A CallMe! IQ Special Report: The 2012 ATA (PACE) Convention & Expo

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The ATA (American Teleservices Association) held its annual Convention & Expo this month in Hollywood, Florida.  If attendees had hoped for blue skies and bustling beaches, they received three straight days of rain and wind (CallMe! IQ was there to experience this firsthand) so it was up to the sponsors and presenters to bring their own sunshine.  They did not disappoint.

The convention’s theme was “Managing Customer Experience in a Digital World” – timely given the explosion of new contact channels over the past decade.  To help deliver the message, the ATA handed the microphone to a number of the industry’s most respected leaders.

Mary Murcott, CEO of NOVO 1, delivered a session on First Contact Resolution, considered the key driver of customer satisfaction.  As participants may have been surprised to learn, not only is this critical for customers, it’s also pivotal to improving employee engagement.  For perspective on the implications of social media, Kristen Kane, Director of Social Media with Kane Partners, and Cliff Critchlow, SVP with Aegis, urged their audience to do 4 things in order to successfully engage customers in the digital world: Listen, Interact, Socialize, and Adapt.  Other topics covered the virtues of chat – when used the right way – presented by ETech’s Jim Iyoob, to the virtual workforce by Alpine Access’s David Parkhurst.

Attendees responded favorably.  Lauren Jones, Director of Operations with HBW Leads, remarked “I enjoyed learning about the current FCC regulations on the industry, as well as the changes coming in the near future and how they will affect my company specifically.”

Patrice Eastman, VP of Business Communications with Assurant Solutions, added the following: “Delivering a great customer experience has always been a priority for Assurant Solutions. The difference today is the greater potential for public exposure of both positive and negative commentary, and the speed at which this commentary can spread virally. It was clear from this year’s conference agenda that this subject is top of mind within the contact center industry. The great news is that there are so many resources available to address these issues, adapt, and add greater value for consumers and stronger loyalty to brands.”

Perhaps the biggest highlight at the 2012 Convention was the long-awaited rebranding of the ATA, which was delivered by the Association’s new President, Phil Grudzinski.  In order to adapt to the evolving needs of the industry, the ATA is now officially known as PACE, the Professional Association for Customer Engagement.  The change more accurately reflects the many ways in which broadband and other internet technologies have reshaped the landscape of customer interaction.

In reflecting on the convention’s success, Chris Haerich, PACE’s VP of Membership Services exclaimed, “The 2012 National Convention and Expo was the best in recent memory.  The educational content, networking opportunities and social events were outstanding.  All of this was topped off by rebranding our association from the American Teleservices Association (ATA) to the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE).  We are truly moving into the future.”

CallMe! IQ couldn’t agree more – and we are thrilled we’ll be there to experience it together.