Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Social Media and Contact Centers - a New Way of Listening

Although you can't tell from their website, the Exony folks have been keeping me busy lately, and the fruits of that will start coming next month. Hey, that's a day away, isn't it? I seem to have missed summer - time sure zooms, and before you know it, I'll be in Austin at TMC's ITExpo. More on that next week, and if you're going, please come to my sessions!

So, I've been doing a fair bit of ongoing research about the impact of social media on the contact center, and my latest set of insights was posted today. This is the third instalment in a series I've been writing from my research, and one more piece is in the works now.

My focus here is how social media requires contact centers to listen in new ways, both literally and between the lines. Aside from being new, social media has many nuances, and it's not enough to just take every tweet or IM at face value. This type of content may often be sparse and brief, but much like body language, it's often laden with unspoken meaning - and that's what makes it social.

Enough preamble - it's time to go straight to the article on Exony's website. Give it a read, close your eyes, reflect, and share your thoughts! And then, like a good social media acolyte, re-tweet this to 10,000 of your closest friends.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Future of the PSTN

How's that for a big topic? I think about it a lot, but its demise looks increasingly inevitable, especially the way the FCC is talking these days. Much like the railroads, when the system becomes too expensive to operate, the operators start making noise and giving reasons why it needs to be scaled back or done away with altogether.

I can see this unfolding at some point, but am also of an old school mindset that says the PSTN still has value - it just needs to be reinvented. Back in the 50's, when the U.S. Interstate highway system was built, it provided a huge boost for the auto industry, and train service has been on the decline ever since. In essence, the highway was simply a better way for people to travel, and the same argument can be made for why landlines are rapidly giving way to VoIP and mobility.

However - the trains run just fine, thank you, and in some markets have regained their appeal - especially where the highways have become way overcrowded and add a lot of stress to the daily commute. Of course, providing WiFi sure helps, and for a lot of people, the train is a far more productive form of commuting. I'd like to think the telcos might come up with similar brainwaves at some point, as the PSTN still has virtues - security, hello - that VoIP or mobility simply can't match.

Enough said. I could go on quite a bit here, but it's time to transition this to the podcast. I've missed several of the recent UCStrategies podcasts, but things finally worked out for this week. So, if you want hear how our group is weighing in on this topic, you can give it listen now. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh Blogger, Where Art Thou?

Just popping in to say I'm still here! This may be the longest stayaway since I started blogging back in 2005, but I'll get back to posting this week. Been away on vacation, and that 100% means no blogging. More importantly, I've been busy on projects, and have just completed a pair of white papers for a vendor most of you will know that should launch any time now. I'm also in the final review phase for another white paper with a major IP comms provider that all of you know and use. Finally, I'm in writing mode now for yet another paper in the video space that will be out in early September.

Aside from that, my regular writing continues on both the Exony and ADTRAN portals, and one of those is about to ramp up later this month. I also have a number of proposals pending for new projects, so the pipeline is looking pretty good going into the Fall. Speaking of that, TMC's ITExpo is now just a few weeks away, and I'll be busy there, moderating three panels.

We may be in the home stretch of summer, but the work goes on. Last week was a good recharge, and I'll be back to blogging and tweeting soon enough.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ITExpo, Austin - 39 Days and Counting...

I don't usually talk up my next conferences this soon, but things are ramping up now for my participation in the next ITExpo. Regular followers will be familiar with my long history with TMC, and this expo should be pretty cool.

The West edition of their show has been in LA the past few years, but 2011 marks a shift from there to Austin, Texas. It's always great to be part of a change, and as a bonus, I've never been to Austin. That in itself is reason to be jazzed, since Austin is one of the top spots anywhere for two of my big passions - live music and food. More specifically, ribs, BBQ and the blues. Yahoo!

Back to work now. The ITExpo is a short 39 days away, and if you haven't made plans yet, you should check out the conference agenda here. I'll be talking more about the program and speaker highlights in upcoming posts. As usual, I'll be busy moderating - am running three sessions - two on contact centers and one on UC:

- Wed. at 9am: UC Unleashed

- Thurs. at 9am: Hosted Customer Care Trends/Drivers

- Thurs. at 11am: Harnessing Multichannel Customer Service Tools

Along the way, TMC will be doing various things to build momentum for the Expo, and I'll be participating during their Editor Day on Monday. I was also just interviewed by TMC for my thoughts around key trends in UC, and the article was posted earlier today. You can read it here, and if you come see me at the Expo, you'll get a more complete picture of what I'm seeing - not just from me, but my session speakers as well. After that, if you're into the blues, let's go on the town.