Do you plan out your objectives before you go to an industry conference? Or are you one of those people that figures it out when you get there? I highly recommend the pre-planning. Gladly, I planned to try to meet with Gadi Shamia of Talkdesk at the Contact Center Demo and Conference (CCDemo). I actually made an extra effort to meet him after his opening keynote titled: Reimagine the Contact Center Experience.

During his presentation Gadi shared two interesting statistics:

  • 66% of customers expect agents to know their contact info, product info, and history. Click to Tweet
  • 55% of customers have higher expectations than last year. Click to Tweet

Together, these statistics tell an important story of the need for the contact center to combine their disparate data sources into a single agent desktop. Or to make information available to your self-service systems. But is it a strong one? Will 55% of customers having higher expectations over last year persuade your executives to invest in call center software that gives agents the ability to be more effective and efficient with customer interactions?

If you already provide agents access to customer relationship data in a single view, are you done trying to exceed customer expectations? As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, I have interviewed several industry experts. One thing that has been clear to me is that customer experience and customer expectations is a complex set of variables that are unique to you. Emotionally connecting with ‘your’ customer is vital.

Watch Gadi Shamia of Talkdesk talk contact center tech at Contact Center Demo and Conference with Jim Rembach Click to Tweet

Your need to know

One thing that we grasp for in our industry (serving customers) are absolutes. In Gadi’s keynote he talked about investing in customer satisfaction to drive growth. Knowing where to do so can be a tricky proposition.

As a former call center supervisor, and Advisory Board Chair of Call Center Coach, I do know that the frontline does place a lot of value in having the right tools to do their work. So technology actually has a much greater impact than you may suspect.

What Talkdesk does

Talkdesk is next-generation cloud-based call center software that helps you connect with your customers. The easy-to-use interface offers robust functionality with advanced features, comprehensive reporting and seamless integrations with 25+ business tools to empower sales and service teams to have personalized, real-time conversations with customers. Source:

Will Slack cause you to micromanage?

free-report-maximum-agent-performance-250x175During his interview Gadi mentioned Talkdesk’s integration with Slack. If you are stuck with one of those clunky telephone systems, I’m sure the example Gadi gave about communicating with agents in realtime was exciting. As a frontline guy, I was excited about the possibilities.

As one of the most popular messaging platforms for teams, Slack could be of big value to the customer experience. But as a person who has been in the contact center industry for more than two decades I have witnessed a lot of misuse (and misunderstanding) of technology.

When I was going through and editing my interview with Gadi I began to get a cold chill about his example of sending a message to agents about cutting lunch short because of calls in queue. The cold chill came to me as a result of my tenure as a manager in a call center for a large credit union. The person I reported to was in a different location in our building. She actually had a small reader board that displayed our call queue information in real-time.

She was a micromanager and when she felt call times were too long or too many calls were in queue she would start calling me to get people on the phone and shorten their call length. Like the boss said, I followed her orders. But our real problem was that we were grossly understaffed. We were servicing several call types including loan origination, which required a long handle time.

I can’t go to the potty

One day, one of my agents complained to her about not being able to go to the restroom because she was asked to take care of the calls in queue. I learned of this when I was called into her office and reprimanded for not letting people go to the bathroom. Hmm, I followed orders (hers) to tell people to help with the calls in queue, but I never told people they could not go to the bathroom. No matter, I was now getting in trouble for following her orders.

Find a balance between too much and not enough

Despite my cold chill and fears, I still wish I had a tool like Slack integrated into my call center platform. It would have saved me so much time and grief. I would just need to be very intentional and proactive with such a powerful tool.

One of my guests on the Fast Leader Show, Steve Goldstein probably said it best in his interview when he said, “We suffer from two extremes, either we don’t communicate enough with our employees, or we communicate too much.”

The key would be to find that balance. And when it’s found, to be consistent in your execution.

I also noticed that Talkdesk has over 25 one-click integrations with the call center software. You can connect your call center software to many of your existing tools, even if you are not a Slack user. If you want to learn more contact Gadi Shamia: gadi [at]

Join me on the Fast Leader Show Podcast

monitor-fast-leader-showThe Fast Leader Show is a docuedutainment (don’t look it up I made it up) podcast released each Wednesday and hosted by Jim Rembach. Each week, Jim introduces you to real folks (from the call center industry and beyond) with real stories of how they were able to get over the hump and lead themselves or others better…faster. You’ll learn how to become a better leader (faster) through their stories by improving your employee and customer engagement through the power of improving your emotional intelligence. Get more human-centric and move onward and upward…faster.