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!

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 Fraud.org 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.

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 Realitybasedleadership.com

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 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

A new study produced by SOCAP International, the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, and COPC Inc. finds companies both using multiple channels through which they interact with customers and taking steps to amplify the Voice of the Customer (VOC) within their organizations.

June 13, 2013
For more information, contact:
Marjorie Bynum, Vice President of Education and Communications
marjorie@socap.org | (703) 910-2473 

Alexandria, VA— A new study produced by SOCAP International, the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, and COPC Inc. finds companies both using multiple channels through which they interact with customers and taking steps to amplify the Voice of the Customer (VOC) within their organizations.

“In conducting this survey, we wanted to explore if and how America’s brand name companies are achieving multichannel integration with respect to customer care and whether this process is changing over time,” said SOCAP President and CEO Matthew D’Uva.  “From a voice of the customer perspective, we wanted to know more about how this data is managed and measured and whether it is having an impact on customer service operations.  The survey generated valuable insights on both topic areas.”

Key among survey findings:

  • Over half of the respondents use at least 6 channels, which were evenly distributed between real-time interactions and deferred transactions;
  • Over 84% of respondents offer self-service options to their customer base, a 20 percent increase over 2011 survey results;
  • Over half of the organizations indicate they are using multiple channels for self-service options. The most common option is interactive voice response;
  • Almost 70 percent of organizations report that they have changed how they do business with their customers as a result of mobile technology. The biggest change, over 50%, report an increase in mobile phone apps and integrated websites;
  • The ownership of multichannel integration is shared between Consumer Affairs (45%) and Marketing (42%) with Customer Care being the third most utilized support group;
  • There has been little change from 2011 to 2013 in the integration of tools across channels. This suggests that as multichannel integration increased the need to integrate the data did not follow suit;
  • Over 95% of respondent have at least a moderate interest in the VoC to make changes to improve products or services;
  • 76% of organizations use “Post Sales” to interact with customers and approximately 70% of respondents use customer satisfaction in some capacity to measure the overall customer experience;
  • Only about 17% of respondent indicate they are measuring and tracking any ROI on VoC initiatives.

“With the proliferation of customer service channels through social media, contact centers and other sources and the need to differentiate brands through improved customer experience, performance benchmarking information becomes more important than ever before,” said COPC Chairman and Founder Cliff Moore.  “We are pleased to work with SOCAP in helping its members to achieve outstanding customer care.”

The web-based survey, conducted between March-May 2013 is based on the responses of 46 companies representing six industries.  Consumer packaged goods companies constituted 52% of respondents.

The summary findings of the study are available at https://scpelc.egnyte.com/h-s/20130627/591f0e91f8444b43.

About SOCAP International

Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia and formed in 1973, SOCAP is composed of over 2,000 best-in-class customer care executives and professionals from over 100 brand name companies throughout the U.S. and Canada.  SOCAP is a member-driven organization committed to promoting customer care and engagement as competitive advantages.  SOCAP members include vice presidents, directors, and managers of customer care and consumer affairs as well as hundreds of business partners, individuals representing the solution provider community.  SOCAP member benefits include education and training, peer-to-peer networking, relationship building, partnership programs, conferences and seminars, news and information, research, and more.

Visit SOCAP on the web at www.socap.org.

About COPC Inc.

Since 1996, COPC Inc. has provided consulting services and training to help companies improve revenue, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction in operations that support the customer experience. COPC Inc.’s main offering is performance improvement services for customer contact centers, including in-house and outsourced, as well as vendor management organizations. The foundation of all COPC Inc. work is the COPC® Family of Standards, a collection of the most prestigious and rigorous performance management systems for the customer contact industry. COPC Inc. is privately held with headquarters in Winter Park, Florida, U.S., and with operations in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, India and Japan.

Visit COPC Inc. on the web at www.copc.com.

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.

Summer is in full swing!  We’re heading in to the season of vacations and (hopefully) some much needed and deserved relaxation!  This week, we’re getting ready for the Data Reporting Workshop and China Study Trip, both of which take place over the coming weeks.  While there aren’t any chapter events this week, you can still stay on top of current events with these popular stories from the Customer Care News Brief:

We’ll be back next week with lots of great events for customer care professionals, have a great week!

 

SOCAP Chapter leaders are thinking strategically and participating in discussions that will ensure the success of SOCAP’s chapters for years to come. Through the work of the Chapter Relations Committee and its commitment to the “Evolving Chapter”, SOCAP chapters are working to better understand and meet the needs of the members as well as align with the strategic goals of SOCAP. Here are just a few ways that SOCAP chapters are “thinking strategically” and working to better serve you:

Inviting member feedback – By asking the right questions and getting your feedback, chapters are able to provide the programming that best meets your needs. Start thinking about the issues that keep you awake at night and be sure to participate in providing feedback to your chapter leadership. Sounds like more surveys, but that is how we improve!

