Wednesday, February 23, 2005

RSA (& other Tradeshows ) Point To Industry Priorities

This month my staff and I got to see a couple of different trade events in action.

The first was RSA's big security show, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Wow. If there were a clever way of combining "Security" and "Lollapalooza," I'd try it. Lollasecuralooza? Hmm. Can't make that work - but, I digress.

The show was packed. We had many clients there, all of which were literally thrilled by the number of quality leads they got at the show. CIOs, CSOs, CISOs - all the C-suite suits were there, apparently. And one of our clients threw a kickin' party, complete with "Bacardi Girls" and hot-pepper-eating-contests, which always helps set a nice tone, if you ask me.

At another show, this week, the vibe at SpeechTek was more subdued. My staffers were literally mobbed at each booth they visited, by over-eager salespeople desperate for a whiff of a scrap of a lukewarm lead.

This makes me curious.

Certainly, "Security" is hot. No question. Just ask Paris ("That's Hot") Hilton about the need for tighter security.

But, did you know that more than 85% of all consumer contact with corporate brands occurs via phone? Not email, not Web self-service. Nope, the phone is still far-and-away Numero Uno when it comes to customer service and other inquiries.

So many millions of $$$ have been spent on CRM, you'd think that companies would be keen on ensuring that their call center (the most common point of customer contact) is rockin'. But by the looks of things at SpeechTek, apparently this ain't the case.

It's good to know, as a consumer, that our customer data will eventually be totally secure. But if we hate all of the vendors, due to their cruddy customer service, who's going to want to BE a customer in the first place?

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