Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

It's Back - and You Can Participate: Interactive Intelligence's Outrageous Interactions Contest

July 23, 2009

Forget America’s Funniest Home Videos, Just For Laughs Gags, the famous old Candid Camera and the various odd blooper shows. The most hilarious and outrageous acts occur when people interact with people. And in these tough economic times we all need a good laugh.

And outrageous they are. Some years ago I wrote a story for Call Center Magazine on Butterball’s Turkey Talk Hotline, reported that one caller asked about cooking their bird on their 18-wheeler’s engine block (if it gets that hot then there’s a big problem there 10-4!) and another about bleaching the hapless fowl because their diners didn’t want dark meat.
So it is with applause that Interactive Intelligence has returned with its “Outrageous Interactions” contest, this time by video. And this year customers like you, indeed all of us are customers, can participate by sending in our videos.
Created as an entertaining way to raise the contact center industry’s visibility, the contest solicits videos based on real or fictitious scenarios that showcase a humorous and entertaining interaction between a caller and a contact center agent, telemarketer, or automated voice system. The winning video submission will receive a $5,000 cash grand prize. Those who submit videos by Sept. 30, 2009 will receive an additional $1,000 should their submission be selected as the winner. Interactive Intelligence is also offering monthly prizes, such as merchandise and tech gadgets, to those submitting videos throughout the contest.
Videos will be evaluated based on humor, creativity, and overall entertainment value. A short list of videos will be selected by a panel of judges made up of contact center industry experts. The winner will be selected by popular vote via the Interactive Intelligence video contest site.
There are a couple of differences from last year’s contest, the key one is that while it was based on written or recorded) outrageous interactions this year's is based on videos of such acts. Also, and more entertaining, revealing, and in fairness it now solicits customers as well as agents for their "outrageous interactions” rather agents alone.
The Interactive Intelligence “Outrageous Interactions” video contest will end on or before June 30, 2010. The video contest end date will be announced 30 days prior to the submission deadline.
Tracy R., a customer service specialist for a Tennessee-based bank won the 2008 contest and received the grand prize of a trip for two to Hawaii. Tracy won the contest by "popular" vote with the following customer service story entry:

“I received a call from a gentleman who was very upset:

- Caller: Somebody painted the outside of my branch!

- Me: Okay, sir, how can I help you today?

- Caller: Why would they paint the wall?

- Me: Well sir, it could be that the paint was scuffed, or there may have been graffiti. We try to keep our buildings looking nice.

- Caller: Well now I don't have my PIN number! How am I supposed to get my money out?

- Me: I'm sorry? I said, completely confused.

- Caller: I wrote my PIN number on the wall beside the ATM, and now they've painted over it! Why would they do that?

- Me: It sounds like they were trying to cover up the vandalism. I'd be happy to resend your PIN number to you.”

Tracy's customer service story entry beat out nine other finalists with 29 percent of the vote as a result of the online "people's choice" voting segment of the contest. The winning entry was announced on-stage in Los Angeles at the Internet Telephony Conference and EXPO ( ITEXPO WEST).

“We wanted to build on the outstanding response we had to our first contest last year that solicited written entries for outrageous call center stories as seen through the eyes of customer service reps,” says Interactive Intelligence senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Joe Staples. “With this year’s video contest, we look forward to an even more dynamic and entertaining exchange, highlighting the most outrageous facets of both sides of the customer service experience.”

Brendan B. Read is ContactCenterSolutions’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi