Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

DMG Report Predicts Rapid Adoption of Contact Center Analytics Solutions

April 14, 2009

Due to the down economy, most companies aren’t having much luck in terms of attracting new customers. So instead they’re focusing on keeping their existing customers happy.

As a result, companies -- in particular merchants -- are putting a much stronger emphasis on customer experience. Whether they sell goods or services to consumers or other businesses, companies need to do everything they can to ensure their customers get the best service possible – whether it’s providing extra training for sales reps or contact center agents, improving Website functionality or offering better product support. Otherwise, in this current economic climate, customers could easily jump ship and go with a competitor.

The big challenge for merchants today is measuring the customer experience from every touch point. Most companies today are multi-channel -- meaning they do business through two or more mediums, such as the Internet, telephone, retail location or through the mail. They do this to enable their customers to do business the way they feel most comfortable – to use the mode of contact they prefer. This, in turn, drives customer satisfaction and loyalty.

But in order to get a true measure of customer satisfaction, merchants need to measure it for every channel through which they do business. Collecting the data from different customer touch points is one thing -- being able to combine and then analyze it for the purpose of getting a holistic view of the customer experience is quite another.

This is where analytics software is playing an increasingly important role. Using today’s analytics solutions for the contact center, merchants can measure customer satisfaction across every touch point and uncover weak links in the transactional chain. They can then make adjustments in each channel to “tweak” the customer experience and gain a competitive edge.

In the world of contact center analytics, two new types of solutions have emerged: Customer experience analytics (CEA), which is an externally-oriented application that assesses the customer experience during every touch point (self-service, agent interactions and the fulfillment process), and desktop analytics (DA), which is an internally-focused solution that measures departmental performance and the agent's interaction with desktop servicing applications.

CEA reduces agent call volumes and DA reduces agent average handle time (AHT). These solutions also help contact center and enterprise managers address important goals such as revenue generation, reducing customer attrition, increasing the use of self-service applications, improving agent satisfaction, and more.

According to DMG Research, these solutions are already seeing strong adoption in a range of verticals. What’s more they are making positive contributions to contact centers and their customers.

DMG Consulting’s new “Contact Center Analytics: Emerging Customer Experience and Desktop Analytics Solutions Report” predicts that the number of CEA and DA solutions deployed will grow rapidly over the next three years, approaching 1,000 by the end of 2011 – this despite the recession. The number of DA seats is expected to exceed 1.5 million during the same period, the report predicts.

"Desktop analytics provides transparency into how agents interact with their servicing applications, eliminating the last black hole in contact centers," said Donna Fluss, president of DMG, in a statement. "CEA solutions measure the customer experience throughout the service lifecycle. These applications are delivering cost savings of 5 to 10 percent to organizations. When implemented properly, they help managers achieve their cost savings goals while improving the customer and agent experience. In short, they are a gift for our troubled times."

Using these solutions, contact center managers can determine how well their agents are performing – either as a whole, by group, or by the individual agent. For example, certain agents might need additional IT skills training because they keep slowing down when they get to a certain screen when placing orders. Through this detailed analysis of agent performance, managers can react quickly and make adjustments in customer service, thus greatly improving the customer experience.

What’s more, these solutions can help management uncover trends in customer behavior and enable managers to react quickly to that as well. Perhaps through Web analytics you discover that customers are reacting to a new offering or promotion from a competitor – or perhaps a certain demographic of customers keeps consistently asking for a product or service that your company doesn’t currently deliver.

DMG's report covers vendors, products, technology, functionality, market activity, projections, benefits, return on investment (ROI), customer perceptions, trends, challenges, implementation best practices and pricing. It is designed to serve as a resource to help managers select the right analytical application and vendor -- whether an incumbent with a workforce optimization suite or IVR solution, or a stand-alone provider. It also "debunks" some of the claims about these emerging technologies by providing a detailed analysis of their functional capabilities.

DMG Research made news on ContactCenterSolutions in March when it released a new report showing that adoption of workforce management software for the contact center is increasing.

This is being driven by the fact that more companies are recognizing the advantages WFM brings for managing complex multi-site, multi-channel (phone, email, IM/Chat, fax, mail, etc.) and multi-skill contact center environments. The report finds that, in terms of WFM deployments, the number of agents/seats grew from 3,463,571 in 2007 to 3,719,294 in 2008, an increase of 7.4 percent.

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Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard