Contact Centre Symposium 2024


This carefully crafted program combines inspiring keynotes with informal activities and time to build real relationships.

5 Key Challenges
* How do we practically implement AI in contact centres at a foundational level?
* What are the implications of a AI at a people level? What are the new skills you need for AI augmented teams and how do you upskill them?
* How do we put contact centres at the heart of CX strategy?
* Why should we be thinking more about careers, employee experience and the contact centre roles of the future?
* What is the basic formula to ask of your business to know whether you can go WFH, hybrid or need everyone back in the room?

Contact Centre Symposium agenda



Delegate registration


Welcome drinks





Laurence Fonsdituri

Opening Comments

Laurence Fonsdituri, Head of Customer Care, Coles



Sandro P
International Keynote
Don’t Jump the Gun – If You’re Going to Get AI Right, You’ve Got to Have Your Grounding

Sandro Percuoco, Head of Customer Service, Digital and Service Design, Ryanair


In our opening keynote presentation, we’re going to fortify you with the knowledge of what to do, where to start, and, most importantly, whether you’re ready to begin implementing AI into your contact centre.

After a quick overview of the latest available AI solutions, we will help you to identify the areas that AI can improve such as process optimisation, agent productivity, handling times and customer satisfaction. We’ll talk through how important it is to prepare your organisation and your Contact Centre for this journey and how to plan a tailored Roadmap. We’ll look at the importance of comprehensive data for selecting the customer query types to target at beginning, for training AI models, deploying appropriate AI bots and developing a continuous improvement approach.

In the second half of this presentation we will discuss how AI cannot live in isolation but needs to blend into your contact centre, integrate with your CRM and, above all, be a valuable companion to your Team. We’ll look at the importance of having training and awareness activities for your human agents and Management to familiarise with AI, to clarify roles and responsibilities and to foster a positive attitude to AI adoption across the board.


Partner Keynote: Contact Centre Automation – What is Real, What Operational Changes are Needed and What Cultural Shifts Require Attention?

James Johnstone, Director – Commercial Strategy, Datacom
Michael Bradley, Strategic Engagement Leader, Datacom

James JohnstoneMichael Bradley

Every day we are overwhelmed with messages from vendors on how much more efficient we could be if only we adopted their technology. This presents an opportunity; however, we have all become desensitised to these claims as they don’t necessarily follow through to reality. What we do know is that we have jobs to do – we all need to provide outstanding customer service experiences, we know we need to reduce friction in the experiences that we are offering to our customers, and we need to do all that in a more efficient way that is equally engaging for our people.

Advances in technology mean that we can all have technology first contact centres. Low value tasks, scaling and surfacing insights, enhancing quality are all domains that we can transform. Alone these would be magical enhancements for many centres in the country. We can go further as people continue to have a place, but it is how we can support our agents to really focus on the customer, empathise with the customer, and provide a value-added service that will turn the dial in reducing customer effort, increasing satisfaction, reducing attrition, and increasing employee engagement.


Emma Stapleton

All in on Experience – Why Delivering Great Customer & Employee Experience in Contact Centres Needs an All of Business Approach

Emma Stapleton, Head of Customer Support, MECCA


For too often, and for too long the Contact Centre has been misunderstood, whether it’s with data, the impacts of projects and activities, ways of working or the important function we play in business. To set ourselves on the right path, we must have business buy-in and how to get that is exactly what this session is going to tackle.

Join us as we explore how to move beyond the fact that Contact Centres often end up owning the consequences of the issues that they face but not the solutions. We need to delve into why this is the case and how to change that mindset if the ambition of Contact Centres as a value generator is going to be achieved. Many projects often claim benefits in the Contact Centre without a clear understanding, to make these benefits grounded and real we’ll take a look at overcoming the operational load of Contact Centres in addressing these challenges.

Through sharing some of the MECCA journey of success: you’ll leave with actionable tools to gain greater buy in from stakeholders and examples of how they can grow awareness of the Contact Centre within their business immediately.


Coffee Break & Networking



Brady J
Partner Breakout: Contact Centre AI: The Future of Contact Centres or a New Way to **** up Customer Experience

Brady Jacobsen, Chief Customer Officer,

Brace yourself for a raw and unfiltered dive into the world of Contact Centre AI (CCAI) and its impact on customer interactions. Armed with insights from twenty million conversations, we strip away the fluff and get straight to the core.