Aligning with SOCAP’s education plan – SOCAP International utilizes the talents of members on the Education and Member Services Committees to determine programming for the Symposium, Annual Conference, Webinars, and SOCAP’s other educational offerings. Topics from these discussions are shared with chapters to use in programming. Chapters also have a role in sharing useful information and topics gleaned through its local membership with the national committees. Working together, chapters and the national committees are able to provide programming in a variety of ways, such as chapter events, webinars and sessions at national conferences.

Engagement Activities –Chapters create valuable connections and make networking easy. Through creative initiatives such as the SOCAP Membership Engagement Drive and chapter participation on mySOCAP, SOCAP Chapters are going above and beyond to maximize your member experience. Don’t be surprised if you receive a friendly phone call or email to check in from a chapter leader.

Chapters are evolving, providing even more value and input on the future direction of the association. Envision a future in which each SOCAP Chapter understands and meets the needs of its members, aligned with SOCAP in a way that makes it easier for chapter leaders to act and think strategically – that future is upon us! Chapters are hard at work embracing this concept and having fun all rowing in the same direction.

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.

Welcome back from the long Memorial Day weekend!  While this week may be short, there are still plenty of opportunities for customer care professionals to network and hear from some great speakers!  In addition to the chapter events in Florida and Chicago, the SOCAP Canada Community is hosting a special half-day event on Social Media and the Customer Contact Center, which is sure to be a can’t-miss event.  Finally, there are some important deadlines coming up this week, so don’t miss them!

Thursday, May 30 – Canada Community Spring Event
Social Media in the Customer Contact Center

Social Media has become a completive necessity for business leaders, who are starting to realize its full potential regarding customer experience. Pierre Marc Jasmin of Services Triad will review the top line results of a benchmarking study of corporate social media usage to understand the evolution and impart of social media over the past years. Presentations by Nygel Weishar of Scotiabank, Josée Bourdage of Fido Solutions and Jean-François of L’Oréal Canada will cover industry trends in the banking and telecom sectors as well as the customer experience through various channels. Finally, a panel discussion moderated by Matt Wheatly of Social Herd will examine effective methods of social media integration in the call center.

Thursday, May 30 – Chicago Chapter’s Lunch and Learn at the Ole Ballpark
“The Intersection of Technology and Consumer Experience”

One of the most difficult challenges for business leaders is keeping up with current trends and new technologies. At the same time, truly understanding our customer’s persona and their desired means of doing business with us can be difficult. Mapping this Customer Journey and preparing our strategy to meet our customers cross channel expectations is vital to maintaining a competitive edge. Join us for some great industry insight, fun customer experience stories and a roadmap for building & optimizing your customer experience strategy.

Friday, May 31 – Florida Chapter Event: “Knowledge Management – Move From Firefighting to Prevention”
Featuring John Goodman, Vice Chairman, Customer Care Measurement & Consulting

John Goodman will present the latest trends in contact prevention, empowerment and knowledge management that produce improvements your CFO and CMO will appreciate. Learn about proactive education, Psychic Pizza, Flexible solution spaces and how Big Data and Knowledge Management can make your life easier.


Top Stories in Customer Care

Each week, we’ll take a look back at the most-clicked stories in the Customer Care News Brief.


Important Deadlines

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.

The last full work week before the Memorial Day holiday features two great events in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Northwest Regional chapters.  SOCAP’s local chapters have made huge progress in putting together engaging and educational events for customer care professionals, with prominent speakers and subject matter experts.  This weel is also the last week to reserve a hotel room for the upcoming Data Reporting Workshop at the group rate!

Wednesday, May 22 – Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter Event
Featuring Elizabeth McCormick, former Black Hawk helicopter pilot and best-selling author

You’ll meet up with other Dallas/Fort Worth-area leaders in consumer affairs for a lunch-and-learn event featuring best-selling author and inspirational speaker, Elizabeth McCormick.  This event is hosted at the Daisy Brand corporate office in Dallas and promises to leave you energized, entertained, and empowered!

Thursday, May 23 – Northwest Regional Chapter Portland Spring Event
A Contact Center Tour hosted by Ruby Receptionists

At the Northwest Regional Chapter’s spring Portland event, you’ll network with and meet customer care professionals from the Portland area before embarking on a tour of the Ruby Receptionists contact center.  Wrap up your day with some tips on how to get the most out of the the SOCAP website, and prize drawings!


Top Stories in Customer Care


Ways to Get Engaged With the Profession

Are you looking to become more involved with the customer care industry?  SOCAP offers many opportunities for you to share your knowledge, experiences, and best practices OR to highlight your company.  Here are some upcoming opportunities:

  • PRESENT a webinar to SOCAP’s community of more than 2,000 customer care professionals!  You can submit a webinar proposal at any time.
  • SPEAK at the upcoming Annual Conference! SOCAP’s Annual conference convenes more than 500 of your peers in consumer affairs, representing over 150 brands.
  • ADVERTISE in CRM Magazine, the leading publication for the customer care profession.  Distributed by mail and online to over 2,500 industry professionals, CRM Magazine is the premier thought-leadership publication for customer relationship experts.