ICMI Contact Center Expo: The Top 10 Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss

This year’s ICMI Contact Center Expo & Conference in Orlando (May 22-25) promises to be quite an event. The lineup of presenters, the industry topics, the onsite learning opportunities—all are first class.

But we do have our picks of must-see presentations. These are the topics we feel are particularly important for contact center leaders to focus on in their efforts to build world-class service organizations and stronger brands.

icmi conference contact center

Keynote Presentations

If you want to come away feeling inspired, energized, and enthusiastic about the possibilities for your brand, you’ll no doubt enjoy all five keynote presentations. But these are our must-see picks in this category.

How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees 

Tuesday May 23, 8.15-10am
Doug Lipp: 

“How did Walt Disney create ‘The Happiest Place on Earth?’ What are the secrets behind Disney’s legendary employee development dynasty and how does it reinforce organizational values, culture and brand? Learn how Disney continues to capture the hearts and minds of thousands of employees around the world through an unwavering devotion to the core values established by Walt himself.”

As the former head of employee training at Disney (beginning at age 29) and acclaimed author of Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees, Doug Lipp knows something about “Creating Cultures of Significance.” Disney’s enduring success is rooted in its emphasis on employee development—the transformation of new hires into brand enthusiasts who internalize the organization’s values, relish their roles, and deliver an experience like no other.

Before You Go

Watch Doug’s brief video about “popcorn empowerment” and the art and importance of creating brand superheroes. To learn about management practices and principles taught at Disney U, check out this brief slideshow from

Amaze Every Customer Every Time

Wednesday May 23, 8.15-10am
Shep Hyken: 

“Delivering amazing service . . . doesn’t take a title. It takes the right set of tools and principles. In this fast-paced, and content-rich presentation, Shep will share some of the 52 ‘Amazement Tools’ featured in his book of the same name. Learn best practices, tactics, and strategies to help them deliver the most amazing customer service on the planet.”

Shep Hyken is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the customer experience arena. He believes service excellence, delivered consistently, should be every brand’s top priority. In fact, as he frequently argues, it’s the only way to stay competitive. Companies must “build credibility, trust and confidence” so customers become loyal buyers and outspoken brand advocates.

Before You Go

Shep Hyken’s Customer Service Blog is one to follow. Shep also contributes regularly to Forbes. Here’s a sampling of articles and posts that really resonate with us.
Moving From Omni-Channel To A Channel-Less Customer Experience
Five Ways to Create Customer Loyalty” (with video)
Five Important Lessons From A Trip To The Apple Store” (slideshow)
We’re Not Happy Until You’re Not Happy

Optimizing Your Workforce

How you build your team, and manage them day to day, can have a dramatic impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. These two sessions address critical issues many ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retailers face.

Work at Home: Maximizing Your Returns

Tuesday May 23, 2.00-3.00pm
Michele Rowan:

“In this interactive session, we’ll explore advanced strategies for hiring and onboarding in a truly remote capacity, and the latest advances in virtual training. Discover how to leverage next-generation tactics for virtual performance support and engagement, and gain real-time visibility and process automation without high capital expenditures and IT costs. Gain the insights you need to reduce internal infrastructure costs, improve employee morale, and ensure service excellence.”

As Hilton International’s VP of Performance Management, she helped the company implement its remote working program. Since then, Customer Contact Strategies President Michele Rowan has helped more than 1,500 other companies do the same. No one is more qualified to address the unique challenges of building and managing remote service teams.

Before You Go

Michele regularly shares her insights and advice as a guest blogger for Contact Center Pipeline and CCW Digital. We like “Top 3 Failure Points for Work-at-Home Programs”—particularly Michele’s tips for a less isolated, more engaged service team.

Overcoming Hiring, Training, and Onboarding Challenges

Tuesday May 23, 3.15-4.15pm
Amber Krueger: 
Amber Krueger

“Robust and effective hiring, training and onboarding processes are critical to the success of a contact center, and yet too often the hectic pace leads managers to take shortcuts in these areas—with devastating results. Come hear how US Bancorp Fund Services’ approach to these foundational processes has evolved over the past five years. They’ll share practical advice on identifying areas for improvement, powerful interview questions, taking a critical look at your training program, and a framework for mapping a new agent’s crucial first months on the job.”

Since 2013, Amber has served as Contact Center Site Manager for U.S. Bancorp Fund Services’ Investor Services & Process Solutions department. In her role, she has developed a formula for her contact center’s success—and a guide for other brands to follow. It all starts with hiring the right people, getting them up to speed, and enabling and inspiring them to go above and beyond.

Before You Go

Read about U.S. Bancorp Fund Services’ 5-star performance ratings from National Quality Review (NQR), including NQR Best overall 2016 performance for the U.S. Bancorp Fund Services contact center.

Employee Engagement

Outstanding service experiences begin (and end) with happy, motivated employees. So what does it take to create them? Here are four important pieces of the puzzle.

Improving Training Through Employee Engagement

Tuesday May 23, 11.30am-12.30pm
Dustie Mercer: 

“Not so long ago, Renaissance was struggling with poor employee engagement and a 66% attrition rate in the first 90 days. Learn how they leveraged employee feedback to guide the dramatic transformation of their training program, including the addition of new learning methodologies, a reward and recognition program, a continuous support and improvement system, and more.”

