Featured Image for the blog: Your EC19 Wrap-Up: What to Take Back to the Office from Enterprise Connect

Let’s talk about all things Enterprise Connect Orlando 2019.

From countless speaking sessions to late nights in the expo hall, last week we invested three-and-a-half days to a conference filled with gripping conversations on topics like digital transformation, customer engagement, and technological innovations.

Now, we’re firmly planted in our seats in our good ole’ Indianapolis office, and we’re ready to talk about it. We’re wrapping up the key takeaways and trends we spotted at EC19. (While fighting daydreams about 80-degree weather instead of the brisk 45 we’re feeling in Indy, of course).

The most talked-about trends

Who else had their VR-headset laser beams pointed at contact centers? There was a clear, laser-focus on contact centers and the discussions pushing the bounds in the space. Industry leaders in CX served up some of the biggest announcements and best innovations at this year’s show.

Repeatedly, event attendees praised the contact center space for product modernization and the fresh approach they brought to the show. With a flipped focus on what this year’s contact center innovations mean for customer engagement rather than for the companies themselves, we saw a new level of devotion to better customer experiences.

Ec19's best in show was the contact center

Contact center's are stepping out of their comfort zones to better help customers

Customer service talk got primetime views

Aside from contact centers at the forefront, discussions about AI, cloud migration, and APIs were highly-talked-about topics at the show, too.

The AI discussion was all about finding better ways to use your data and make it work for your business. Especially in the contact center space. Contact centers are the largest sources of data for a company, so making that data actionable for better business outcomes presents a significant opportunity. AI isn’t a pillar of the customer experience yet, but advances are coming down the pipeline. And every inch forward is really about getting smarter with your data.

The smarter data conversation was the perfect segue to the smarter sharing of information conversation. Enter APIs and integrations. Discussions on these topics focused on the need for a more collaborative, less-siloed businesses – starting with the tools you use. Many experts pushed beyond the idea of simply getting tools to work together. They opened listeners to the idea of getting tools to work together seamlessly in the context of one platform.

Users (aka your agents) don't want to move from app to app

Break down silos in your organization

Plus, the cloud debate isn’t vanishing any time soon. Dozens of brands announced new partnerships and tighter collaboration with some of the biggest names in cloud services, like Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, to make infinitely scalable and flexible cloud-native platforms a reality for more companies.

Digital transformation offers a unique opportunity for companies to look to the future and change the way they do business. And people are really jiving with the cloud right now. In fact, EC’s Contact Center Track Chair and leading industry analyst Sheila McGee-Smith is hosting an EC post-event webinar, and migrating to the cloud as a key topic in her conversation.

Captivating contact center sessions

Contact centers had quite the presence at EC19, and for the first time ever, a contact center session hit the main stage.

The session, Why Customer Engagement is Leading the Enterprise Communications Conversation, threw industry experts into the ring to talk about why CX is so transformative for companies. Turns out, a continuous investment in your customer experience, backed by the right technology and strategy, proves a positive return for your business.

Contact center's take the main stage at EC19

Then, our COO Pam Hynes, was a panelist in a practical session about contact center purchases, Contact Center After The Sale: The Good, the Bad, and the Reality. Dennis Goodhart, managing director of Abilita, led the discussion about purchasing a contact center platform to fit your business, instead of trying to conform to the mold of inflexible software. “Make sure your contact center fulfills YOUR needs, not (your vendor’s) needs,” said Goodhart.

Pam’s passion for customers lit up the room as she talked about choosing the right tools to drive better experiences for your customers. Pam has such an intense focus on doing what’s right for each individual customer, and for each agent. Even when it doesn’t translate to doing what’s easy. Her end-goal is always to solve for the unique needs of each customer and member on her team. The people-minded approach she radiates is nothing short of inspiring.

The panelists also talked on the strategy necessary to implement technology and run a successful contact center. Your contact center platform, no matter how amazing, isn’t the solution to your operational problems. It’s a utility belt to help you solve those problems, but your people and your strategy fix what’s broken. “Moving to the cloud will not fix a poorly-designed contact center,” said Frank Tersigni, Chief Customer Officer at Altivon.

What we were (especially) hyped about

There’s no avoiding our sheer excitement to launch the Agent Experience Score. Our team has been bursting at the seams to talk about this game-changing, new contact center metric. And, as usual for an event filled with tech-minded company leaders, EC is a hotbed for companies to announce new products and innovations. So we officially launched AXS and got to dish out all the details to our visitors and friends in the analyst community.

AXS offers up a way to finally fix your broken customer experience. For too long, contact centers have focused on how to improve the customer experience while taking no real leaps forward. That’s because a broken customer experience is a symptom of a broken agent experience. When you treat symptoms, you might get temporary relief, but it’s not a lasting cure. AXS gives you actionable data about your agents, so you can treat the root problem. Then, you’ll get rid of the lingering, painful symptoms for good.

Demoing Sharpen at EC19

Ventana research on Sharpen's Agent-First approach to contact centers

We created AXS to help managers develop their agents and access real data and agent sentiment to coach at an individual level.

When managers pair this new metric with contextual training and conversational coaching methods, they finally have a way to improve the agent experience. And then to improve the customer experience.

“Without a doubt, happier and better-trained agents can provide better service to customers and help improve CX and ultimately NPS. Sharpen’s focus on the building blocks of the contact center, the agent, is a great way to tackle the problem of improving customer satisfaction levels and ultimately building more profitable organizations,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO at TMC.

Learn more about AXS and how to make it work for your business.

We left the conference re-energized with new insight and innovation breaking grounds in contact centers and beyond. And we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.

See you next March, EC!