PACE: Changing with the Times


PACE ASSOCIATION: Changing with the Times

The Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) stands alone as the only trade association that provides advocacy, compliance, education and networking to the contact center industry. For over 30 years PACE, formerly known as the American Teleservices Association (ATA), has represented the contact center industry in preserving the right for companies to communicate with their customers via the telephone. Whether it was in the halls of Congress or at the FCC and FTC, PACE took the lead on behalf of its members.

Times have changed and communication between companies and their customers is different. Customer satisfaction and the long-term value of that relationship is more important than ever. The method of communication now not only includes voice, but email, chat and SMS. Customers are deciding on how they want to communicate, not the other way around.

PACE is changing with the times. PACE is no longer just an advocate for the preservation of communication, though advocacy is still an important pillar of PACE. Providing company and individual compliance certifications through the PACE Self-Regulatory Organization and CECP programs is another value that we offer.

The real change is that PACE now offers certifications in several contact center operational areas. How many companies spend most of their time training frontline agents and skimp on or neglect training the operations team in the contact center? PACE will now be the resource, with our partnership with BenchmarkPortal—a leading provider of contact center education courses and certifications—to provide the much-needed educational opportunity for contact center managers, workforce, QA and supervisors to receive information that will help them prosper in their jobs.

CX is the buzzword today. How the customer is engaged and what the message is—this is the responsibility of marketing teams within brand companies. They monitor NPS, CSAT scores and other metrics to measure results. That is their job and many organizations and industry groups focus on this.

PACE recognizes that it is the contact center that delivers the direct one-to-one communication between a company and their customers. How a contact center is managed, how agents and operations teams are trained and compensated is such a vital link in the ultimate success that a company has with its customers. Frontline agents and supervisors know, before the brand, what the customer is saying. Doesn’t it make sense to talk with those team members? Doesn’t make sense to provide education to advance the individual performance of the team?

Of course it does, and that is what PACE is going to provide 365 days a year. Not through a once- or twice-a-year expensive tradeshow. PACE will do it through on-demand courses that are reasonably priced and effective. This will allow more team members within an organization to take advantage of the education provided and the certifications achieved.

Stuart Discount,
PACE Chairman and

PACE has a new CEO, Stuart Discount, a 30-year veteran of the contact center industry. PACE is already seeing a change in direction, as well as remaining the leader in advocacy, for the contact center industry. Proof of that is the leadership PACE has undertaken in an issue that jeopardizes legal and worthwhile communication between a company and its customers. Millions of calls are being blocked or mislabeled and that is affecting customer communication; not just in sales, but notifications, debt collections, non-profit fundraising and many others. PACE has organized the stakeholders into a coalition to find ways to make sure that good calls are not blocked in an attempt to stop illegal robocalls.

PACE represents brands, outsourcers, technology companies, consultants and non-profits. Only through PACE, can a company involved in the contact center industry obtain protection for communication, compliance certifications and contact center education. Belonging to PACE also gives companies and individuals networking opportunities and a sharing of issues that affect their companies and jobs.

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