This isn’t about marketing or promises; it’s about understanding the real power of CCAI and how it can either revolutionize or royally **** up customer experience. Get ready to uncover the truth and take away a no-nonsense approach to CCAI implementation in your organisation.

Partner Breakout: Creating Unicorns and Becoming Exponential with GenAI – A Contact Centre View

Stephen Gibb, Senior Director Solution Consulting, Customer Workflow, ServiceNow
James Burgess, Director of Customer Experience, and Industry Workflows, ServiceNow

Stephen GibbJames Burgess

Our latest research showed that Aussies spent a whopping 107 million hours on hold in 2023, up 11% comparing to the year before. 1 in 3 customers have now lost trust that customer service can actually help them. How can this be when organisations have invested millions in improving it?

When we asked Aussies what they want, they said three simple things: Speed – have their issues resolved faster; Accessibility – getting service whenever, wherever they want; and Empathy – to talk to service agents who genuinely care.

What could you do differently to ensure your contact centre is providing customers what they want?

In this session we’ll show you how to get started with GenAI to finally give customers the service they expect, unburden employees, and unlock their potential and connect the organisation to deliver streamlined customer outcomes.

Lukas C

Partner Breakout: Redefining Customer Experience in the AI Era: Beyond Artificial Intelligence

Lukas Carruthers, Customer Experience (CX) Specialist, Zoom


The buzz around generative AI may lead some to believe that it along will revolutionise customer experience and solve all business challenges. However, in a landscape of tight budgets and relentless competition, relying solely on AI, digital innovations, and self-service business solutions can only take CX so far. True transformation lies in integrating AI seamlessly into the broader customer journey, empowering human agents with AI-driven tools, and establishing interconnected workflows across departments.

Join Zoom to explore the multifaceted approach needed to design the next-generation customer experience blueprint.


How to Instil Best Practice and Find What’s Right for You in Hybrid Working Environments

Moderated By: Laurence Fonsdituri, Head of Customer Care, Coles
Elisa Iurato, Chief of Community, Retail & Supporter Experience, World Vision Australia
Bette Safour, National Contact Centre Manager, Teachers Mutual Bank
Darren Sutton, Associate Director of Customer Services, Healthshare NSW
Robert Tolliday, Vice President, Sales, hipages

Bette SafourDarren SuttonRobert Tolliday
Coles, World Vision Australia, TMB, Healthshare NSW, hipages

In this panel discussion, by hearing from a showcase of industry leaders with different perspectives and opinions, you’ll walk away knowing whether or not your business is best suited to office, home, hybrid and knowing when to strike the balance. The core problem is how to manage hybrid workforces to perform at an elevated level. Truth be told, we all know that what works for one doesn’t work for another, so this session is designed to help you understand the right path for you to take. To do so, this panel explore the following points:

– How do you instil discipline in yourselves as leaders, so you know precisely what you and your business want?
– What are the KPI differentiators between in-the-office Vs work-from-home?
– How do you manage diverse needs of employees, when some can demonstrably work from home, but others require a lot of support?
– In what ways do office proponents demonstrate the value of coming-in to employees?
– How do you foster a sense of connection and purpose in a virtual environment?
– Do WFH opportunities improve employee engagement and retention rates in a busy call centre working environment?


Partner Breakout: Empowering Connections at WSU – A Service Transformation Success Story

David Flanagan, Head of Digital and AI, Nexon
Melissa Hatherly, Practice Adoption Advisory, Contact Centre Project, Western Sydney University

David FlanaganMelissa Hatherly
Nexon, Western Sydney Uni

Discover how Western Sydney University, in collaboration with Nexon Asia Pacific, reimagined the way they connect with students and enhance staff efficiency through digital innovation.

This discussion offers an inside look at their journey, highlighting how strategic technology adoption has improved student engagement across various digital platforms, and streamlined staff workflows.

Hear firsthand accounts of this initiative and learn how the integration of digital tools and AI has positioned WSU as a future-ready institution, focused on enhancing student engagement and operational efficiency.

