Why is big data important for call centres?

Contact centres are a critical point of contact with customers. For many businesses, providing a seamless experience is the ideal but with multiple channels, achieving this can be challenging. Big data and advanced analytics can provide an advantage – but only if you measure the right things and ask the right questions!

In any situation the answers you get are only going to be as useful as the questions you ask. In a contact centre there are two dimensions to the metrics needed. The first are operations related. They may include questions like: what is the average time to answer a query or call, how long is the queue, what is the average time to resolution? However, improving on these metrics makes little sense if the contact centre is not also measured on its ability to fulfil its primary purpose, be that sales, debt collection or managing client relationships. Failing to do this may leave the organisation with a very short queue indeed.

For example, cutting time to resolution by skipping a few steps in the process may bump up call volume as customers call back in to fully resolve the issue. New technologies and techniques are emerging to help organisations get a more comprehensive understanding of client satisfaction and identify issues as they arise.

New tech for better insight

Voice analytics has advanced considerably. It is now possible to listen not just for specific words but tone, pitch, volume and even context in a recording or live call. Voice to text technologies enable deeper and more granular analysis, enabling identification of trends and issues. For example, an escalating number of calls about overdue accounts can be flagged, helping organisations better manage the situation as it unfolds.

Voice analytics can also pick up other trends, like rising voices or the customer speaking over the agent (or vice versa). Unlike traditional methods where random calls were selected for assessment, voice analytics solutions can flag only potential problem calls for supervisor assessment.

And what can be done with voice can be done with other text-based channels of interaction, like email, SMS and social media posts. In addition, analytics can now increasingly identify sentiment, like sarcasm in a Tweet. This moves into the realm of Big Data. As we deploy more technology, more reporting becomes possible which requires Big Data analytics. With so much data available, deciding what to measure becomes strategic.

Step 1/2/3 – the road to optimised outputs

For any contact centre the first step is to define issues and problems, and identify goals. Step two is collecting the right metrics and information. The final step is asking the right questions and applying the right technology to extract value from existing data, or identify trends in real time. Many organisations choose to start small and scale as their operations grow. However, improving business outcomes can be as simple as asking the right questions.

Andre Deetlefs is the Executive: Lines of Business, at Jasco Enterprise.

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