Volume 2, Number 14 - August 3, 2007

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300



In Queue circulation 18,730
NACC members 3,525
Calendar of Events Listings 24
Job Board Listings

In This Issue
Something for Economic Developers
"Trade Shows Suck"-The Writing on the Wall Revisited
What I am Reading

Share the Knowledge

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I am a big fan of college football and found the quote below to be quite funny.-DB

"Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life. Violence and committee meetings."
-George F. Will

At the NACC we love Contact Professional Magazine. View their latest issue, in print or electronically, by clicking on the image above or visit them at contactprofessional.com.

Fun Facts

According to our research at the NACC, and the data I presented at the Nashville SEDC conference, the global call center industry has netted 154,254 jobs since July 2002 and the US has netted 63,711 of those jobs. We believe our sample to be about 50%of the market trends, so double these numbers to get a more refined picture of the growth of the industry. In essence, the call center industry is healthy and thriving both within the US and abroad adding approximately 13,000 and 30,000 net jobs each year respectively.

Picture of the Week

The Pantheon was the most powerful site I visited in Italy. This building dates back to near 0 A.D. and has survived because it has been in continuous use since it was built. The word Pantheon means temple to all of the gods. Because it was linked to many gods, if one god went out of favor, there was a good chance that other gods did not and thus the building survived. The image is of part of the dome of the Pantheon which at its center is the light source--an open hole. Yes, when I was there, in the Pantheon, it was raining through this hole in the ceiling onto the marble floor. The building is magnificent in that you feel very small within its confines and it is difficult, if not impossible, to capture the full majesty of the building with a single photo image. A amazing feat of architecture that still stands today.

J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Something for Economic Developers

On July 30th I gave a brief presentation and sat on a panel focusing on call centers at the Southern Economic Development Council's (SEDC) Conference in Nashville. I presented information on the state of the call center industry and then the panel received questions from the audience of approximately 200 people in attendance. Most of the questions revolved around attracting call centers to communities and how to leverage existing vacant buildings for call center use. The NACC last year created an IT Services Community Certification Program to meet the needs of attracting and retaining call centers in a community. However, we have not met the need for broadcasting good sites for call centers within a community. So I have an idea.

The NACC can create a page on its website for call center real-estate to help serve the Economic Development community. The idea is that we will have a dedicated webpage with digital images of a building, brief description, and contact information for your organization if someone is interested in the site. We would charge a small nominal fee which would allow you to advertise your community and/or a piece of real estate in your community for call center operations for a year (NACC Certified Communities would get this benefit for free). During that one year period you can switch out images or logos as many times as you like. In this way the NACC can meet it mission to serve the call center industry and communities can show off their good sites for call centers.

Let me know if you are interested in such a service. If there is enough of a demand, we will launch this service to help you succeed.

"Trade Shows Suck"-The Writing on the Wall Revisited

Paul Stockford, NACC Advisory Board Member and Saddletree Research [email protected]

After my essay in the previous issue of In Queue (Vol. 2, No. 13) on the subject of the demise of contact center trade publications and the sorry state of contact center trade shows, I received a number of e-mails from NACC membership. Reduced to their essence, the message I received from those who wrote was clear. If I may paraphrase, the message was "Trade shows suck."

I received example after example of bad trade show experiences, poorly attended sessions, empty exhibit halls, poor show management and an overall dissatisfaction with the state of trade shows in general. In most cases I wrote an e-mail back to the sender asking them what could be done to make trade shows better. What was needed to bring back the excitement of the trade shows of the '90s? How should conference content change? What else needs to change and how? In a few cases the response I received was just more complaining. In the rest of the cases there was no response at all.

Again, I wonder if the contact center industry is evolving, or has evolved, to the point that we no longer need to interact with each other and that the pinnacle of technological development and operational management has been achieved. Is it possible that the industry has become commoditized and all we are trying to do now is wring every possible penny out of it until customer care is subsumed by some greater market power?