Partner Breakout: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going – A Conversation on AI, Excellence, Collaboration and A Rapidly Changing Environment

Avryl Zangalis, Head of Service Delivery Contact Centre, CPA Australia
Ben Hancock, Manager, ANZ – Digital, Analytics & AI, NICE

Avryl ZangalisBen Hancock
CPA Australia, NICE

CPA has been on a journey, and one that has turned their Contact Centre into a Centre of Excellence. By moving away from traditional KPI’s and towards cultivating a culture that prioritises members service from top to bottom.

In this special fireside chat NICE’s Ben Hancock is going explore, along with CPA’s own Avryl Zangalis, how CPA Australia has upgraded its legacy contact centre solution towards a model that empowers its contact centre agents with access to real-time coaching and near-real-time insights that help drive efficiencies across it’s operations.

For the second half of our time we’ll be looking at the role of AI, what does it mean in the contact centre now? What will it mean in the future? And what has it meant for CPA? Navigating, selling, and educating on AI is a genuine challenge and we’ll be looking to how you can balance time investment, resources, and operational efficiencies to get the best out of it.


Networking Lunch


Creating an Omnichannel – the Technology, the Methodology, and the Psychology

John Connolly, Head of Customer Contact Centre, Newcastle Permanent Building Society
Kristy Ingall, Manager, Customer Operations, Newcastle Permanent Building Society

John ConnollyKristy Ingall
Newcastle Permanent Building Society

Navigating through myriad challenges, this session will address the significant increase in call and online channels alongside growing latency in physical branch transactions. Upholding world-class service levels, Newcastle Permanent have digitised processes to handle complex inquiries and rising call volumes. We’ll also look at managing risks in a fraud and scam environment, we also address scrutiny on FTE resource availability amidst increased attrition, introducing hybrid working approaches.

In technology, our focus will be showing how to deliver new enhancements like cloud migration while minimising disruptions to the agent and customer experience. We leverage technology to address latency in regional areas while maintaining world-class customer service. By funnelling all channels through our technology platform, we ensure consistent delivery to staff, irrespective of team or location. Moreover, we’re utilising technology to shift responsibilities traditionally handled in face-to-face interactions.

After touching on the methodology component of making this happen, such as building a capability uplift programme for staff to interact with customers with on their channel of choice, we’ll finish up by looking at the psychological component of transformation and how to ensure visibility, empathy and consistent leadership.


Wine Tasting

Hosted by Verint

Workshop: AI and Wine

Simon Kriss, Chief Innovation Officer, Customer Experience Innovation Institute

Simon Kriss
Simon Kriss ai

Join this workshop for the double whammy experience. Your workshop leader is both a published author on the topic of AI in CX and holds a master’s degree in Wine! Experience both AI and Wine together.

AI, like wine, is experiential and this session will deliver both the theory and practice of using AI and of wine tasting. This workshop is for beginner to novice users of AI, as well as beginner to novice wine snobs.

In the workshop you will discover:
• The basics of Artificial Intelligence both traditional and generative
• The basics of wine tasting
• Use cases for AI that you can immediately take back to your workplace and experiment with
• Practical use of generative AI – you will build you own bot and manage its persona
• Practically drink and evaluate wines!

This session will be insightful, pragmatic and FUN.

Your workshop leader is Simon Kriss. Simon is Australia’s leading voice on the use of AI in CX and author of “The AI Empowered Customer Experience” (which each participant will receive a free copy of). His hobby is wine judging, and he holds a master’s degree in Viticulture and Wine Tech from Melbourne University.


Hosted by Calabrio



Hosted by weploy



Relax + Recharge


Pre-Dinner Drinks Reception

Hosted by Ashton Media


Gala Dinner

Hosted by Webex








Laurence Fonsdituri

Opening Comments

Laurence Fonsdituri, Head of Customer Care, Coles



Steve Jurisic
Partner Keynote: How Will AI Affect the Evolution of CX and the Contact Centre

Steve Jurisic, Lead Customer Experience and Solutions Engineer, RingCentral


AI is already starting to shape the customer experience and the ways in which contact centres operate, but just how ready are Australian organisations to embrace the change and take full advantage of the opportunities of this emerging technology? RingCentral’s Steve Jurisic examines the impact of AI on people and process in-depth, drawing on his organisation’s experience in delivering AI-driven solutions at all stages of the customer journey.


