By Michael DeSalles, Principal Analyst, Digital Transformation – Customer Experience, Frost & Sullivan
Can the sophisticated use of analytics trump the old business advantages of geography, speed-to-market and proprietary technology? Frost & Sullivan believes that contact center insight analytics has the potential to yield significant competitive advantages: efficient and effective execution, smart decision making, understanding important customer insights and the ability to squeeze every last drop of value from business processes.
Even as companies are investing heavily in digital customer engagement initiatives, the majority of contact centers are not harnessing all of the data sources available to them. However, today’s platforms utilize advanced analytical functionality to rapidly identify customer, contact center, agent, and enterprise issues, trends, insights, and much more. Current solutions analyze the data, find trends, and deliver actionable recommendations to improve business performance. The overarching goal is to deliver richer and more personalized experiences to customers.
Contact center analytics makes up a group of solutions that provides managers with tactical and actionable insights and recommendations. Good analytics solutions find patterns in the data and make this information available in real-time. Change is continuous, and the plethora of new communication channels in the market is evolving at warp speed.
The Growth of Digital Customer Engagement
Empowered, Demanding Customers
With the rise of mobile and social technologies, customers are now more knowledgeable, empowered, and demanding than ever. Their ability to access and share information anytime, anywhere, puts them in control of their own experience. Why do we care? It’s because these “always-on” connected customers expect to do business with companies on their terms—including how, when and where they choose to interact for customer service and support. Now, the real work begins.
It is therefore critical for customer service organizations to develop new and expanded capabilities to support a growing array of digital channels.
Richer Social, Mobile and Web
The data shows that traditional channels, particularly phone interactions, are declining in overall volume. They are also increasing in complexity. Here’s what it means: Consumers often prefer a “digital-first” touchpoint in contacting a brand.
Hence, brands that are prepared to meet these types of customer challenges have a chance to build deeper customer relationships and loyalty. Conversely, those companies that are not able to deliver risk losing customers and valuable business to rivals.
The Move from Multi-channel to Omni-channel Experience
Frost & Sullivan defines Omni-channel as seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels. It ensures that data and context from the initial contact carries over to subsequent channels, reducing customer effort, improving the customer interaction, and enabling the business to tailor the customer journey.
To support this effort, agents in contact centers today are utilizing a wider arsenal of communication tools—voice, video, e-mail, IVR, Web chat, file sharing, and social media. Frost & Sullivan believes that traditional voice-centric call centers are morphing into Omni-channel centers of excellence. Some in the industry suggest the term, “relationship hubs”.
We currently see the leaders in the industry moving very rapidly to deploy technology and processes. Their goal is to convert traditional contact centers into true multi-channel organizations with a single view of the customer. This structure provides valuable, integrated data for both customers and agents.
The Importance of Multi-channel Analytics
Business Discovery Must Yield Actionable Insights
The explosive amount of user-generated content on the Web makes it extremely difficult to uncover meaningful insights that can be acted upon. In all of the chatter and massive amounts of collected data, companies are desperate to gain a complete and holistic picture of their customers’ activity in real-time. The reason is because today, most companies deliver what we refer to as “fractured” multi-channel experiences. When customers move from one channel to another, their context and history doesn’t move with them. So they have to repeat their effort or problem when they move between channels. This situation results in lower customer satisfaction, missed opportunities for upsell/cross sell and eventually customer churn.
One of the key foundational elements along this journey is having a multi-channel analytical framework that captures and analyzes customer interactions—both traditional and digital channels. Once the groundwork is established, the next step is to leverage that insight as part of your company’s operational systems. In order to deliver meaningful Omni-channel customer experiences, this would include CRM, contact center, and WFO systems.
Solution Considerations: Factors in Choosing a Best-in-Class Platform
Is it possible? A Singular Platform for Every Customer Touch Point
Simply put, multi-channel analytics involves data aggregation and analysis of multiple consumer communication sources. The platform choices can be overwhelming, while today’s consumers frolic in a frenzied multi-device, multi-channel environment.
Frost & Sullivan has assembled a number of solution considerations and pointed questions to be considered, when selecting a best-in-class contact center analytics platform:
Conclusion and Recommendations
Providing consistently excellent customer service has become one of today’s top differentiators for enterprises across virtually every vertical market. As organizations struggle to balance customer satisfaction with the drive to increase revenue and minimize costs, they are increasingly exploring technologies and processes that help heighten the customer experience on one hand, and help uncover actionable intelligence for informed business decisions on the other.
Best Practices Recommendation Short List
- Recognize the Multi-channel nature of customer interactions.
- Leverage these insights for customer service, marketing, and compliance applications. This benefits all customer experience stakeholders (end user customers, agents, supervisors, QA analyst, marketing analysts, risk and compliance analyst, and executive team)
- Tightly integrate analytics tools with the operational systems that will ultimately consume and leverage these insights
Michael DeSalles is a Principal Analyst with the Frost & Sullivan Customer Care team for North America. In this role, he focuses on customer care outsourcing and contact center services and tracks. He monitors and analyzes emerging trends, technologies and market dynamics in the contact center industry for North America (NA). Michael regularly travels to Central and South America to help clients evaluate the viability of delivering NA call volumes to nearshore outsourcing sites, where he has developed relationships with the top twenty-five global customer care outsourcing companies.