a case study discussing how service delivery is redefined by technology.  Learn how to prepare your center for the evolving customer journey of the future.
  • One Size Does Not Fit All: The Power of Personalizing Your Customer Experience
    Fabio Serafini, Senior Director of Customer Service, Fandango; Shadley Davidson, Senior Manager of Customer Experience, 24-7 Intouch

    It is no surprise that an improvement in customer experience can easily translate into hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental annual revenues. One key component to making a lasting, positive impression on your customers is through the personalization of the consumer experience. Customers are constantly contacted by brands, wanting to gather as much information as they possibly can to build out customer profiles.

    The more effectively a company uses customer information to understand and acknowledge 
    both the differences and similarities, the easier it will be to provide a truly personalized, highly customized experience, through relevant channels, in ways that drive stronger, more profitable relationships. However, if nothing is done with this data, all you’re left with is an annoyed customer and a detached experience.

    This session will take a fresh perspective on the customer journey and will identify key areas where companies can accelerate their ability to deliver innovative personalized customer experiences that will ensure immediate engagement and empowered agents. 

    Session leaders will demonstrate how having a successful personalized customer engagement strategy with solution diversity, a well-equipped workforce, sophisticated data and a guest experience road map drives strong, more profitable relationships, better serving customers by giving them exactly what they want, when and how they want it.
  • Completing the SOCAP Customer Engagement Framework
    Cindy Grimm, Chief Customer Experience Officer, CX Solutions; Carla Barker, Senior Account Manager, CX Solutions

    Do you keep meaning to take the SOCAP Customer Engagement Framework Online Assessment and other priorities end up taking its place? This year’s SOCAP Symposium offers a great opportunity to complete your organization’s assessment and start reaping the benefits from the Framework’s readout. During this interactive session, you will have the opportunity to begin your organization’s assessment, share best practices as it pertains to each of the 4 Framework categories (Strategy, People, Process and Technology), take part in deeper Framework discussions and receive guidance and tips to ensure your organization’s Framework readout is as complete and comprehensive as possible.

    Participants will leave this session with portions of their assessment completed and prepared for sharing with internal and external partners for their input/participation. In addition, the discussion and best practice sharing will aid in addressing some of the more common questions that arise as participants complete the assessment and provide a greater understanding of how the Framework readout will benefit their organization moving forward.

  • Customer Experience Strategy in the Contact Center
    Jennifer White, Senior Manager of Customer Support, Nautilus; Bob Azman, Chief Experience Officer, Avtex Consulting Solutions

    Developing a comprehensive all-encompassing customer experience (CX) strategy is important for every organization but when that’s not possible, some organizations turn to their contact centers to “fix what’s wrong with the customer experience”. While contact centers typically aren’t the cause of customer dissatisfaction – it’s imperative that people, process and tools are aligned to an effective service strategy. This session focuses on creating and executing effective CX strategies in the contact center, including developing an effective service recovery process, omni-channel challenges, call management basics and determining the “best” metrics to measure your success. This is a highly interactive session with audience participation to enhance learning.

    This session will cover these key takeaways:

    1. How to implement an effective CX strategy when only involving the contact center and not the entire organization.
    2. Learn the elements of an effective service recovery process
    3. Aligning people, process and tools to deliver the identified strategy. 

    Additionally, attendees will have specific, usable techniques to take back to their organizations and begin improving their service experience immediately. A design framework will be shared that can help organizations create and execute a service strategy. A case study involving Nautilus will be used to exemplify the concepts. This is not a back-to-basics session but rather a reminder as to how important the contact center basics are to an effective CX strategy.

  • Recall Management: Understanding Best Practices and Identifying Your Risks
    Vicky Cherne, Manager of Consumer Affairs, Land O'Lakes; Jeff Radecki, Customer Experience Design Manager, Best Buy; Amy Philpott, Vice President of Crisis Services, Watson Green LLC; Richard Wegener, Counsel, Faegre Baker Daniels; Ryan Gooley, Recall Consultant, Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS

    Last year, industries regulated by the FDA, USDA, and CPSC saw more than 2,000 recalls. Companies that are unprepared for the eventuality of a recall face enormous potential for brand damage and financial losses. With new FSMA rules going into effect and increasing fines being issued by the CPSC, it is more important than ever for food and consumer product manufacturers to evaluate their recall plans.

    This session will help organizations better understand the recall process, learn about current best practices within the industry, evaluate their risks, assess their current resources and identify gaps in their recall plans.

    The major objectives of the session will be to:

    • Explore current industry best practices for managing recalls
    • Understand potential challenges companies may experience when faced with a recall and how to best avoid the financial and brand damages that could result from them
    • Assess internal resources and evaluate the need for external partners during a crisis
  • Consumer Goods and the Connected Home
    Alton Martin, Co-Founder, Trusource Labs

    We all hear about the Connected Home, but what about the products INSIDE the home?  What is the impact on the consumer goods industry when refrigerators and cabinets know the contents, usage patterns, and cost of everything in them?  This day is quickly approaching, and there is a war among technology enabled companies to be the Hub of the Home.  How can consumer goods companies and retailers carve out their own space in the Internet of Things to build awareness, grow market share, and increase revenue?

