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Harnessing Contact Center Data for Actionable Results
Contact centers have always had a plethora of data, but in the last few years the amount and sources of have grown dramatically. Still, when it comes to supporting an integrated contact center, understanding what data to use and getting robust measurements can be tricky.
What Contact Centers Expect
In the past, contact centers have emphasized historical and real-time information about inbound and outbound calls -- the quantity; Dialed Number Identification Service; the customer’s automatic number identification; time in queue; status (answered, abandoned, overflowed, or went to voicemail); which agent answered; call duration; time spent in after-call work). Agent-specific data, such as login and logout and all the various agent activities, like call codes and work modes, also has been important; this data is captured by the ACD or contact routing application.
Contact centers also have placed immense focus on agent activity and adherence to schedule, which are important for meeting access or service-level goals. Agents go into various modes throughout the day. For example, they might be active working on inbound/outbound contacts, doing after-contact work, available to take calls, in training, at lunch or on break, receiving coaching, doing research, and other modes specified in the contact routing and workforce management (WFM) application. The WFM application monitors these to ensure agents are in the right mode at the scheduled time to meet customer demands. The WFM application also enhances forecasting and scheduling capabilities, to various levels -- monthly, daily, interval -- and uses metrics such as volume and average handling time to determine staffing requirements.
In addition, the contact center’s quality team usually measures and reviews agent quality scores. To do so, quality analysts review calls, along with the screen utilization during the calls, to see how agents handle customer interactions. They assess foundational skills, such as proper greeting, identity verification, and correct information, along with soft skills. The contact center logs this information in a quality monitoring application.
If the contact routing solution is an integrated system, it provides statistics on the other customer contacts -- chat, SMS, email, fax, video, and social. Integrated means one application does all the routing of the various contacts and data collection. However, I’ve seen many sites handle chat using an application outside the voice routing solution, along with social on another application platform, and agents usually have to be assigned to only one or the other -- voice, social, or chat contacts. This also means the contact center has more sources for collecting chat and social data. An integrated system keeps all contacts within one application for routing, historical, and real-time information. It simplifies support, reporting, and agent interfaces to the various platforms.
However, even when supporting integrated routing, not all vendors provide comparably robust and detailed statistics to those available for voice calls today. As I’ve gleaned through the many discussions I’ve had with vendors, they’re beginning to understand why better data on these newer contact types is required.
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