I cite as an example of this phenomenon the voice messaging industry. What was once a thriving, interesting, competitive industry eventually became commoditized as technological parity was reached among vendors. The industry went through a period of merger and acquisition similar to what is happening in the contact center industry today and voice messaging eventually became just another application on a larger communications platform.

Is the contact center doomed to this same fate, or have the industry participants simply lost interest in exchanging ideas, learning about new developments and discussing the future? Are we too becoming an industry dominated by people with little hunger for intellectual and professional stimulation beyond that which we find in a YouTube video clip or as we blankly stare at slide after slide on a webinar?

Last year I attended ICCM Canada in Toronto and found that to be one of the most stimulating trade show events of 2006. Both David Butler and I will be participating in ICCM Canada this year (see NACC Calendar of Events for more info) and it is the only trade show that is on my calendar for 2007. We can learn a lot from our neighbors to the north and as a group I have found the Canadian contact center industry people to be more inquisitive, curious and speculative than their counterparts south of the border. Historically, Canada has always been more inclined to adopt new technologies and consider new ideas in communications technologies than has the U.S. I'm looking forward to discovering what Canadian managers are finding interesting this year. I'm also looking forward to a live exchange of ideas rather than logging into yet another well-scripted, mind-numbing webinar.

What I am Reading

Harry Potter fever looks like it is finally slowing down. There for a while it was everywhere and all the time. Even a grocery store I use had a life size cardboard cut out of Harry Potter with a pull away calendar sheet announcement, 208 days before the book is released, 207 days...

My children grew up with Harry Potter. The first book was purchased for them when they were young, they had little interest, and the book was set aside. However, within two years, the book was picked back up, read and re-read in anticipation of the second book. This has been going on for many years now. And then came the movies.

Because we are reading family my children prodded me to read the Harry Potter series. After many months of asking, I finally agreed to read the first book to see if it was worth the time investment to read any more. The first book was actually charming in a British-style, Annie-the-orphan sort of way. The magic detailed within the story was a backdrop to a human-interest plot of a child who had no past and therefore felt he had little future. Only after he arrived at the magical school of Hogwarts did his true personality and character come to life.

The final book in this series, number seven, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I read over the past three days. It is about 700 pages long, but like the others books in this series, it is a page turner. For almost a year I have been offering my literary insights to my daughters on how the story will end. I have told them that J. K. Rowling is a British author and struggled most of her life to keep food on the table and thus these life struggles would bring about a predictable ending. Moreover, given the hints along the way in the past six books which I have read, I deduced how the story would mostly likely end. I WAS WRONG. The story ends differently than I anticipated. The books have moved from more light-hearted fun and tricks to issues of death and other adult-like themes as the character Harry Potter grows into adulthood so I expected a linear descent to clear ending. However, J. K. Rowling is a better author than I am a reader since she threw in many curve balls in this book taking the reader on a roller-coast ride all the way to the end.

On a final note, if you have not figured it out yet, I believe reading is key to success for any person in any profession anywhere. Reading is about self-learning and learning about one's self. Due to television, the internet, cell phones, DVDs, movies, and many other visual media forms, reading has declined for many years. J. K. Rowling made reading fun again for a generation that texts incomplete sentences and whose speech patterns are modifying the English language daily. Because of this she should be praised and the billions of dollars she has earned is not enough payment for what she has offered many people, of all generations, and that is a love for reading her books which I can only hope turns into a life-long love of reading all types of books for many.

If you are interested in purchasing the newest Harry Potter book, you can click on the image on the left and it will take you to Amazon.com (Disclaimer-Because of my increasing reliance on Amazon.com for many purchases, including books, DVDs, kitchen scale, specialty items, etc. I have purchased Amazon.com stock in the belief that there are others out there like me. So I now own a whole 6.4488 shares).

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Copyright 2007 National Association of Call Centers

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