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Customer Service Innovators 2023: Meet the Leaders Transforming Contact Centers

At the start of 2022, many contact center leaders looked forward to a year focused less on pandemic-related challenges and more on their customers. Instead, the industry was met with one of their hardest years yet.

A post-Covid rebound in industries like travel, hospitality, and retail saw unpredictable customer demand skyrocket. Meanwhile, it was more difficult than ever to hire and retain customer service agents amid continued staffing, training, and retention challenges.

But despite these obstacles, many leaders saw opportunity. The 2023 Customer Service Innovators were selected for their commitment to their people and their customers. They found creative ways to drive value amid an uncertain economy, while using cutting edge technology to create better customer experiences while making their agents’ lives easier.

The evaluation of nominees came down to three main criteria:

  • Inspiration: Do they inspire, lead from the frontlines and lift up their teams regardless of circumstances?
  • Boldness: Are they going against the grain in otherwise traditional industries and challenging the status quo?
  • Early adopters: Do these leaders identify and test new technologies and techniques to better their contact center?

Our annual list of customer service innovators is an unranked showcase of leaders from a variety of industries including retail, insurance, financial services, consulting, travel and more. Each person on this list demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

Top 50 CX Innovators of 2023:

Eli Acosta
Northwell Health
Director of Revenue Cycle Management Contact Center
Garima Agarwal
Williams Sonoma
VP Technology for Mobile, E-commerce, Stores & Innovation
Paul Anderson
Globe Life
VP of Call Center Operations
Anthony Bagio
Hawaiian Airlines
Senior Director, Customer Contacts
Karen Basting
Director of Customer Services
Mike Bowman
Senior Director, Operations
Michelle Buckley
Southwest Airlines
Senior Director of Engagement, Customer Experience
Colleen Castleman
Tivity Health
VP of Call Center Operations
Jason Coats
Choice Hotels
Senior Director, Customer Care Strategy
Eileen Collins
Director of Accessible Transportation Programs
Sophie Conti
Customer Service Lab
Founder & CEO
Jason DaCosta
VP, Customer Operations
Damon Davis
Director of Member & Provider Services
Hannah Day
Paramount Hospitality Group
Director of Revenue Management & CRO Operations
Heather DeSantiago
Life Storage
Director of Customer Care
Tom Dietrich
Vice President, Contact Center Technology
Kacey Felila Tolua
Senior Director, Channels and Self Service - CEC Technology, Product Services
Marriott International
Mark Freeman
Rentokil Terminix
Rana Ghosh
Spirit Airlines
Vice President, Omnichannel Commerce, Loyalty, and Guest Care
Kevin Hall
Navy Federal Credit Union
VP Contact Center Operations
Vanessa Hardy-Bowen
Spirit Airlines
Director of Guest Cate & Contact Centers
Kirk Hartman
American Specialty Health
AVP of Support
Nannalee Haywood
Automobile Club of Southern California
VP Automotive Services
Jesse Horsley
JetBlue Airways
General Manager, Customer Experience
Shep Hyken
Shepard Presentations, LLC
Chief Amazement Officer and Customer Service Speaker
Dilhara Kaluarachchi
Public Storage
VP Customer Care
Martin Lampman
British Columbia Lottery Corp
Director, Customer Support Operations
Sara Martinez Volkmar
KAL Tire
Manager Services Centres
Sheila McGee-Smith
President & Principal Analyst
McGee Smith Analytics
Brien Mikell
Love's Travel Stops
Director of Customer Engagement and Contact Center Operations
Mike Milburn
Lorene Miller
Southern California Edison
VP Customer Service Operations
Collin Moody
Alberta Motor Association
Chief Transformation Officer
Maria Moore
Coastal Federal Credit Union
VP Operational Improvement Programs
Veronica Moturi
Brinks Home
SVP Customer Experience
Christy Oakland
Holland America
VP, Global Contact Center Operations
Mark Oldani
John Parente
Stanley Steemer
Director, Contact Center
Scott Phillips
Texas Health Resources
VP Virtual Care Center, Patient Access Services
Sai Ramani
Principal Technical Product Manager
Lisa Rivier
AAA - Mountain West Group
Director, Operations & Product Management
Camille Rosales
Hippo Insurance
Vice President, Customer Support
Joe Russo
AAA - The Auto Club Group
Assistant Vice President, Automotive Services
Tim Tarantello
Rollins Orkin
Managing Director, Orkin Customer Contact Centers
Stephenie Tiedens
Principal Financial Group
Head of Engagement Center Shared Services
Ana Torres
American Airlines
Director, Transformation & Technology
Vince Trotter
National Debt Relief
VP Client Success
Daryl Unger
Vice President, Customer Experience
Rachel Walker
United Airlines
Managing Director Innovation & Solutions for Customer Contact Centers
Tanya Weigelt
CAA - Club Group
Director, Club Operations
Terrian Williams-Hall
Director, Office of MetroAccess Services
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