CCW Berlin 2018 – The challenges, conversations, and the fun

CCW Berlin 2018 was a delightful, often exhilarating four-day ride at the Estrel Congress Center from the 26th of February to the 1st of March ‘18. We were there to shake up the status quo in the world of call and contact centers. Though it’s too early to declare whether we did shake up the order, we did manage to strike detailed conversations with our current customers, active and passive prospects. There is no measurable value attached to obtaining the right feedback from the right audience at the right time. The CCW Berlin 2018 was perfect for such conversations.

What made us want to be a part of CCW Berlin 2018?

Freshcaller had been looking forward to attending the CCW Berlin 2018 since our launch in 2017. The Call Center World (henceforth also the Contact Center World) has been wowing audiences for the last twenty years. And so, we were obviously going to make the best use of our CCW Berlin 2018 experience by drinking beers and exploring Berlin 🙂

However, the real reason to be a part of this congregation of the European call center world was to interact with businesses of all sizes, from different geographies and with different requirements. This set the stage for some amazing interactions and knowledge sharing amongst our competitive peers as well as with businesses who wanted a long-term strategic partner rather than a solution provider for today’s problems.

Call center software needs to be customizable to make the entire call journey a personal experience for every individual caller.

We went in with the hypothesis that the role of phones in everyday business conversations was changing. Previously, phones used to be most certainly the primary form of interaction between the customer and the brand. Now, we pick up our phones to call when every other interaction is slow or fails to solve our problem. What we realized was that businesses are still considering phones as a vital communication channel even though the technological landscape has changed. When mid-market companies start catering to a large audience, phones become as essential as providing an email address for all employees.

Pre-event preparations for the CCW Berlin 2018

All the preparation, efforts and planning that was put into this event was not just about a trade show where we wanted to present our product to a broader audience. The greater objective was to show the world what we stood for.

Customers no more buy just products. Rather, they are more inclined to buy what a product stands for.

We have always tried to create a product that helps businesses deliver proactive customer support – a simple yet often underrated concept.
We prepared to use the four days of the CCW Berlin 2018 to emphasize the essence of proactive support to all the attendees of the conference. Be it our speeches or the feature demonstrations of our products or guiding you to relax at our booth to rest your tired legs, providing food for fuel, and conversations for the mind – we tried our best to be proactive.

With proactive support, a business can:

  • Increase customer happiness and retention.
  • Save time and resources by reducing the number of support queries.
  • Create good memories that make customers stick to your business for a long time.

And there was no better platform to discuss and exchange these thoughts than CCW Berlin 2018—one where almost every customer-centric business was part of.

Day of reckoning @ the CCW Berlin 2018

Themed around the most widely discussed concept of digitization, customer dialogue, AI and innovation, we were super-charged anticipating the possibility of engaging with close to 8000 curious visitors.

Stats @ CCW Berlin 2018

Eager to make the most out of this year’s CCW, we (Berlin and Chennai teams) came together to put our best foot forward.

We spent our Sunday before the event, setting up the booth, focus on getting the small things right. For example, we wanted to serve food to our visitors throughout the day and the marketing team took the onus of that task. We wanted our booth visitors to enjoy their day at the CCW Berlin 2018 as well as enjoy a good conversation with us.
Amongst the many things that were planned from our end for the four days, the wall of WOW moments, the live product walkthrough and discussions on the what and how of proactive customer support were our show stoppers.

Finally, with our entire checklist ticked off, we saw our efforts stand tall and refreshingly magnificent,

Freshworks booth at CCW Berlin 2018

CCW Berlin 2018 announcement tweet

Making the best use of our speaking opportunities

Each day at CCW was centered on a specific topic. Most of them were focussed on innovation, digitization, customer dialogue, artificial intelligence and contact center management to name a few.
And we had three speakers from Freshworks—Girish Shenoy, Andre Weideck and Arun Mani who had shared their thoughts on some of them.

Our speakers had carefully designed every speech to emphasize the importance of proactive support and tied it closely to explain how the latest technological advancements can be leveraged to offer the best customer support experience.

The AI dilemma @ the CCW Berlin 2018

Girish Shenoy, an AI and automation enthusiast spoke about the AI dilemma, and how a business can know if it’s AI is ready to go live.

AI has been a widely discussed topic for quite some time now. But not many of us have a clear idea as to what it’s all about. And most importantly if it can be of any use to our business.
When faced with a similar dilemma, there was a certain approach that we at Freshworks had taken. Girish had put forth this very dilemma in his speech at CCW Berlin 2018 and shared the approach that Freshworks had taken to solve it.

Girish Shenoy @ CCW Berlin 2018

AI and proactive support

Of the many questions on how AI can improve business, one question stood out up front.
Can AI be used to solve customer support issues? Being a business that helps solve customer issues, we had to figure it out.
After a lot of experimentation, we observed a bunch of things—what the AI is capable of, how well can it learn and how controllable is it.
If trained well, AI can reduce the dependency on support agents to handle issues that just need sharing relevant support documents with the customer. Also, an AI could be used to proactively route calls to the right support agents based on the type of queries.
So, certainly, AI is of great help to improve your customer support and have proactive conversations with customers.

