Ten years ago, no one wanted to call your customer service number. Contact centers existed out of necessity, but driving value back to the business was tedious.
Now, thanks to customer service pioneers like Zappos.com and Amazon.com, the field is changing. Customers are staying on the phones because they want to. Every day, more contact centers are providing more of what consumers need: real, valuable service. And that means more revenue.
But that’s still the exception to the rule. Here’s a quick look at what is holding contact centers back, and how they can forge a better way forward.
Contact centers are weighed down by data
CIO.com reports, “There may be no corporate function that throws off more data than the corporate call center.” In a color commentary to accompany the report, Tony Filippone, executive vice president of research for sourcing analyst firm HfS Research, states, “Every contact is counted, routed, measured and scored. Agent performance is actively measured. Other key process owners, like finance and accounting or claims adjudication, wish their data was as rich.”
But the data richness could easily be lost in the deluge of sheer volume. A recent survey conducted by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) reveals that 25 percent of call centers suffer from “data overload.”
Sarah Stealey Reed, content director of ICMI, says, “Contact centers are in the middle of a data overload tempest, and with no relief in sight. In reality, this abundance of data can empower contact centers to help their customers and, ultimately, boost the businesses’ bottom line—but companies are failing their agents in leaving them empty handed.”
Data is like concrete—it will either provide a solid foundation for you to stand on, or it will crush you under its weight. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at three ways to get data off your shoulders and under your feet:
Simplify before you amplify — a 3-step process
Many organizations suffer from a case of “data for data’s sake”—and contact centers are no exception. Data is inarguably important, but it has to be the right data for it to be useful. Here’s how contact centers can use the right data to get the right metrics that provide the right insights:
- First, clearly define your business goals.
- Second, create specific strategies and actions that will drive you toward those goals.
- Third, choose specific metrics that show incremental progress toward your goals.
The process sounds simple—even simplistic. But it’s the small steps that help you keep your data in perspective and drive real value. These steps help you make better decisions about which data sources you need in order to measure real impact. Once you narrow down your data, you can amplify the impact that it has on your organization.
For contact centers, that means turning the data coming out of your call systems and issue tracking software into insights that your reps can use to be more efficient at solving customers’ problems. Translation? Making customers happy makes you more money.