TSW: Top Attended Sessions Illustrate Industry Trends
We are back for the last day of Technology Services World at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Our always amazing conference coordinator, Christi Holzer, sent me the attendee numbers for all of yesterday’s sessions, and as always, looking at the top attended sessions is a great indicator of industry trends and challenges. Here are the 7 top attended sessions from yesterday, all with over 100 attendees–some close to 200 with standing room only.
- How Smart Companies Use Social Media, Shawn Santos, Director, Programs & Community, TSIA. It is no surprise that social media continues to be one of the hottest topics in service today, and our own social media expert, Shawn Santos, unveiled findings from his latest social service survey, and provided insight into how companies are successfully leveraging these new customer touchpoints and collaboration opportunities.
- From Good to Great and Beyond, a panel discussion with Thomas Pridham,TSIA; Joanne Weigel, TSIA; William Beach,Cisco Systems; Rachel Berg, PRTM; Nigel Marrion, TSIA Organizational Development Program; John Blakeman, Taleo; Mark Baniewicz, Xerox. Our members are very metrics driven, naturally, but with increased interest and visibility in support excellence, more companies are now interested in moving beyond benchmarking to do formal audits of their support operations. This is great news for the industry–customer service can be a major differentiator for a technology company, and getting a ‘best in class’ designation from an operational audit is a fantastic proof point for customers and prospects.
- Global Customer Experience: Internationalizing Support; Erik Ryan, Knowledgebase Manager, ESET; Chris Hall, Vice President, Product Marketing, InQuira. I believe that InQuira, a knowledge management, intelligent search and customer experience partner of the TSIA, has had one of the top attended sessions at every conference since I started tracking this information. InQuira has a great ability to focus on meaty topics that address real problems for our members, and this session was no different, based in part on a joint research paper I worked on with InQuira on internationalizing support by offering knowledge content in any number of languages–something our advisory board says is a critical issue for 2010-11.
- RightNow Technologies & Changepoint: Improving the Client Experience through Strategic Services Delivery; Leslie Williams, Director, Professional Services, RightNow Technologies; Lori Ellsworth, Vice President, Compuware Changepoint, Compuware. This session, which showcased how RightNow, a customer service/CRM vendor, revolutionized their professional service business by implementing Compuware Changepoint professional services automation (PSA) software. Since RightNow is one of the first and best known SaaS vendors, there was also lots of interest in how PS for SaaS vendors may (or may not!) be different from OnPremise vendors.
- Breaking Down the Barriers Between Customer Support and Product Development; Bertrand Durou, IBM Support Manager – KT Program Manager, IBM; Christoph Goldenstern, Global Vice President, Service Excellence, Kepner-Tregoe. One of the key messages in The Complexity Avalanche is that support and development must work more closely together to create more usable and supportable products, and this session was a great example. KT’s Christoph–who is incredibly passionate about the industry and its future–co-presented with their customer IBM about IBM’s success with Kepner-Tregoe’s diagnostic and support processes, extending into areas beyond support including development.
- Getting to the Heart of Best-In-Class Customer Service; Rob Gibson, General Manager, Product Support Group, Sears Holdings; Damien Choisel, Vice President, Service Knowledge Management, Servigistics. Knowledge management has always been a key interest area for TSIA members, and this session is a great example of why. Sears, America’s fourth largest retailer, has the largest field service organization in North America with more than 12 million service calls made annually, 3,000 call center agents and 9,000 trucks. This session documented how Sears tackled the challenge of decreasing customer service calls by improving knowledge management processes to gain faster issue resolution and a stronger knowledge base for call center agents. Through Servigistics Service Knowledge, a large percentage of Sears’ service calls are now being resolved over the phone, eliminating a technician visit. As a result, Sears has dramatically improved customer satisfaction levels and is now exceeding their year-to-date cost savings goal.
- Inside Value-Added Services: Uncovering the Missing Link Between Increased Revenue and Customer Loyalty; Panel discussion with J.B. Wood, President and CEO, TSIA; Phil Nanus, Director, Business Critical Services, Symantec; Panel: Mike Charest, Director, Value-Added Services, Information Intelligence Group, EMC; Panel: Ashish Khanna, Strategic Support Manager, NetApp. This panel discussion from the chairs of the VAS Community of Interest discussed how and why the creation and integration of a value-added services model can lead to higher customer satisfaction and renewal rates while propelling revenue and margin growth. The panel provided “tales from the trenches” of VAS, sharing best practices, successes, and challenges in implementing a VAS business model, including the value of portfolio management in managing customer expectations and driving top-line revenue; the link between value-added services and customer loyalty; service delivery challenges along the evolution path (skills, staffing, and service quality); leveraging automation within value-added service delivery; interlock challenges/opportunities with engineering and consulting services along the path; leveraging the power of the team to generate new service ideas and opportunities.
The conference comes to a close today with our awards ceremony, presenting our TSIA STAR Awards, and I will be presenting the Fall 2010 Recognized Innovator Awards. Stay tuned for winners! And as always, thanks for reading!