My Whirlwind PACE Experience

The month of September has been a wild, crazy, fascinating, and exhilarating ride for me! I had the opportunity to attend not one, but TWO PACE events on the East Coast. I saw a lot of familiar faces, met new people, and had the chance to engage with thought leaders in the customer experience and contact center industries. I want to share my insights and takeaways from these two events so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

PACE New York: Contact Center Technology Forum & Supplier Expo

In the first half of September, I had the pleasure of attending PACE’s Contact Center Technology Forum & Supplier Expo in New York, NY. The major theme of this amazing event was “How to Future Ready Your Contact Center with AI & Real-Time Analytics”. The event had a great lineup of speakers from companies such as Salesforce and Cisco, but my favorite part was the panel that I had the chance to moderate with the brilliant minds of Cary Cusumano (Verizon), Mai Le (Uber) and Fred Stacey (Outsource Consultants).  Our little band first got together to do a panel at ACX’19 earlier this year, and realized we had great synergies so we decided to do it again! Seriously, my fellow band mates are great and we had a fun time together. In our panel we discussed how to use analytics to unlock your omni-channel engine. We answered key questions such as:

  • What is omni-channel?
  • What is the role of analytics in omni-channel?
  • Why does data matter? What is structured vs. unstructured data? What do I need to know about data?
  • How does CX play into omni-channel analytics?
  • What is role of voice analytics, AI and journey mapping when it comes to omni-channel success?

One of the biggest distinctions we made in the panel is multi-channel vs. omni-channel. We hear those two terms being thrown around, and sometimes used interchangeably. However, these terms do not mean the same thing. Multi-channel refers to voice, IVR, email, chat, and all other channels that your customers can connect with you on. The customer journey in a multi-channel approach is often fragmented since the channels don’t always necessarily communicate with each other. Omni-channel is similar to multi-channel because it covers the same channels described before, but it differs because it is SEAMLESS! The data on the backend is synchronized together in a different and better way that allows your customer to have a seamless experience from one channel to the next. It takes the different touchpoints in the customer journey and connects them together to give your customers the experience they desire.

More PACE NY Takeaways

If you weren’t in New York with me, then I’m sorry to say you missed out on a great event! In addition to the panel I was a part of, there were a lot of great discussions around AI, the contact center, and customer experience. Here are just a few of my thoughts I had walking away from the event:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is great and all, but agents are never going away! Self-service is great for simple tasks but when transactions start to go south or get more complicated, your customers will always want to speak with a human.
  • AI will save you money at some level, but are the numbers being blown out of proportion?

There were so many quality discussions surrounding technology, but the biggest takeaway I got from this event was just how important it is to have excellent agents and good, solid operational processes. Most people realize that voice is never going away and that AI and agents don’t have to be pitted against each other! It all comes back to how you use technology, such as AI, to best support your agents. At the end of the day, it comes back to the need for great agents with solid training on how to do their job and how to work with new technology to do their job BETTER.

PACE Washington Summit

In the second half of September, I was in Washington D.C. for the 2019 PACE Washington Summit: Navigating Contact Center Regulations and Privacy. It was an amazing event with featured keynote speakers Zondwa Mandela (Mandela Legacy Foundation) and Andrew Smith (Federal Trade Commission) and other engaging speakers from companies such as Neustar, Sitel, TransNexus, and Numeracle. Here are just a few of the engaging, interactive panels we had at Summit:

  • How is call blocking and labeling affecting your contact center operations? What are the solutions?
  • Will SHAKEN/STIR help your contact center operations? What does your company need to do to be prepared?
  • Data privacy regulations: how they will impact your contact center and what you need to do to be ready!

As you may be able to tell from this sample of panels, there is a lot of legislation coming out that will have a huge impact on how you do business. This makes me think about you – yes, you! Are you aware of the implications for the upcoming legislation, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act? How are you preparing for this new legislation? I’ve spoken with quite a few people who are feeling overwhelmed and not even sure where to start. I’ve also connected with others who are in the midst of preparation but not sure if they have all their bases covered. Does either profile sound like you? If so, I would love to help you build, develop and implement your strategy to attain the compliance you need. Contact me now for a free, no-obligation discovery call so that we can figure out where you are at and where you need to be.

Feeling left out?

If you missed these events, don’t worry – PACE has many more great events coming up. To see what’s coming to your region, check out the event page here. If you are interested in getting involved with PACE, let me know and I would love to speak to you more about this amazing organization. We are the ONLY non-profit trade association dedicated exclusively to the advancement of companies that engage with customers via the contact center and we are poised to be your #1 industry resource for Customer Experience expertise.


Christa Heibel

CEO/Founder, CH Consulting Group

Vice Chair & Marketing Chair, PACE

Armadillo Racing Champion

Tambourine Player

This article originally appeared on the CH Constulting Group website on Oct 5, 2019.