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Making the Contact Center Your Company's Most Strategic Asset

Where We’ve Been

Until only recently, the call center has been seen as more of a cost center rather than as a strategic asset to a company.  The information that could be derived from captured customer interactions was very limited in value: mostly qualitative, anecdotal and siloed.  Of course, basic data such as the total number of interactions received or the average handle time of a calls has always been available. Similarly, most companies have had the ability to monitor agent quality by randomly sampling recorded calls.  But that’s about where the value of analyzing customer interactions ended.  Other departments didn’t readily see their connection to the contact center, or appreciate the business value that could be derived from them.  As a result, everyone took their own approach to gaining customer perspective:  Marketing would put out surveys or focus groups, product development relied on reviewers or waited to see how the market reacted with their pocketbooks, and customer service rankings would be interpreted without really understanding the reasons behind the scores.  Information was time delayed, incomplete and not nearly as actionable as it should be.

In fact, the information that they were looking for was out there the entire time, “hiding in plain sight.” There simply wasn’t a good way to capture, organize, and make sense of the data.  Companies had become dependent on ancedotal evidence that wasn’t backed up with good data.  Relying on agents to catagorize call data during or after a call was never affordable or reliable.  Survey data came in, but the information was of limited value since it couldn’t be connected to the behaviors or events that drove the customer experience. Often, a business process that originated outside the contact center impacted the customer experience, but because there wasn’t a way to accurately quantify and measure it, companies couldn’t connect the dots. And even if corrective measure were put into place, it was often impossible to figure out if they were achieving the desired result. 

The Elevation of the Contact Center

Fast forward just a few short years, and today’s companies have a distinct advantage in the form of speech analytics (also known as interaction analytics). Interaction analytics gives companies the ability to track the precise reasons why customers make contact, as well as understand the events driving each call and behaviors that occur during each contact.  Customers connect to a company through the contact center when they have any sort of issue to address, whether it be to shop for a lower price, to ask a question about a product feature they don’t understand, or to express frustration when a service isn’t meeting their expectations.  Now, all of the elements from these interactions can be tracked and translated into empirical, quantifiable data.  Companies can then use this data to make strategic business decisions that can improve nearly every department touched by a customer -- ultimately improving that customer’s overall experience.  This makes the customer care center, the source of all this data, one of the most strategic assets of an entire enterprise because of the value that can be delivered to virtually every area of the business.  In short, with interaction analytics, the contact center can be elevated from a supporting role to a company’s MVP.

Bob McDonald, Contact Center VP for Gerber Life Insurance, sumed it up perfectly when he said, “Unlike manual efforts, like making 'tick marks' mid-call or listening to 200 phone calls, I can analyze 100% of my calls and not just a sample.  It's clear and unbiased. It really got a lot of people across the company to believe in speech analytics where the data is understood and it's seen as relevant."

Lessons Learned

With this new insight and powerful feedback loop, more and more companies are transforming their businesses—making significant improvements to the customer experience, which in turn boost key metrics such as customer satisfaction, retention and attrition. With interaction analytics, they been able to eliminate departmental silos and generate empirical data to enable root cause analysis to truly understand the drivers behind their key metrics using their most valuable source of information: the interactions coming into their contact center each day.  On any given day, customers are providing contact centers with all of the information they need to understand and improve their experience.  Companies only need the capability to extract that information, translate it into actionable findings and then disperse it to the appropriate areas of their organization.  Interaction analytics is the solution that’s making that possible.