Contact center analytics still an afterthought for many

Analytics tools have been incorporated into various enterprise departments. So why are contact center analytics still considered novel rather than vital?

Enterprises don't lack for data. They are often inundated by it. But they have more trouble understanding the insights inherent in that data and acting on those numbers. They have to manage data from multiple sources such as social media customer commentary, a company website, phone calls, a customer relationship management (CRM) system or more -- in order to drill down and use that information to capitalize on or fix certain trends.

At the 2015 ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference in Orlando, Fla., contact centerl eaders gathered to share results and examine the latest technology available. Contact centers have yet to widely exploit analytics capabilities. Barriers such as the cost of hiring new staff and purchasing new tools have gotten in the way, but more companies are recognizing how contact center analytics can help them gain more awareness of their customers and their experiences.

SearchCRM sat down with Lori Bocklund, president of Strategic Contact, an independent contact center consultancy, to discuss why some enterprises are reluctant to employ contact center analytics and what conditions are necessary to ensure that companies successfully implement these practices.

Lori BocklundLori Bocklund

Why are companies so slow to adopt contact center analytics?

Lori Bocklund: It has to do with resources, funding and prioritization. There is some understanding that, to use analytics effectively, companies need the right people, and if they can't get the budget for the tool or the people, [they don't invest in it]. A lot of companies are still trying to get workforce management or quality monitoring [tools in place] so it's a matter of prioritization. You can't do it all at once, so analytics tools in contact centers tend to be for the more advanced, more mature centers. It'll work its way into more and more centers like other tools have but it'll take some time.

Will investing in contact center analytics tools be table stakes soon?

Bocklund: Hopefully. I don't know how long that will take, and there's always variations by [the center's] size. Different verticals have more investment in the contact center and that affects the view [toward analytics]. The majority of contact centers are seen as cost centers now, so there is only so much of a budget to deal with. I think analytics are gaining attention and more people are doing scorecards of some sort, which is a stepping stone to move toward analytics because they help you see trends. That's the first step for contact centers to look more at analytics and not just look at reports.

Customer experience is not just a contact center thing, it's an enterprise thing.
Lori Bocklund

"Contact centers have trouble justifying hiring staff dedicated to analytics, which means analytics can be more work for existing employees. Is this a barrier hindering investment?"

Bocklund: Contact centers want to use analytics and they try to assign somebody to do it. They don't want to do that, but sometimes that's the only way to do it. To create a new job position, get the budget for it and adding to the headcount is not something most contact centers can do these days. It requires a college degree and it's not a role that comes cheap. Some people, because there are so few career advancement opportunities in the contact center, think they will progress someone into that role whether they're the right person or not.

Are companies figuring out ways to institute customer experience analytics and other initiatives based on the "voice of the customer"?

Bocklund: More and more people are [gathering data from] the voice of the customer or doing some form of [measuring] customer satisfaction. They're looking at that with quality monitoring data from internal and external points of view and the terms customer experience and customer journey are gaining exposure. I think that helps companies that want to institute analytics and an omnichannel experience because you can't be good at that without [knowing how to use] analytics. That's all going to help [analytics'] cause in the contact center.

Next Steps

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