Contact Centers are at the heart and core of any organization. They are the perfect vehicle for the business to understand what their customers need, want, desire and expect. Contact centers are where brand image and customer satisfaction levels can be made or crushed in mere seconds.

To understand what the impact is of our products or services, it’s important to measure and analyze the interactions we have with our customers. Are our conversations around complaints, misunderstandings or requests for new functionality or features?

Are you measuring the right things? How should we collate the raw data in such a way that we can distill quality information from it that helps with the future direction of the company?

Before you embark on an improvement project around Contact Center Interaction Analytics, it’s a good idea to create a benchmark first. After all – you can’t show improvements if you don’t measure.

This benchmark can be done in the form of a self-assessment. A self-assessment gives you a current status overview, a line in the sand to give you clarity and help you to understand where analyzing Contact Center Interactions adds value. This benchmark also visualizes where the weak spots or areas for improvement are, which makes it a perfect exercise before you allocate resources for an improvement project.

Each individual in the team answers the questions differently – but keep in mind that the ultimate answer to each of these questions is:

‘In my belief, the answer to this question is clearly defined.

Some of the most important management requirements for Contact Center Interaction Analytics are listed below. For each of these questions, think about your current role and try to answer them truthfully. Are these requirements identified, assessed, implemented and documented?

The management requirements are across 5 different phases, which coincide with the general life cycle of a business process. To help you to understand the style of questions you can ask during a self-assessment, we chose a selection and placed them in the appropriate phases:

Phase 1: Recognize the value of Contact Center Interaction Analytics for the overall business

In line with general Quality Management principles, in this phase, you try to identify double handling and human error early on to give the highest return on investment.

  • Often a problem in Customer Service occurs when the channels used by customers are managed by different departments and are disconnected from one another. Have you been passed from person to person in an organization while you were trying to resolve different parts of an issue?
  • What level of customer information both from prior interactions and customer history as well as the customers’ current context, is required?

Phase 2: Define what Contact Center Interaction Analytics means within the context of your business

Each business has different goals and objectives and therefore it’s important to interpret generic procedures and project deliverables within the context of your business. Try to align everything to the business objectives and strategy to identify a leak in the process.

Be careful though, as we all like to think that we are different and unique. This is a dangerous path to travel as it can lead to you thinking that the answers to the questions don’t apply to your business. Just make sure you look at the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how they apply to your business.

  • Your KPIs must be able to measure performance meaningfully and consistently. Can you use them to further the mission of your organization?
  • To what extent is the business value of C2C interactions driven by the acquisition of new customers versus bringing forward expected purchases?

Phase 3: Measure and analyze how Contact Center Interaction Analytics is currently performed

You now have a clear understanding of the improvements you can make for your business and how those improvements in contact center interaction analytics apply specifically to your business objectives. You will find that in this phase the requirements become more specific to the way you do business.

This phase gives you the clarity you need to improve the data collection and measurement of a process that is ongoing and interacting with customers.

For example:

  • If you have an FAQ on your website, a virtual agent solution, or live chat, how many searches, queries or inbound chats are you generating through each channel?
  • Customer lifetime value is calculating all the future gains of the organizations and treating the customer on service parameters accordingly.

Phase 4: Improve the Contact Center Interaction Analytics processes

The questions in this phase are all about the impact we make with our improvement projects. What can we do that has the biggest impact? (Either in financial or customer satisfaction )

  • In the past few months, what is the smallest change we made that had the biggest positive result? What was it about that small change that produced the large return?
  • How do we keep improving Contact Center Interaction Analytics?

Phase 5: Control and sustain the Contact Center Interaction Analytics Objectives

The final phase is all about sustaining and controlling the results of the work you did in the previous phases.

The type of questions in this phase are:

  • Which interaction strategies do you feel confident that you can use effectively?
  • What about automating Twitter so customers can use Twitter in the same way they use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) as a self-service tool today?

What’s next? There are going to be many changes in the Contact Center Interaction Analytics field. Compare the way customers interacted with the business 5 years ago to how they do today…. These days we have messenger bots, AI and many other online and offline contact points. What stays the same in this period of constant change is that we are dealing with people. The technology may change, but deep down inside people don’t really change that much.

We can get overwhelmed with new ways to connect with customers, but just sit back and breathe while you tell yourself: “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”

That is exactly why we started phase 1 and 2 by connecting everything we do with the business goals and objectives. Once you’re crystal clear on the strategy and core values of your business, it becomes easier to make decisions in this phase and the foreseeable future.

Ivanka Menken is a serial entrepreneur and the owner and Co-Founder of The Art of Service since 2000. Ivanka specializes in creating organizations that manage their services in a sustainable and customer driven manner. With 20+ years of management consultancy experience and an education degree, Ivanka has been instrumental in many organizational change management projects globally for both government agencies and private corporations.

She is proudly featured as one of “Australia’s 50 Influential Women Entrepreneurs” in 2016. Access her new book, Contact Center Interaction Analytics: Standard Requirements, here.