Dustie Mercer has an inspiring story to tell, and important lessons to share. In 2015, she became Director of Call Center Operations for Renaissance Dental, where service team morale was low and turnover was painfully high. By using employee feedback to improve training, Dustie oversaw major increases in customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, employee retention.  

Culture. Created by Us, for Us.

Tuesday May 23, 3.15-4.15pm
Gina Montague: 

“This fast-paced session will deliver more than fifty ideas to help your team create a service culture that ignites their passion and gets them excited about their work. Covering everything from leadership and core values to onboarding and teamwork, you’ll leave with great ideas and best practices to implement when you return from the conference.”

As Support Services Manager for InfiniteCampus and a 25-year customer-service veteran, Gina leads an award-winning Campus Support team. She’ll share the keys to building and maintaining a strong, dynamic service culture—one in which employees feel valued, grow professionally, and take pride and joy in delivering service excellence.

You’ve Got Millennials All Wrong: How to Build a Career Development Program for the Next Generation

Wednesday May 24, 2.45-3.45pm
Erica Mancuso: 

“If your contact center has become the ‘farm team’ for talent throughout your organization, you are likely faced with internal attrition and therefore a constant need to train new hires. Join us to find out how the Customer Care team at Medfusion launched their Career Development Program, a training and rotational development program, targeting millennials. You’ll get tips to help you build a program that involves recruiting, training, and coaching—all while providing great service to customers.”

As Director of Customer Care at Medfusion, Erica has used performance data to optimize call center operations and keep customer satisfaction scores hovering at 97%. She’s also focused on retaining talent (and minimizing hiring and onboarding costs) by offering millennial employees a rewarding career path in customer service—something they must have in order to thrive in their current roles.

Keeping the Customer Service Rockstars on Your Team

Wednesday May 24, 4.00-5.00pm
Jenny Dempsey: 

“Creating a culture of creativity, flexibility and FUN takes strategic vision and willingness to be open to new ideas. Join ‘Rockstar’ Jenny Dempsey as she shares her experiences (and songs) that demonstrate how building fun into day-to-day tasks while allowing for creativity and personal style can engage and motivate your team. You’ll learn about a simple and successful onboarding system, career coaching and tips for improving the process with feedback from the front lines.”

From both a business and a service-quality standpoint, employee churn is one of the biggest costs of operating a contact center. Jenny Dempsey, Director of Customer Care for Internet publishing company, knows this well. Clearly passionate about creating positive, upbeat service experiences for customers, Jenny also knows how to nurture high performers and encourage them to stay put.

Contact Center Metrics

The biggest obstacle to contact center success is a limited or distorted view of what’s happening on the front line. To manage service teams effectively, you must measure their performance on an ongoing basis and use the data to drive continual improvement.

Making the Most of the Metrics You Currently Use

Wednesday May 24, 2.45-3.45pm
Erica Marois: 

“In this session, ICMI’s Erica Marois will look at the most common contact center metrics and share insight and best practices that reveal how members of the ICMI community leverage their KPIs to drive success. If you’re not looking to add more metrics to your dashboard, but want to get more from what you measure today, this session is for you!”

Erica is ICMI & HDI’s Community Strategist, and she’s passionate about empowering contact center professionals and keeping them engaged—or, as she puts it, treating employees “like adults.” She’s also interested in helping service team leaders maximize the value of the data they’re already collecting. If you want to know how to use KPIs to drive success, Erica will show you where to start.

Before You Go

Check out Erica’s slideshow (How to Build a Better Agent Scorecard) and her video (6 Simple Rules for Optimizing Your Contact Center) from her recent #ICMIchat sessions on Twitter.

Future Trends in Customer Service

Given its increasing importance to brand health and profitability, customer service has become a mission-critical investment for customer-facing businesses. To distinguish themselves in the marketplace, brands must not only keep pace with change, but begin leading the way.

The Future of Service: Predictions From Industry Insiders

Wednesday May 24, 4.00-5.00pm
Justin Robbins: 

“In this session, ICMI’s Justin Robbins reviews historical contact center trends, brand new research data, and insights from customer service experts across all generations to create a picture of the future of customer service. You’ll discover why some trends fizzle out, learn how to recognize when a major shift is occurring, and receive tips and ideas on how you can prepare for the future of service today.”

Justin Robbins is Group Community Director for ICMI and a renowned authority on creating exceptional customer experiences. He also has a particularly insightful view of the evolution of customer service, along with the keys to recognizing and responding to market trends in order to serve customers better and compete more effectively.

Before You Go

Read “Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable” to get Justin’s take on the high cost of cost-cutting measures in the contact center. Or listen to his ICMI webcast, “5 Low or No Cost Ways to Train Agents in the Modern Contact Center.”

Even More “Before You Go”

For a more in-depth look at using contact center metrics to improve front-line morale and performance, download our latest eBook, “How to Supercharge Your Customer Service by Combining Objective and Subjective Data.” In it, we’ll explain how to use the right kinds of data to turn your contact center into a profit center—one that increases customer loyalty and grows revenue over time.

*We’ll see you at the conference! Look for us at Booth 322. We’d love to hear what you think.*