Charming Customers in Charm City: SOCAP Symposium 2012

Customer Service Professionals at the SOCAP 2012 Symposium in BaltimoreThe best way to improve customer service strategies is to learn what others are doing to keep their customers satisfied. With this in mind,  customer service  experts and brand representatives gathered in Baltimore for the 2012 SOCAP Spring Symposium from April 22 to 25. The Inner Harbor was buzzing with industry focus, as the annual event attracted major brands and vendors from across the continent and around the globe.

The Spring Conference content was geared towards SOCAP industry communities: Consumer Packaged Goods, Hospitality and Travel, Retail and Direct Sales, and Healthcare. The focus of the symposium was Customer Service and the challenges faced by organizations in an ever-changing landscape of consumers and technology. The three-day event packed a full schedule of events: Inspiring and thought-provoking keynote speakers; morning Trend sessions; afternoon Industry sessions; and workshops designed to enhance skills, knowledge, and collaboration within vertical markets. One of the Trend sessions, “Bringing Back the Personalization of Service”, was presented by author Richard Shapiro from The Center for Client Retention. Contributors included Marie Shubin of E&J Gallo Winery and Donna Haller of Kellogg Company.  Neil Fishman, President of Holdcom, attended the breakout session and remarked, “Richard took a back-to-basics approach in market place environments under siege by automation and technology.  His research and ‘mystery-shopper’ methods confirmed the value and effectiveness of building one-on-one relationships through direct and meaningful conversation.”

Neil also attended a workshop conducted by Leslie O’Flahavan of E-WRITE, which focused on “How to Measure the Quality of Customer Service E-mail”. “Leslie not only offered key ways to evaluate email content, she also provided useful tips and suggestions for improving customer service email responses,” Neil commented. “Her workshop delved into the nuts and bolts of composition, context, style, format, and grammar, and concluded with techniques and metrics for improving performance and quality of writing.”

SOCAP continues to grow its membership and expand its resources for members with value-added offerings on their website as well as other annual industry events like the Automotive Summit and Data Reporting Workshop, not to mention the 2012 Canada Community Event and upcoming China Mission Trip. “There is an abundance of shared knowledge and collaboration that goes on at the SOCAP events and conferences. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it at any of the other meetings I’ve attended with other organizations. The amount of talent that is present is amazing, and the way everyone is open and supportive of one another is truly refreshing,” commented Andy Begnoché, Director of Operations at Holdcom and SOCAP Member Services Committee Chairman. He continued, “I’ve been involved with this group since 2003, and it continues to deliver year after year. You know you have something special when you see new members returning after attending just one conference and volunteering to be part of committees and local chapters. It shows you they are getting a return on the investment. Even beyond the conference and local chapter events, there’s so much content and tools to take advantage of on their website. The committee I chair is responsible for monthly webinars and the publication of CRM Magazine throughout the year. Our committee was also responsible for helping to build and populate a fantastic knowledge base tool called PING (People Networking), powered by Astute Solutions Real Dialogue. It’s a natural language tool that you can query on all things Consumer Affairs/Customer Service related. It’s all really great content.”

For more information about SOCAP or to learn more about these programs, visit their website at

Acoustic Rock Themes

Acoustic Rock Themes is an upbeat contemporary album with fun, catchy melodies, obviously built fundamentally around Acoustic Guitar. This album features tracks ranging from power ballads to light rock tunes. It’s a great album for any company looking for a track that’s exciting and edgy while remaining sentimental and lighthearted. Unlike many of the other albums in our repertoire, these are not just good songs for accompaniment, but quality stand-alone tracks.

Acoustic Guitarl Music for Message On Hold Programs Album Cover“Deliver Me” starts with a driving bass and drum line, and slowly builds with guitar and strings. Throughout the course of the track, the song gains substance and continues to climb until the end where it finally slows down and resolves with a final strum of the guitar. I like this song for a sales-based industry because it has enough of an edge for a sales pitch, but also has a sentimental side that can help show dedication to excellent customer service and understanding.

“Lovely Liz” is an extremely catchy track, with great chemistry between the drums and acoustic guitar lines. This song is upbeat and pleasant to listen to. As is the trend with the entire album, this particular track builds, while adding strings towards the middle, and climaxes before coming to the final note. This track is very accessible in terms of its style and has that glossy feel, which is a great accompaniment when marketing new products and services to your callers on-hold.

“Ride Easy” has a bluesy feel to it, which makes it fun and casual, but still remains elegant. Starting with guitar from the very beginning, this track is perfect for sales, service, and more.

This is a fun album, on which all the tracks feature elegant melodies. I enjoy listening to these tracks and often choose them for application in Message On Hold programs. These are excellent choices for your on-hold material because they are upbeat but not overly aggressive, allowing your content to be accentuated but not drowned-out.