After many social media interactions, I finally had a chance for a face-to-face interaction with Sarah Reed of Relate by Zendesk at the Contact Center Demo and Conference (CCDemo). I appreciate that Sarah was as welcoming as the Relate booth.

I have to say, the designers of their booth space really captured the brand essence of Relate. It was so inviting to me and such a departure from the typical contact center demo hall display. I liked it so much that it was my first stop in the CCDemo hall.

As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, I interview several industry experts such as Sarah. I asked her off camera if she would join me for the Hump Day Hoedown as a guest on the show. She agreed, so look forward to her sharing her story of getting over the hump soon on an upcoming episode.

Watch Sarah Reed of Relate by Zendesk talk contact center thought leadership at Contact Center Demo and Conference with Jim Rembach Click to Tweet

At the CCDemo, I’m always intrigued at how organizations are attempting to STAND OUT. For Zendesk, in regards to Relate they have taken things to a totally different level and created a true differentiation in relationship building in the contact center industry. Sarah explains how in our interview.

As a former call center supervisor, and Advisory Board Chair of Call Center Coach, I asked Sarah how supervisors can benefit with a relationship with Relate. She actually made me feel like I missed out during my frontline days. Bummer.

What Relate by Zendesk does

Relate is home to a diverse selection of expert content and deep thoughts from Zendesk. It connects the business side of what Zendesk does—create software for improving customer interactions—to the more general human desire for better relationships. Source:

The B2B customer experience (marketing and sales merge)

free-report-maximum-agent-performance-250x175As a person who has been in the contact center industry for more than two decades I have witnessed a lot of changes. One of the changes that has been a primary focus for a lot of organizations in the past few years has revolved around the customer experience. You need to know that having a customer experience focus is not reserved for only the business to consumer (B2C) channel.

I have spent the past several years as a mentor and panel expert for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). I am not sharing this to be braggadocios but to point out the context from which I am sharing this message.

Six years ago when I was introduced to the CXPA, a small percentage of CXPA members were from business to business (B2B) companies. That number has exploded most recently, yet it’s only the forward thinking B2B companies that have initiatives to align/merge their marketing and sales efforts to build stronger buyer and customer bonds.

The B2B customer journey

unlock-relationship-power125In a recent article, the CMO of Marketo Sanjay Dholakia talked about a shift that will fundamentally change the role of marketers within organizations as a whole. “Marketing is really the new sales function,” Dholakia said. “In three to five years marketing is going to be the de facto owner of the entire customer journey. We’re also moving toward a world where marketing is the new customer service. It is a huge elevation.”

So marketing is moving towards sales and social selling is causing sales to move towards marketing. Jill Rowley is a well known social selling expert. She talks about old school and new school sales. She describes old school sales as: Smile & Dial / Pounce & Pitch / Always Be Closing. Whereas new school sales is: Reach & Reach / Educate & Engage / Always Be Connecting.

So from my vantage point Relate is a social selling business entity for Zendesk. Now that’s forward thinking. They understand that real engagement of potential buyers and the continued engagement of customers is about having a relationship.

We’re all in the relationship business

Nobody is exempt from the fact that if you work in a contact center or sell products or services to the contact center industry that you must get better at relationships. You need to improve your emotional intelligence (EQ) because we’re all in the relationship business. But as they say at Relate: Customers. Colleagues. Community. It’s complicated.

So at Relate they say they help you examine, ponder, and hopefully improve the interactions you have with other people whether they’re customers or co-workers, friends or frenemies. Because even though this is business, we’re all people. Transactions are interactions, and interactions are the foundation of relationships.

So do you think it’s time to to relate better? Start by interacting with Sarah Reed at: sareed [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.