The SOCAP Spring Symposium 23 was held in Columbus, Ohio this year and celebrated the theme ‘Decades’ mirroring the organization’s 50 th birthday. The widespread forum serves as a go-to consumer service and customer care platform in the U.S. It provides collaborative opportunities for industry leaders, businesses, professionals, and members of SOCAP International alike. Attendees converge to explore topics revolving around customer care challenges and exchange ideas on tested solutions to advance in their respective fields.

The week-long event featured insightful sessions, networking opportunities, preparties, scavenger hunts, and golf tournaments, keeping participants engaged. The Symposium brought together CX professionals from various industries, including Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Healthcare, Financial Services, Insurance, Contact Center, Customer Relations, Travel and Hospitality, and more.

Premier BPO’s COO also contributed by sharing exclusive insights as a featured panel speaker. During the session “Best Practices in Offshore Outsourcing”, the offshoring expert discussed the value of culture match, account management, and data security. Also touching upon common misconceptions regarding offshoring, the Premier BPO COO presented interesting viewpoints alongside other panelists.

Key Takeaways of SOCAP Spring Symposium 23

Symposium speakers shared knowledge and insights playing a pivotal role in shaping the customer and consumer care future. Here are some highlights from select breakout sessions, including our takeaways from the event: –

Best Practices in Offshore Outsourcing – Dave Shapiro (Premier BPO), Joe Mazur (Michelin N.A.), Christine Galuski (Conagra Brands), Lidia Lopez (Blue Diamond Growers), Jill DeLong (the Hershey Company)

  • Importance of consultative expertise and personalization in solutions; demonstration through case studies
  • Offshore contact centers often show lower absenteeism and attrition with higher engagement and quality, compared to US-based centers facing labor crises
  • Offshore agents appreciate branded materials and trinkets during client visits. It promotes culture and the agents greatly appreciate the small gestures. (Shirts, pens, pads of paper, etc.)

  • Involvement of leadership in account management creates value-added partnerships for clients, fostering strong relationships and mutual success
  • Revolutionizing the traditional approach to outsourcing by adopting innovative strategies and leveraging technology advancements
  • Dispelling common misconceptions about offshoring and data security to ensure informed decision-making
  • Selecting the right offshore partner, emphasizing effective communication and collaboration, and prioritizing quality and timely delivery
  • Essential do’s and don’ts of offshoring and near-shoring to avoid common pitfalls and maximize benefits
  • Value propositions and best practices for achieving success in offshore outsourcing, considering factors such as cost savings, scalability, and expertise
  • Driving efficient and positive customer care through optimized offshore outsourcing strategies, focusing on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Watch the video of the panel session here:

Dave Shapiro Shares Insights as Brands Explore Topic of Offshoring at SOCAP

Employee Experience as a New Competitive Differentiator – Lisa Oswald & Matt Ziegler (Travelzoo), Alex Phillips (Calusa Marketing), Amy Bouthilet (Alta Resources), Madeleine Friend (Centrical), Scott Dishon (Bread Financial), Purina.

  • CARE framework: Communicate, Assess, Resolve, and Execute, emphasizing the importance of effective communication and proactive problem-solving in enhancing the employee experience

  • Implementing regular coaching conversations, beyond just addressing mistakes, with a minimum frequency of once a week to support employee growth and development
  • Creating a goal book for both coaches and coachees to foster clarity, accountability, and alignment towards individual and organizational objectives
  • Recognizing that it typically takes around 18 months for agents to gain confidence and comfort in their roles after implementation, highlighting the importance of ongoing support and patience
  • Average Handle Times (AHT) and attrition rates decrease automatically; a result of positive outcomes of improving the employee experience
  • Customer acquisition and retention are both the practice and the solution; emphasizing the interdependence between employee engagement and delivering excellent customer service
  • Providing turn-key incentive gifts results in a significant increase in agent productivity by 44% and a corresponding decrease in attrition by 33%, demonstrating the effectiveness of rewards and recognition programs in motivating employees.
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How to Humanize Al (Digital) – David SAX, (Premiere Response)

  • Recognizing that Al (Artificial Intelligence) typically delivers information devoid of emotions, highlighting the need to humanize AI to enhance the overall human experience
  • Emphasizing the significance of emotions being the primary driver of our learning process

You’re Only as Good as the Relationships You Keep – Jon Harris, (Conagra Brands)

  • Corporate communication and reputation management are crucial aspects to consider in maintaining strong relationships.
  • ‘NO coach’ serves as a valuable resource, assisting individuals in confidently saying no when necessary, fostering healthy boundaries in relationships.
  • 12 tips for establishing your personal brand:

    1. Carefully consider where you appear and how you present yourself to align with your personal brand
    2. Actively build and nurture relationships, recognizing their importance in shaping your personal brand
    3. Remain authentic and consistent, stay true to yourself and maintain a genuine image
    4. Invest in continuous learning and development to enhance your skills and knowledge
    5. Be strategic and proactive, embracing calculated risks and seizing opportunities
    6. Place importance on effective communication skills, being mindful of how you interact and convey messages
    7. Volunteer and dedicate time to philanthropy, contributing to causes and communities that resonate with your personal brand
    8. Maintain focus on the big picture, aligning your actions with your long-term goals and values
    9. Foster diversity and inclusion, appreciating and embracing different perspectives and backgrounds.
    10. Demonstrate patience and persistence, understanding that building relationships and establishing your personal brand takes time
    11. Evaluate and measure the success of your network, periodically assessing the value and impact of your connections
    12. Embrace enjoyment and inspiration, finding motivation in your relationships and personal brand journey

Training Is The New Normal – Mike Boudreau (Eli Lily), Kathy Glackin (Crayola)

  • During a “Blizzard” year, when attrition tends to be higher at the start of the year, temporary agents are employed until more permanent ones are recruited, ensuring consistent staffing levels.

