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Big Data: Making the Customer Contact Center a Competitive Weapon

Contact centers have long been at the core of data collection about customers. But the added influx of information from big data now means the contact center is poised to be a strategic differentiator for firms that can successfully corral and analyze new data sources.

shutterstock 128810074 300x298 Big Data: Making the Customer Contact Center a Competitive WeaponThat’s the assertion of a new research report from Aberdeen Group that notes that new channels like social media platforms, online user groups and mobile devices have vastly accelerated the growth of customer data.

“This rapid growth in customer data, captured though myriad touch-points, presents unique challenges and opportunities,” the report notes. “It results in struggles within customer data management efforts, as contact centers will need to learn to seamlessly capture and utilize large sets of structured and unstructured data.”

For those companies that have mastered translating these new data sources into customer insight, the resulting performance improvements can be significant.

For example, top performing companies post an 84% first contact resolution rate versus 33% for other companies, according to the research. In addition, the top performing companies log a 14% year-over-year change in customer satisfaction versus 1% for other companies.

However, before many companies can obtain these improvements, they must overcome multiple challenges associated with data in the contact center, Aberdeen points out.

For example, only 7% of businesses are extremely satisfied with the data used to manage their customer experience management programs.

“Timely access to high-quality data as well as managing the growing volume of data captured via numerous interaction channels are factors cited by more than half (53% or more) of the companies challenged with managing customer data in the contact center,” according to the report. “The wide variety of challenges indicates the corporate need to adopt a holistic data management strategy that aims to streamline the life cycle of activities used to manage customer data.”

Organizations commonly struggle with the following customer data management challenges as part of the contact center:

  • Ease of access to data – 62%
  • Data accuracy – 60%
  • Data quality – 60%
  • Timeliness of data – 55%
  • Volume/quantity of data – 54%
  • Complexity of data – 53%
  • Validity of data – 47%

Top performing companies overcome the challenge of not having ease of access to data by providing access to customer relationship management systems to employees and helping employees personalize their views of each account activity through tailored dashboards, according to Aberdeen.

The report goes on to note that top performing companies convert data into insight on the contact center in a variety of ways, including:

  • 63% of the best performing companies monitor customer activities through social channels on a regular basis, compared to 31% of their less successful counterparts
  • 62% of best performing companies use customer feedback data to analyze agent performance compared to 51% of all other companies
  • 61% of top performing companies regularly track and measure the contributions of each channel compared to 41% of all other companies

“The benefits of big data go beyond measuring agent performance with customer feedback,” the report notes. “Companies can also use technologies such as speech and desktop analytics to track an ongoing customer/agent conversation and guide agents with real-time support. This is accomplished by determining the context of the current customer case, and associating this with historical customer cases through business intelligence tools to support agents through the agent desktop.”

Top performing companies are 52% more likely than their peers to guide their agents through such activities using big data analytics tools.

Additional results include:

  • 57% of top performing companies route contact center work items to relevant agents based on complexity and the nature of the issues compared to 38% of other companies
  • 52% of leading companies measure the impact of each customer interaction on influencing customer experience compared to 30% of other companies

“Big data should not be a term that confuses contact-center executives, or hinders their ability to deliver superior customer experience,” the report concludes. “In being able to access an ever-expanding data pool, companies can tailor their customer messaging activities to address the precise needs of each account, as well as streamline their internal service delivery operations through big data through the lens of analytics.”

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