Live from Vegas… it’s SSPA!

OK, so it is not as exciting as New York — but the SSPA show is the pulse of the customer service and support world.  It has been great to be here, see some presentations, do another (second coming of email – slides available via email is you are interested or a post coming tomorrow in this blog), and end up exhausted.

I like this show, there are some interesting things I can always find here.  In case you have never made your way here, you should consider it.  It is like a smorgasbord of case studies — all sessions are run by real customers, with real case studies, with real problems and solutions.  You want to see how to solve a problem? It is likely there is at least one aspect of it covered in one or more presentations.  Lots of really good data, good information – and all based on real-life!  Sure, the presentations tend to be sponsored by vendors… there is some vendor-speak in them.  But, for the most part, it is about users talking to users.  Very interesting.

The bottom line: customer service and support is becoming more worldly, and there are three very clear trends to highlight:

GREEN IS IN.  Lots and lots of companies dealing with remote support, remote troubleshooting, remote just about anything.  As organizations become greener and want to optimize their resources and get better productivity for what they use these vendors are blazing a new trail: how to take care of your remote employees, how to serve your remote customers with less resources, and how to optimize your field force to make them more productive and raise customer satisfaction.  Very interesting concept, and taking hold quite rapidly.

What do you know? I was right… CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE and FEEDBACK MANAGEMENT do matter!  A whole other group of vendors dealing with feedback management and customer experience – but most of them are beginning to focus on the back side.  I said it before, and will say it again, anyone with a garage and a weekend can put together a survey package.  No genius there… what you do with your data is what matters. These vendors are focusing on both analytics as well as insight-driven actions – what to do with the results from your analysis.

WEB 2.0 IS REAL.  Yes, I did say  before there was a lot of hype and not enough being done on W2.0.  Well, no longer the case… anything from social networks and communities being leveraged for service and support to killer applications that leverage W2.0, all the way to presentations showcasing case studies on W2.0.  We are finally seeing some delivery on the perpetual promise of distributed computing (I am sorry, did I just date myself?), and there is a lot more to come.  I will be really diving into this in the near future… stay tuned!

Bottom Line:  after so many years of seeing customer service and support as a necessary evil, a cost-center with no purpose, and trying to find the best model to revert that notion it is refreshing to see some change.  Why, there are a couple of booths that even talk about making a profit!  Can you believe that?  Customer Service and Profit said in a positive way in the same sentence… what is the world coming to?

Additional Resources

John Ragsdale’s Blog (his impressions on SSPA are great) –