Contact Centers and the Age of Analytics: A Variety of Applications Promise Revenue Generation and Cost Reduction

Article excerpt

FOR YEARS, ENTERPRISES have been using analytics applications in many functional areas, including finance, marketing, and sales. Analytics applications use online analytical processing to facilitate multidimensional analysis that, combined with other capabilities, allows users to rapidly identify issues and opportunities. Analytics is not just "reporting on steroids" or the ability to deliver pretty reports. Reporting simply delivers data from one or many systems. Analytics solutions find patterns in the data and make this information readily available.

CONTACT CENTER ANALYTICS ARE COMING ON STRONG

Contact centers have entered the age of analytics. Applications such as performance management and speech analytics use analytical functionality to rapidly identify customer, contact center, agent, and enterprise issues, trends, insights, and much more. These solutions go far beyond delivering data about application performance, such as the number of transactions captured or calls evaluated. Instead, they analyze the data, find trends, and deliver actionable recommendations to improve the performance of the operating area, in addition to highlighting many other tactical and strategic issues.

While most of the contact center analytics solutions available today address data that is at least a day old, there are also real-time solutions that make recommendations while customers are still on the phone. The concept behind real-time analytics is to give either the agent or supervisor the information necessary to positively influence the outcome of a call while the customer is still on the line. Examples include a predictive analytics solution that tells the agent exactly which offer to make to a customer; a realtime realtime speech analytics application that advises the agent about the emotional profile of a caller so that the agent can select an approach designed to effect a better outcome; or a real-time performance management system that streams data to an agent to inform her how well she's doing her job. A few real-time analytics solutions are available for contact centers and are in the early stages of adoption, but, in general, this is an area that needs work. (Among other issues, processing information in real time requires a great deal of peak-period capacity in the central processing unit.) DMG Consulting expects to see significant innovation in the area of real-time analytics solutions in the next three years.

CONTACT CENTER ANALYTICS OVERVIEW

Contact center analytics is a group of solutions that provides managers with tactical and strategic actionable insights and recommendations. These analytics tools capture, structure, and analyze data to find patterns, and provide guidance or recommend actions to address issues, challenges, and/or opportunities. There are two primary categories of contact center analytics: internal analytics that are targeted at the performance of the contact center and its agents, and externally oriented applications that focus on customers.

Internally oriented analytics applications include:

* Quality scoring/assurance--measures how well agents adhere to internal policies and procedures.

* IVR analytics--captures and assesses the performance of IVR applications to determine how well they are working and what options need to be enhanced.

* Performance management--improves the performance of the contact center by aligning its departmental goals with those of the enterprise. These applications also produce dashboards and scorecards that can measure the performance of every individual, group, and site in the contact center.

* Desktop analytics--a new application that measures and provides transparency into how well agents interact with their desktop servicing applications, and assesses the overall performance of these supporting systems.

Externally oriented analytics applications include:

* Speech analytics--takes recorded phone conversations, structures the unstructured content, and systematically identifies the root cause of customer issues, needs, and wants, providing insight into the actions enterprises should take in response. …

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