John Ragsdale is vice president of technology research for the Technology Services Industry Association. Ragsdale’s attending Technology Services World Silicon Valley and providing reports from the scene, where several sessions are so popular the crowds are standing room only. Republished with permission from Ragsdale’s Eye on Service.

One of the many things our intrepid Events Project Manager, Christi Holzer, does at each event is send me a list of top attended sessions for the previous day. I see this as great information, indicating the hottest topics and trends. For Tuesday’s sessions, one breakout proved extremely popular with 129 attendees! Here are the top attended sessions for yesterday, each receiving more than 70 attendees.

  1. Support Services: Transform or Perish? In the last few conferences, our top attended sessions were all panel discussions. Not only are panels a nice break from the traditional “stand and deliver” conference speeches, but you get to hear from a variety of companies, each with a unique perspective. This panel discussion, with standing room only at 129 attendees, included Ana Pinczuk, Vice President, Cisco Systems; Medi Goker, Vice President, Proactive Support Center, Oracle; Dave Cutler, Vice President, Global Technical Support, Novell; Todd Hewlin, Managing Director, TCG Advisors; and Brad Smith, Vice President, Global Support Experience, Yahoo!
  2. The Five Myths of Customer Service Satisfaction: Setting Your Sights on the Right Targets. This session, presented by Michael D. Clarkin from Sykes Enterprises, had a whopping 95 attendees (in a room designed to hold 70), covering an increasingly political topic: customer satisfaction. I can vouch for the quality of this content; we recently did a webcast with Michael on this topic–you can watch the OnDemand version on the TSIA Website.
  3. Start the (Metrics) Revolution. Another topic usually on the top attended list is online communities and social media, and this year was no exception. This session, led by Francoise Tourniaire, FT Works; Rob Shapiro, Oracle; and Shawn Santos, TSIA, examined the evolving world of metrics for social service with an eye toward creating some standards and best practices. The session had 83 attendees.
  4. Moving Beyond Break-Fix: New Metrics for the Brave New World of Outcome-Based Support. I’m very tickled to see this session make the top attended list, with 81 attendees, because I was moderator for the session. Phil Verghis of the Verghis Group, and Marco Bill-Peter from Red Hat, discussed Red Hat’s impressive journey from reactive metrics to outcome based support, including a big focus on knowledge centered support (KCS) to improve knowledge management creation and use. I really enjoyed the session–Marco is a bit of a rock star–and several attendees told me afterwards it was the best session they attended so far. Phil, always pushing new approaches, challenged some best practices–including benchmarking–and gave me a LOT to think about.
  5. Agents, Answers & Taxes, an Intuit Case Study: Centralized Knowledge – Better, Faster Answers for Customers. Knowledge management is always a hot topic at TSW, and it is no surprise a case study from Intuit made the top attended list with 78 attendees. Can you imagine supporting TurboTax the week before April 15th? The session, led by Jody Weir and Patsy Nations from Intuit, and Chris Hall from InQuira, recapped Intuit’s journey to consolidate to a single enterprise knowledge platform to service 5,000 agents and over 26 million customers in just 6 months.
  6. Why and How to Build and Successfully Launch a Premium Technical Support Business. Clearly finding new ways to generate services revenue is a challenge for every TSIA member, and in this session, with 78 attendees, Wynn Grubbs from PlumChoice, a leading provider of white label Technology Care solutions for their partners’ consumer and small business markets, discussed proven ways to provide scalable premium technical support to your customers while reducing costs, increasing revenue and improving customer satisfaction. I had dinner last night with the PlumChoice team, and Wynn said he had a full room for his session–and indeed he did!
  7. Making the Tangible Real for Customers: Best Practices for Marketing and Selling Professional Services. This session, led by Lance Miller, Vice President, Global Services Marketing, Teradata and Thomas Lah, Executive Director, TSIA, discussed best practice approaches to marketing professional services that result in excited customers who are motivated to buy your offers and empowered sales reps who are comfortable leading the services sales discussion. The session had 76 attendees.
  8. Using Social Support to Enhance Knowledge Sharing and the Customer Experience from VMWare and Consona. Another great session on social media, and another great customer case study from an early adopter. This session was presented by Lynn Llewellyn, Director, Knowledge Management, VMware; and Gregg Palaian, Customer Account Manager, Consona CRM; and explored how VMware’s introduction of social media into the support organization has enhanced knowledge sharing and transformed the way they communicate with customers. The session had 75 attendees.
  9. Resolution Management Index: The New Industry Standard for Measuring and Managing Case Resolution. Retired from TSIA but still making waves in the industry, SSPA’s founder Bill Rose, now CEO of Bill Rose I.N.C., along with Dave Brown, President, Support Center University, walked attendees through the process they used to develop the new Resolution Management Index, a sophisticated approach to understanding a very complex metric–incident resolution time. The session received 72 attendees.

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ABOUT John Ragsdale

Avatar photoJohn Ragsdale is vice president of technology and social research for the Technology Services Industry Association. He writes a regular blog, Eye on Service, for the TSIA.