SSPA Best Practices Conference Update: Recognized Innovator Awards and Technology Sessions

I’m excited to bring you an update on our upcoming SSPA Best Practices Conference, to be held May 6-8 in San Diego.  Our theme this year, “Optimizing Support to Deliver Exceptional Customer Value,” is exemplified by incredible content from our members, industry luminaries, and our own SSPA Benchmark Database.  In this update, I’m going to focus on a topic near and dear to my heart:  service and support technology.

I will be giving a keynote address in the opening session entitled, “Battling the Perfect Storm: New Technology Trends in Service and Support.” Service and support organizations are being pummeled by a “perfect storm” of technical complexity, rising interaction volumes, and increased customer expectations. As a result, service levels are declining across the board. But there is a lifeline for organizations caught up in this perfect storm – innovative new technology that helps keep service and support afloat.

There will be a lot of great material at this year’s Best Practice Conference about innovative technologies and services, and here’s a preview:

SSPA Recognized Innovator Awards and Tour
During my keynote, I will present the SSPA Recognized Innovator Awards for Spring 2007, which recognize technological innovations from our SSPA partners. With an eye towards Value-Added Support, our Spring 2007 categories are:

  • Analytics/Business Intelligence.This award will go to a partner whose products include complex analytics to identify key business learnings based on customer information, problem resolution statistics, or other ancillary data.
  • Web 2.0. This award will go to a partner whose solutions leverage the best of Web 2.0 features and/or Web 2.0 infrastructure to meet the ever increasing demands of customers.
  • Offer Management.This award will go to a partner who enables upsell and cross-sell in a variety of customer situations and channels, helping increase customer wallet share and contribute to company revenue goals.

Following my keynote, I will give a tour of the winner’s booths in the Technology Services Expo, giving tour participants a chance to see a demo of each product. For information on winners from our Fall Recognized Innovator program, see SSPA Recognized Innovators: Fall 2006.

Tools & Technology Track
There are some incredible presentations planned in the Tools & Technology Track, each highlighting ‘best of breed’ support technologies and services, including full case studies from companies who have successfully invested in the technology.  For a complete list of topics and speakers in this track, visit the track description on our website.  Here are some highlights:

  • Proactive Service.  Moving from a reactive to a proactive support organization requires new technology, as well as customer education and likely an overhaul to existing processes.  Hear GE Healthcare describe how they evolved to a proactive organization by leveraging technology from NextNine.
  • Deployment options.Selecting an OnDemand or “Software as a Service” (SaaS) solution no longer means making tradeoffs in ‘best of breed’ technology.  Building on some great information from a recent SSPA Webcast, hear from KANA how OnDemand software can cut time and cost from an eService/customer service implementation, and learn how LinkShare Corporation, which runs the largest pay-for-performance affiliate marketing network on the Internet, has leveraged OnDemand eService tools to effectively support customers via multiple channels.
  • Web 2.0.  Probably the hottest topic among SSPA members at the moment is how online communities (forums, blogs, Wikkis) are reshaping how customers are supported, and there are two sessions on this topic in the track.  One, by Allan Bonde from eVergance and Ben Rasmussen from Adobe systems, will discuss how new technologies and consumer models will power the next wave of customer service applications. In the 2nd Web 2.0 session, one of the industry’s foremost experts on successful communities, Joseph Cothrel from Lithium, is joined by Tarik Mahmoud from Linksys to share the 10 Secrets to Success for any customer support community.
  • Knowledge management.  SSPA members are always interested in new tools and best practices to better capture, maintain and leverage knowledgebase content, and we have some great content for you in this area.  Avaya will present a case study on how they leveraged technology from KNOVA to create universal knowledge base, diagnostic search and authoring applications, all fully integrated with Avaya’s CRM system. Tackling the topic of knowledge for global support operations, learn how Invensys Systems is using technology from InQuira to capture critical knowledge from its highly-skilled, specialized employees and make it available throughout its global organization, enabling employees and customers to resolve even the most complex problems using a common, globally accessible knowledge database.

Technology Services Expo
Whether you are searching for new technology or services, or just want to keep up with what’s new, conference attendees have one-stop shopping for the best service and support technology available:  the Technology Services Expo.  More than 20 SSPA partners will be exhibiting, allowing attendees to see demos of products and even take a test drive of features.  And of course, the SSPA will be well represented in the Expo in case you would like to learn more about any of our member benefits and advanced programs.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing all of you in San Diego!

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