Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Turning Raw Data Noise into Actionable Intelligence in the Contact Center

December 19, 2013

Companies collect a lot of data these days, whether they want to or not. Whether it’s from the contact center in the form of call recording, screen captures, performance data, phone numbers from the ACD, usage patterns on the interactive voice response (IVR) system, customer self-service data, keystroke records, message board postings, social media posts or any other information source, it’s generally present and accounted for on most companies’ networks.

The trend today, of course, is to use this data to the benefit of the business. As recorded information sitting on a company’s various IT and telephone systems, of course, it’s just noise. It needs to be collected, extrapolated, collated, analyzed and interpreted first, and then it comes something called “actionable intelligence,” or information that allows a company to make smart choices about the business.

To help companies turn garbled and random information into real and usable data, the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) announced that it has released its 2013 report entitled, “A WOW Customer Journey: Actionable Data in Today's Multichannel Contact Center, a guide to the more effective use of data and analytics in a multichannel environment.”

It’s not only about running the raw information through an analytics system. Companies first need to identify which information to collect and which metrics to emphasize. Useless raw data put through an analytics solution will likely result in well-ordered but equally useless intelligence. The goal ICMI’s report was to find out how highly successful contact center organizations collect, analyze and use data to the best effect.

"In today's hyper-connected world, customers expect to have relevant and personal conversations through their channel of choice," said Sarah Stealey Reed, Content Director for ICMI, in a statement announcing the report. "Contact centers must know how to use customer and agent analytics to anticipate needs and short-circuit problems. If they understand what data are important, businesses can provide a much better multichannel experience."

The report reveals that there is still a long way to go when it comes to turning raw data into actionable intelligence. While more than two-third (67 percent) of contact centers currently use collected data to manage agent performance; less than half (48 percent) use data for identifying improvements in customer satisfaction. Fully 36 percent of respondents admitted they don't collect or use data at all.

While managing agent performance is critical, the analytics of “big data” has the potential to yield so much more to a contact center. It can help companies improve self-service options, it can lead to better scheduling and call routing, and it can even provide critical feedback on products and services that companies simply could not get from anywhere else. (What customers say and how they really behave are often very different.)

Reed notes that it’s not about how much data you have.

"It's about the insight you gain from the data that truly matters,” he said. “When you use contact center data as a solution, rather than an output, you'll find ways to make improvements at each step of the customer journey."

The difference between drowning in data and swimming strongly thanks to deep insight into the business may be a very fine line. It’s critical that companies today learn to understand the difference.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker