Making Your Contact Center Your Company's Most Strategic Asset

This blog was originally posted on by Jon Ezrine. You can follow Nexidia on twitter at @Nexidia.  trophies.nexidia-300x203

Where We’ve Been

It wasn’t long ago that the call center was seen as more of a cost center than as a strategic asset to the company.  The information that could be derived from captured customer interactions was purely qualitative in nature, anecdotal and very siloed.  Of course data such as the total number of interactions received or the average handle time of calls have been available forever.  Also, most companies have been able to listen to a sample of recorded phone calls so that they could randomly address agent quality.  But that’s about where the value of analyzing customer interactions ended.  Other departments didn’t readily see their connection to the contact center, or appreciate the business value it could bring to them.  And so everyone really took their own approach to gaining customer perspective.  Marketing would put out surveys or focus groups, product development relied on reviewers or had to wait to see how the market reacted with their pocketbooks and a company would receive customer service rankings without really understanding the reasons behind the scores.  Information was time delayed, incomplete and not nearly as actionable as any progressive company needed it to be.

The information they needed was out there, almost “hiding in plain sight.” There just wasn’t a good way to organize the data.  Companies had become dependent on ancedotal evidence that wasn’t backed up with good data.  Relying on agents to categorize call data during or right after a call was never affordable or reliable.  Survey data came in, but was of limited use if it couldn’t be connected to the behaviors or events that drove the customer’s experience.  A business process that originated outside the contact center affected customer experience, but because there wasn’t a way to quantify the number of times it occurred, its impact wasn’t understood.  All too often it was impossible to figure out if corrective measures put in place had the desired result.

The Elevation of the Contact Center

Fast forward just a few short years, and today’s companies have a distinct advantage in the form of Interaction Analytics.  Interaction Analytics gives companies the ability to track the reasons why customers make  contact and the behaviors and events that happen during that contact.  Customers connect to a company through the contact center when they have any sort of issue to address, whether it be to shop for a lower price, to ask a question about a product feature they don’t understand, or to express frustration when a service isn’t meeting their expectations.   Now, all of the elements from these interactions can be tracked and translated into empirical, quantifiable data.  Companies can then use  this data to make strategic business decisions that can improve nearly every department touched by a customer — ultimately improving that customer’s overall experience and brand perception.  Interaction Analytics gives organizations the ability to take the unstructured data contained in the captured interactions between their agents and their customers and organize, analyze and disperse it.  This makes the customer care center, the source of all this data, one of the most strategic assets of the entire enterprise because of the value that can be delivered to virtually every area of the business.  The contact center can become the MVP.

One of our clients, Bob McDonald, Contact Center VP for Gerber Life Insurance, summed it up perfectly when he said, “Unlike manual efforts, like making ‘tick marks’ mid-call or listening to 200 phone calls, I can analyze 100% of my calls and not just a sample.  It’s clear and unbiased. It really got a lot of people across the company to believe in [interaction] analytics where the data is understood and it’s seen as relevant.”

Lessons Learned

I’ve seen this transformation story many times with our clients.  Companies have made significant improvements to their customers’ experience, which have contributed to key metrics like customer satisfaction, retention and attrition.  They’ve done it because they’ve been able to use Interaction Analytics to eliminate departmental silos, generate empirical data that determines root cause and prove the reason behind the metrics’ movement using the most valuable source of information they have – the daily interactions coming into their contact center.

If you want to hear it first-hand, from an executive who’s witnessing the value that Interaction Analytics can bring to an organization, download this podcast.  John Bowden, a member of Time Warner Cable’s leadership team that designs and manages care interactions, talks to Paul Stockford from Saddletree Research about how his company has used Nexidia Interaction Analytics to connect departments and make strategic business decisions based on the information mined from his customer interactions.

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