Katalin Fritz
International Keynote
Sophisticated, Agile & Adaptable: Creating Complex Thinkers for the Future Amongst Your Agents

Katalin Fritz, Chief Customer & People Officer, Marley Spoon

Marley Spoon

In this presentation, you’ll be walking away having heard an in-depth case study on how to successfully upskill your work force to deal with complex and sophisticated scenarios, fortifying you for a world where much of the simple stuff will be taken up by automation. We’ll begin by outlining the technical skills that are going to be required for contact centre agents to understand and troubleshoot problems that may arise from intricate product features and the ability to troubleshoot and find solutions beyond basic customer needs. We’ll also handle how to develop the soft-skills, and what the requirements will be if outsourcing, to maintain effective communication and active listening. The need to build rapport will be especially key.

Then we’ll move on to enhancing critical thinking, what are the most utilitarian scenario-based training exercises that’ll help develop skills the quickest and find the areas that are the most likely to be unsolvable through automation. Finally, this session will touch on how to embed a culture of continuous learning and adaptability, staying up to date on product developments, access to online resources and giving autonomy in areas of each employee would like to be sophisticated in.


Phillip Townsend
Partner Keynote: AI in CX: The Dawn of a New Age… So Why Aren’t People Taking the Leap?

Phillip Townsend, Digital and AI Lead, APAC, Genesys


It’s rather the point, isn’t it? Multi-million-dollar business investments in new technology that people hardly understand is a leap of faith, and, despite the fact that most execs say they will leverage AI in 2024, multi-million-dollar business decisions aren’t made on faith – perhaps this is why Forbes state that 84% of Digital and AI Transformations fail.

We all know the value is there, but making the jump is more difficult that knowing you need to do it. In this session we’ll be looking the biggest barriers to AI adoption, how to overcome them, balancing AI tech with personalised human interactions and the ways in which AI-driven analytics can enhance our understandings of customer behaviour. Lastly, we’ll wind up this keynote with an exploration of the ethical considerations that need to be in place when implementing AI.


Joel Johnson
International Keynote
Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences: Pipedream or Pipeline to Success?

Joel Johnson, Contact Centre Executive Leader (USA)

In this keynote, we’ll discuss company aspirations of delivering exceptional customer experiences in the context of organizational factors necessary to achieve this objective and how contact centre teams can support alignment and accomplishment by utilising information and implementing practices to surpass customer expectations successfully and consistently.

Area’s we’ll touch on are developing the right mindset within your time by understanding, through recognition and flexibility what motivates your team. How to make a difference and make it last through highlighting practices that show your contact centre teams that their inputs are valued, acted upon, and used to drive customer-focused change. Finally we’ll look at futureproofing exceptional service by showing how to create a virtuous cycle of interactions between customers, contact centres and leadership that remains highly aware, nimble, and responsive to what your customers really want.


Coffee Break & Networking



Deanne Martin
How Do We Best Maximise Data in Recruitment?

Deanne Martin, Current Head of Customer Services, SEEK – ANZ


In this discussion group, we’re going to be looking at the how data can be the key to personalising recruitment within customer service. Your questions will be:

– How, if at all, are you using data in your CX currently?
– What would you most like to get out of personalisation?
– How much are you excited by data integration – or does it just all sound like hard work?
– Are there specific training programs that can help employees feel more empowered?
– In what ways can data be designed to enhance the human touch in customer interactions?

Gabrijela Juel

What Does the Contact Centre Employee of the Future Look Like?

Gabrijela Juel, Director, Customer Experience, Domain


For all those joining this think tank, we’ll be having a grounded yet speculative look at the roles of the future.

Your agents of the future are going to be value generating assets to your company, particularly as retention increases in importance due to macroeconomic trends. As such, the questions for exploration are:

– What is the best-case and worst-case scenario for what the contact centre role of the future looks like?
– How should we be changing the way that we on-board and maintain support for our team so that roles evolve in the best way possible?
– Should we all have dedicated in-house trainer roles and operational capability consultants?
– How important is building a brilliant employee experience going to be for getting ahead of the curve?

Kirillee Mahon
How do you ensure the Best Contact Centres whilst dealing with Increased Operating Costs?