    Join Alton Martin, co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Trusource Labs, as he shares experiences from Nest, Dropbox, Canary, and Philips that will give you a greater depth of understanding of the Connected Home.
    • Learn how connected devices could impact the consumption and use of non-connected items.
    • Understand how connected devices in the home can influence and impact consumers both in inside and OUTSIDE the home.
    • Explore strategies to help you adapt your product / service to support the connected home ecosystem

    Hear real-world examples of industry trends in the Connected Home, and the strategies used to address them, that will help you evaluate processes and people to assure they’ll meet your customer’s expectations.

  • How A College Student Workforce Solves Common Contact Center Challenges and Contributes To A Greater Mission
    Tanya Gantzer, Senior Vice President of Client, University & Marketing Development, Education at Work; Kathy Browning, Director of Mission Growth, Education at Work

    The ever-changing demands of customers’ needs and expectations must be met with innovative solutions to ensure continued engagement in an omni-channel environment. Data supports year-over-year shifts to contact pattern trends that yield a greater need for part-time scheduling to stay competitive in service delivery without blowing the budget. This poses a challenge on many fronts to mainstream full-time operations. The purpose of our presentation is to present an innovative approach to meeting that very need.

    Our workshop will cover the unique operating model that Education at Work developed to create a workforce of part-time college students. The audience will learn practical tips to recruit, train, nurture and retain a college student workforce, with detailed coverage of the ins and outs of workforce management.

    The key session objectives are to:

    • Understand and outline the crisis facing our millennial generation and have an appreciation of the implications if nothing changes from a debt and skill gap perspective.
    • Identify unique strategies that enable success when considering a part-time college student labor pool.
    • Learn that the contact center industry has an opportunity to be part of the solution to drive better outcomes for our employees of the future.
  • Fixing the Disconnect: How Virgin America Improved Customer Service Email by Writing in the Company’s Brand Voice
    Douglas Stolls, Manager of Guest Relations, Virgin America; Leslie O’Flahavan, Principal, E-Write

    In this session, Virgin America’s Douglas Stoll and E-WRITE’s Leslie O’Flahavan will take participants through the steps Virgin America has taken to help its Guest Relations team write emails to customers that are efficient, friendly, and engaged. Because the Virgin brand is one of the world’s most recognized brands, Virgin America’s passengers expect communication from the airline to be hip and upbeat. However, before Virgin and E-WRITE began working together, Virgin’s emails to customers could be described as typical or corporate. 
    Douglas Stolls will explain why Virgin wanted to change its email communication style, how Virgin worked with E-WRITE and its corporate communications team to do so, and how Virgin’s agents improved their writing skills. Leslie O’Flahavan will explain the topics E-WRITE covered in the customized email writing workshops it provided for Virgin. Douglas and Leslie will also share how E-WRITE rewrote Virgin’s template library. They will show before-and-after samples and share customers’ feedback on the new writing style.
  • Gamification: A Better Way to Work
    Nate Brown, Underwriters Laboratories; Neal Topf, Callzilla

    With scores of new research in support, it is clear that Gamification is no passing trend. This session is for those looking to harness the power of the game to engage employees and transfer information effectively. It is far more then badges and high scores on a website;   it's finding creative ways to turn everyday work into something better. We present everything from the underpinning philosophy, the systems that make it come alive, and dozens of ways to implement Gamification in your environment. Come and learn the techniques that have helped both Callzilla and Underwriter's Laboratories reduce agent turnover, generate favorable ROI, metrics, tips and takeaways to be able to scale the mountain of engagement! 

  • Hiring an All-Star Team: Finding the Right Fits to Optimize Company Performance
    LeAnne Crocker, Global Director of Reservation Services, Hyatt; Eric Jenkins, COO,

    It’s easy to list a job opening, but employers face several challenges that cause hiring delays, resource strain, and drops in team performance if the right practices aren’t in place. Team members from and Hyatt will share the strategies and tools they’ve used to improve recruitment, hiring, training and engagement processes for employees and show session participants easy ways to improve on those processes to attract, hire and keep an all-star team, no matter how small or widespread an organization.

  • How to Impact Your Customers by Speaking on Their Behalf
    Michele Watson, Vice President of Customer Care,

    Many companies struggle with effective ways to ensure that the voices of their customers are heard and acted on. In this advanced session, learn about some interesting ways that has consolidated the customer’s voice to make a positive impact on the company using influence and toolset.’s Vice President of Customer Care, Michele Watson, will share insights on some innovative pilot programs the company has launched, including one that provided a heat map and drill-down capability into recorded contacts. Also, learn more about how tracks Voice of the Customer. Michele will also address the level of influence and negotiation needed at the executive level to support this area.

SOCAP's 2016 Symposium Cancellation Policy

Refunds for cancellations must be made in writing (via email to to the SOCAP National Office. A processing fee of $250 will be charged on refunds received on or before March 21, 2016. No cancellations or refunds after March 21, 2016. Substitutions will be gladly accepted at no charge until March 21, 2016. A $175 fee will be charged on any substitutions made after March 21, 2016. Registration transfers to future meetings will not be accepted.
Photography Notice
Be aware that by participating in SOCAP’s Symposium, you are automatically authorizing the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (hereinafter “SOCAP”) and its employees, agents and assigns to use your name, photograph, voice or other likeness for purposes related to the mission of SOCAP, including but not limited to publicity, marketing, websites, other electronic forms of media, and promotion of SOCAP and its various programs.
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