  • Implementing a point system for Work-From-Home (WFH) training, where agents earn points for answering questions correctly, is effective. Incentivizing active participation and knowledge retention during training works.

  • Previously, only on-site agents were present before the COVID 19 pandemic.

  • WFH agents faced challenges in handling more complex questions and issues, both inbound and outbound, involving CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and telephony platforms.

  • Distributed teams underwent hands-on training for a duration of 4-6 weeks, providing comprehensive and immersive learning experiences.
  • New agents are paired with seasoned agents, enabling them to listen and enter information while the seasoned agents address and answer questions.
  • Mock calls are conducted for a week, requiring agents to pass the training and obtain certification before handling live customer interactions.
  • Training materials are updated based on information uncovered during calibrations, ensuring continuous improvement and alignment with evolving requirements.
  • The utilization of Camtasia, an all-in-one screen recorder and video editing solution, significantly enhances the creation and utilization of training materials, improving effectiveness and efficiency.
  • An onboarding plan is designed to meet ever-changing customer expectations, including the practice of onboarding agents on email beforehand to enhance their confidence in providing accurate answers.
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How Valuable is the Contact Center: Building a Good Case for Investment in Consumer Affairs – John Goodman, (Customer Care Measurement & Consulting)

  • Highlighting the value of contact centers by emphasizing the impact of delighted customers: 74% of delighted customers spread positive word of mouth to an average of 61 people
  • A delighted customer is also willing to pay 46% more for a product
  • Long lVR options frustrate customers, so it is important to provide efficient and user friendly self-service options.
  • Encourage customers to voice their complaints as it presents an opportunity to address issues, find new ways to retain customers, and generate additional revenue.

How to leverage the power of consumer reviews to deliver actionable insights: John Goodman, (Customer Care Measurement & Consulting)

  • Leverage various channels such as email, surveys, SMS, and social media to gather consumer reviews and feedback.
  • Understand the dynamics of consumer review ecosystems and their influence on shaping brand reputation and customer perceptions.
  • Implement open review platforms like Yelp, where customers can freely share their opinions and experiences.
  • Utilize invitation-only verified buyers to ensure the authenticity and credibility of reviews.
  • Recognize the limitations of review aggregators, understanding that not all reviews may be accurate or equally reliable.
  • Acknowledge that review content plays a significant role in driving digital growth and shaping consumer purchasing decisions.
  • Address common consumer questions related to reviews, such as the benefits they receive for sharing their feedback and the return on time invested.
  • Treat reviews and feedback strategically, recognizing their potential to provide actionable insights for improving products, services, and overall customer experience.

Consumer Legislation Game Show – Michele Shuster (MacMurray & Shuster)

  • Conducting consumer protection and regulatory compliance audits to ensure adherence to legal requirements and protect consumer rights.
  • Highlighting the proposed privacy laws by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for some states, aiming to simplify the process for consumers to “click to cancel” services and enhance privacy protections.
  • Addressing the concerns related to recurring subscriptions and memberships, providing an opportunity for consumers to voice their comments and concerns regarding these practices.

Unlocking WFO Potential to Improve Contact Center Performance – Shane A. Jackson, (Knowledge Rhino)

  • Workforce optimization (WFO) plays a crucial role in enhancing employee efficiency within contact centers, extending beyond agent staffing and scheduling considerations.
  • Leveraging non-staffing elements like training, coaching, and quality management contributes to improved customer experience and enhanced agent performance.
  • Providing practical tips for implementing data reporting, speech analytics, and workforce optimization techniques; streamlines contact center operations, leading to cost savings and improved efficiency.

The event brought together CX professionals from various industries, fostering cross-sector learning, educational sessions, and networking opportunities. Symposium topics covered included workforce optimization, customer care, brand partnerships, data analysis, quality assurance, offshore outsourcing, customer care, training and development, creating exceptional customer experiences, and more.

To read our insights from the previous SOCAP symposium, read our 2022 recap blog.

Premier BPO is a long-standing member and sponsor of SOCAP International. Look out for updates on our social media for the next symposium. We’ll bring more event insights and post-event takeaways from the Fall Symposium in September.

About Premier BPO

Premier BPO seeks to be a seamless extension of its client’s business processes by immersing in the client’s values and objectives. The company offers co-sourcing, a hybrid approach to outsourcing, across multiple functions for several industries through its global sites. Premier BPO has invested in security and compliance processes including obtaining PCI certification and has been serving clients since 2003.

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