Kirillee Mahon, National Retention and Complimentary Products Contact Centre Manager, Bupa


The integration of AI and it’s technological components are expensive. Having trained and competent staff to manage the more complex issues are expensive. And all the while businesses are tightening their belts and looking to make savings wherever they can.

So, how are leaders able to cope? In this think tank we’ll discuss the following:

– What do you think is the biggest challenge to contact centres in a cost-of-living crisis?
– Should the employee or customer come first in a cost-of-living crisis?
– How can companies adapt contact centre operations to remain financially viable during a cost-of-living crisis?

Emily Bayford
What are the Best Ways of Enhancing Vendor Collaboration?

Emily Bayford, Senior Manager, Contact Centres, Australian Super

Australian Super

In this think tank, we’ll be focusing on how to optimise vendor collaboration for effectiveness in your contact centre. Goodness knows, it isn’t always easy.

Your thought-starter questions are:

– What do you need to guarantee you’re going to get when you’re signing on the dotted line?
– What are the keyways for aligning their solutions with your individual contact centre goals?
– Which are some of the best solutions you’ve used and how do you measure performance?
– Are there any strategies that can be implemented to continuously enhance performance?
– How has technology and AI shifted these relationships?

Leeanne Wrigley


How Do You Harmonise the Human Connection to Make a Difference?

Leeanne Wrigley, Senior Change and Implementation Lead, Woolworths Group

Woolworths Group

As AI continues to transform the landscape of contact centres, the role of human agents becomes increasingly nuanced. So the question arises: how do we get that high level of sophistication of human touchpoints with our customers?

With that in mind, we’ll touch on:

– What are the most vital elements of human customer care to hold onto in the face of AI adoption?
– How do you build technical literacy and creativity beyond competency?
– How do you build a culture of continuous improvement with your people strategy?
– What does a technical solution look like when finding the people/technology balance?

Luke Jones Power

Was it a Misconception that Hybrid Was Going to Become the New Normal?

Luke Jones-Power, Head of Customer Support, Youi Insurance


Let’s get real about hybrid work in contact centres! Join to dive into what’s worked, what hasn’t, and where we’re headed with hybrid work.

– What did we think hybrid work would be like and how is it really going?
– How has the adaptation not necessarily worked out?
– If it has, how have you made it work?
– Are people more or less engaged and how do we keep teams motivated?
– What are the tools available to make it work if you need to, and what still needs fixing?
– Where do you see the future of hybrid going?


Angelo Azar

Don’t Care How, I Want it Now! How on Earth do we Manage Always Rising and Ever-Changing Customer Expectations?

Angelo Azar, Chief Operating Officer, Honey Insurance

Honey Insurance

Customers want instant gratification. The demand to meet the rising expectations of customers within contact centres is only increasing as we make our way through this cost-of-living crisis. You always need to be a step ahead. What is amazing today, becomes standard next year and that includes the channels that I can engage on. The list of options goes well beyond calling and many young people expect to connect digitally. In this session, we’ll be delving into the questions and providing the answers on how to anticipate what the developing trends are in customer expectations and the strategies for adaptation around them.

Shaping the session will be: How do you select the channels that are most effective? How do you make these stand up in a cost efficient and effective way? How do you balance data security with the need to provide a personalised digital customer experience tailored to their own journey? What are the skills needed to ensure consistency across channels, particularly transitioning from bot to agent? Finally, we’ll explore the paradox of increased demand for self-service whilst also making sure that you’ve got the human touch covered – it’s this that’s going to set you apart from the rest!


Tim Johnson

Automation for Augmentation: How Suncorp are Accelerating the Application of AI in Contact Centres

Tim Johnson, Head of Automation, Suncorp


In this presentation, you’ll be hearing from Tim Johnson from Suncorp who will be taking us for an in-depth look at how Suncorp have accelerated the application of AI in their organisation. The whole premise of AI in contact centres is to take away the inability to solve complex problems for clients and customers. You’ll hear how Suncorp have given their contact centres the ability to observe, orientate and act when dealing with issues by putting GenAI at the heart of what they do.

This session will also focus on how you can train your teams to utilise GenAI and how, through the use of an AI-driven Q&A platform, the ability to for agents to ask sophisticated questions will lead to a huge uplift in speed to competence for the team and the CX experience for the customer.


Lunch & close of Symposium