Magazine article CRM Magazine

Video, at Your Service: A Contest Turns the Customer Service Center into a Film Location

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Video, at Your Service: A Contest Turns the Customer Service Center into a Film Location

Article excerpt

When this year's Customer Service Week began in early October, it happened to coincide with the International Customer Management Institute's (ICMI) weeklong Annual Contact Center Exhibition (ACCE), the self-proclaimed "global gathering of the contact center community." Veterans of prior ACCE events may have noticed a new addition to the conference scene, a result of which came out of a desire to "really showcase the positive customer experience," says Ruthann Fisher, executive vice president and global brand director of the ICMI. How? During a particular marketing brainstorm session, one idea took hold--a video contest.

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"The negative experiences in [contact] centers and customer experience are well documented, "Fisher laments, and this contest was a chance for customer service representatives to promote their side of the story. The plan, in fact, took on heroic stature: "to use the vehicle"--that is, video--"for good." (See "Video Is More Than Viral," page 36, for a clearer picture of the maturing channel.)

This was the first-ever video contest hosted by the ICMI, and the impetus was a theme that's been stirring up Americans for the past year: change. "We have lots of testimonials, lots of case studies," Fisher says. "We've done a lot of that, so [we were] challenged to do something that's new, fun, and exciting." (The overwhelming response has encouraged the organization to run another video contest at its ACCE event in New Orleans next June.) "We never expected the [submissions] to be as creative as they were," Fisher adds. "We were blown away."

Videos were to be no longer than three minutes and the winners were featured before each keynote presentation during the ACCE. Playing them in front of a conference full of contact center employees seemed a bit self-serving, but Fisher argues that the group represented precisely the kind of people who need convincing. "The [contact] center community still needs work," she says. "Our plan is to promote these healthy [contact] centers ... and say, 'See how good these guys and gals are doing? You, too, can be one of those.'"

The top three winners this year were retailer Hot Topic, New York's NYC 311 hotline for government information and nonemergency services, and automotive insurance provider Progressive.

The five judges for the contest came from companies including Coca-Cola, Thomson Reuters, and Employees Retirement System of Texas--organizations that Fisher says have been recognized as "the top call centers in the country. …

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