The good to great of customer support at the CCW Berlin 2018

Andre Weideck, Head of Sales (DACH) from Freshworks spoke on ‘The good to great of customer support’ at CCW Berlin 2018, Messeforum. He brought in the essence of what differentiates a great support experience from a good one.

No business is oblivious to the importance of good customer support at present. And, most of them make continuous efforts to provide good support too. So then, to stand out from the normal, there is a need for great customer support. One that makes a customer go WOW and feel content.

In his speech, Andy highlighted that proactive support is the key differentiator between the good and great customer support. By doing so, they’ll start appreciating the attention and care that’s shown to them.
Small things like

  • Ensuring that no customer call is put on hold for more than a couple of minutes
  • Or barging in and attending queries that your support agent is struggling to answer

and so on makes all the difference. They’ll not mind paying more for your product when compared to a cheaper alternative. That’s the power of being proactive with your customer support.

Creating WOW moments with proactive support

Being proactive is a key differentiator for a customer to have the WOW moment with your business.

And that’s why, Arun Mani,  Managing Director of Europe, Freshworks had chosen to speak on this topic. He reinforced the instant gratification that a support team gets by being proactive in reaching out to their customers @ CCW Berlin 2018.

Arun Mani's speech @ CCW Berlin 2018

There’s a clear difference between ‘Oops! We’re sorry for the bad experience’ and ‘May I help you so that you don’t have a bad experience’.
And that’s what matters for a customer to hold on to your business in the long run. You don’t have a choice in being reactive to a customer reporting an issue. That’s something you ought to solve. But going that extra mile to proactively sort things before they blow up into issues shows the interest you have on your customer’s happiness and satisfaction.
Arun Mani had pointed out similar instances of why and how proactive support creates moments of WOW for your customers.
And with such good proactive support, you’ll be able to save up your money and time.

So, all these speeches had a good degree of response and had strongly reinforced our belief of proactive customer support to the listeners.

Live Call Center (LCC)

Apart from these speeches, a live call center(LCC) was also set up. It had brought the exact feel of using a real-time call center, right inside CCW.

On the whole, this was how the entire process worked.
Every visitor who entered the booth ran into a broken heater scenario. Given the temperature in Berlin(mostly sub-zero), they had directly called the brand’s support. Freshdesk with an embedded phone system (read as Freshcaller) handled the support calls as a part of LCC. As the next step, the heating company had sent a local technician to the customer’s place. Unable to find a solution, the technician called the company’s central support team and connected over a call to successfully fix the heater.
This way they had created a simulation of how a call center helped solve urgent customer issues. We had numerous conversations owing to our participation in the Live Call Center at the CCW Berlin 2018.

Niklas @ LLC @ CCW Berlin 2018

Best moments from other speakers at the CCW Berlin 2018

All four days had a series of speakers who shared their thoughts on innovation, customer dialogue, AI, and digitization.

On Day 1, the topic of interest had been innovation and how it mattered to move forward in customer service and delight.

And some notable ones that we could quickly step into were

– Christoph Berger and Markus Honraff from Team Bank AG on Virtual Reality!

speaker tweet 1 @ CCW Berlin 2018

– The one that made us get up from our seats was the one on digital beer glasses. True to the day’s topic—innovation, Thomas Nieraad from Rastal shared what drove him to experiment and embed a tracker chip in a beer glass. And how it helped him ace through customer loyalty and retention.

speaker tweet 2 @CCW Berlin 2018

In between all this, we had a quick guided tour around CCW 2018, where we got to meet and explore the other exhibitors.

And more so because we knew that the real action began on day 2—the 27th at CCW ‘18. Yes, Day 1 was a start with just the conference and Live Call Center (LCC). It was only from Day 2 that our booths were open to the visitors.

Day 2 and Day 3 also had some brilliant speakers who spoke on AI, customer dialogue, and profiling @ CCW.

Even though these tweets can’t say it all, you can have a fair idea of them.

– The one on ‘Is hierarchies at workplace good or bad?’

Speaker tweet 3 @ CCW Berlin 2018

– This one was on the power of profiling.

Speaker tweet 4 @ CCW Berlin 2018

Do head to our Twitter page to catch the entire CCW Berlin 2018 experience as well as to have a shot at some of our quirky perspectives on various topics. We are sure to attend it in the coming years owing to all the energy and network that we could build. And also because we look forward to meeting our German friends again.

Was it all work and no fun @ the CCW Berlin 2018?

These four days were not just about serious discussions and building partnerships but was also about celebrating the advancements and accomplishments in the call center world. Things are only going to get bigger and better the next time around!

It involved a fair share of fun too— at the DJ night celebrating 20 years of CCW. And, Team Freshcaller did try breaking a leg 🙂

DJ night @ CCW Berlin 2018

There couldn’t have been a better ending to this extravagance. Glad that CCW Berlin 2018 had been a wonderful host to us and we are pretty sure everyone who was a part of it would agree to it too.

Team Freshworks @ CCW Berlin 2018

Until next year, Auf Wiedersehen!

Team Freshcaller 🙂

Illustrations by Nikhil Kanda, Graphic Designer, Freshworks