The National Association of Call Centers has an interesting history. Back in 2003, as a professor conducting research on the call center industry, I had dinner with two friends who ran a very successful consulting business. At dinner we were discussing my research and they asked why I did not write a book around my findings. My response was that I was already writing academic articles and didn’t feel that more publications were needed. They informed me that they have call center professionals in their workshops on a weekly basis and many of these people have challenges that were being addressed by my research. They suggested I write a book that would target both the academic and call center professional audience. I obliged.
In 2004 my book, Bottom Line Call Center Management: Creating a Culture of Accountability and Excellent Customer Service was released. Although unplanned, the timing, coincided with the debates during the US Presidential campaign around outsourcing and the off shoring of American jobs. Call centers were often cited as a prime example of this off-shoring. My book, fresh off the press, was picked up by national and international media which in turn spawned a number of interviews in major outlets such as CNN and National Public Radio. The university where I teach and research was thrilled with the attention that was received and suggested that a center of excellence be created around my research.
Following the guidance of my Vice President for Research at the university, we created the Call Center Research Laboratory as a location to continue to collect solid academic research on the call center industry. We thought about calling it a Call Center Research Center but we thought that would be too many “centers” to keep up with. So in mid to late 2004 we launched the Call Center Research Lab and began to collect data in earnest.
What became apparent during this time was that although we could collect solid data on the call center industry, we did not have the mechanism with which to deliver this data to call center industry professionals. I contacted various organizations and publications but found that most were only interested in having me give them the data rather than working with the Call Center Lab as a partner. We found this arrangement to be rather one-sided so we searched for alternatives. Finding no alternatives available, we decided to launch an organization that would allow us to share our academic data with the call center industry. In late 2004 we began the process of creating what was to become the National Association of Call Centers.
The National Association of Call Centers (NACC) was launched in 2005 as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit membership organization. Unlike other membership organizations serving the call center industry we were not looking to turn a fast profit. Our objective was, and is, to create a solid, long-lasting, professional and trustworthy organization that serves the call center industry. Many call center professionals whose advice we trusted had warned us about some questionable operations and fly-by-night organizations in the industry. We chose to distinguish the NACC from disreputable organizations and adopted the non-profit structure in order to help assure the industry that we are different, we are here to stay and we intend to be a positive influence on the industry in the years to come.
In 2008 the NACC laid plans to expand industry research and coverage by bringing a different perspective to the organization’s ongoing research. As a result, the NACC has partnered with longtime industry analyst Paul Stockford and his firm, Saddletree Research, to expand the focus of our research. This additional perspective allows the NACC to provide its members deeper coverage in market technologies, vendors, emerging applications and solutions, important market trends and future industry developments.
The NACC continues to distinguish itself in the contact center industry by being the only industry organization fully supported by an academic institution, led by bona fide academic professionals and dedicated to providing research that meets university-level academic standards. As a non-profit organization, NACC members, sponsors and underwriters are assured of the integrity of the organization, its goals and its activities on behalf of the contact center industry.