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Interview with Mike Aoki

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Interviews,

Mike Aoki

Mike Aoki

Key Topics:Contact Center Sales & Customer Service
Location:Toronto, Canada
Bio:

Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc., a Canadian training company that helps contact centers improve their sales and customer experience results. A contact center expert, Mike was chosen by ICMI.com as one of the "Top 25 Thought Leaders for 2021." He is a frequent contributor to "Contact Center Pipeline" magazine and a member of their Advisory Board. He also serves on the board of GTACC (the Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre association) and has spoken at a number of their conferences. He co-authored the Amazon #1 bestselling leadership book, "Called to Action."

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

Through real life experience and extensive research. I started in electronic industry sales, then two years later I moved into a contact center customer service role for several years. So, I learned firsthand how to provide great sales and service for my customers. After that, I became a sales trainer for a large telecom company. After four years in that role, I moved into managing the contact center training team at another large telco. So, I have done both sales and service roles and trained people on those skills. Then, I started my own training company several years ago to help my corporate clients improve their employees’ skills in those areas.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

I love helping contact center team members learn how to handle irate customers. There is a real skill in helping customers when they are upset.

Who influences you within these topics?

Within the contact center industry, Sangeeta Bhatnagar, Susan Hash, Leslie O’Flahavan, Jeremy Watkin, Neal Topf, Neal Dlin and Jenny Dempsey are all big influences. For general motivational, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer and Brian Tracy are some of my favourite authors.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Brands face the risk of having customer service issues go viral. To prevent this, front line employees must be trained to provide great customer service.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

While artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots and virtual agents help companies automate routine interactions, there is a need to up-skill existing staff to handle the remaining issues. Those issues tend to be more complex. They require elevated customer service and problem solving skills.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Unfortunately, it seems most brands are struggling with how to balance AI-to-human and human-to-human interactions.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I have spoken at conferences, as well as on panels, podcasts and webinars. I have also helped brands by writing whitepapers and blog posts. Sponsorship of public training workshops is another possibility

What are your passions outside of work?

I love spending time with my wife and son. We go on nature walks and scenic drives. I am also a huge fan of action and sci-fi movies.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Email.


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