Knowledge is power and for organizations they need more than ever what with a too-slow economic recover the knowledge from captured customer interactions to find ways to reduce costs and retain and grow revenue and customers. That's where performance analytics solutions can be a worth while product with a strong ROI as it enables firms to drill through this data to obtain insights that can lead to shorter, richer and more productive calls and contacts.
provides organizations with the tools to obtain such insights from unstructured multimedia content and transactional data from calls, web, e-mail, radio, video and other data sources. TMCnet recently interviewed Udi Ziv (News
), Chief Product Officer and President of Enterprise Products Group on trends prompting and issues with performance analytics.
TMCnet: What changes are you seeing in the role of performance analytics in contact centers and what are the drivers? What do you see for example in the weights given to improve customer satisfaction and to cost control and is the shifting and why? Is there a greater use of them to maximize use of automated self-service i.e. IVR/speech recognition and web channels to minimize live agent calls?
UZ: Performance analytics continues to be a key component in driving the success of an enterprise. Perhaps now more than ever, the focus is on analyzing data to uncover performance issues and increase the effectiveness of performance - especially in the areas that contribute to cost control or cost reduction. Another driver of analytics is cost avoidance, which can be achieved through initiatives that reduce customer churn or increase the handling of more diverse and complex tasks with the same - but better skilled - resources.
As expected, the continuing economic challenges tend to put more pressure on cost than satisfaction. However, the more visionary enterprises are able to correlate satisfaction to costs and address both simultaneously. Performance analytics is a primary tool used to identify and exploit the correlation. The use of analytics to identify topics or issues that can be handled through self service or alternative media instead of calls is not new, but may be seeing resurgence as companies look for any method to reduce costs.
Further, optimizing customer dynamics, which describes the continuous exchange of information and commerce that occurs between customers and businesses, is the key to maximizing customer experience while containing costs and streamlining operations. The ability to capture and understand customer intent, analyze that intent to gain insight and use that insight to impact the entire organization is a powerful differentiator for companies in any economy, particularly a tough one. Optimizing customer dynamics delivers value across a wide range of business imperatives. These benefits include managing the risks associated with compliance and fraud, streamlining operations to run efficiently and effectively. It provides a customer experience that sets you apart from your competition and expanding value beyond the contact center into sales and marketing organizations, the back office and ultimately, the entire enterprise.
TMCnet: What impacts if any are there from end-customers' increased use of wireless and social media are having on the demand for and the areas to be analyzed? Is there for example a greater need for text analytics and integrated speech and text analytics?
UZ: Customer dynamics optimization includes capturing and understanding customer intent across all channels, including social media. As social networking continues to grow as a result of new services, new media, and a new demographic of users, the ability to monitor and analyze what your customers are doing or saying indirectly across multiple channels can create a differentiator for a company. When interactions occur in the form of unstructured data, such as free form text messaging, tools are needed to mine the interactions for insight. The challenge is to determine how to gain access to the interactions and develop an understanding of trends, rather than simply responding to individual issues. Without a dialogue to evaluate, analyzing text out of context on social media may lead to false findings or assumptions.
TMCnet: What new features have you seen being added to performance analytics solutions and what are the drivers and benefits?
UZ: Integrating business intelligence and analytics with quality, workforce and performance management tools has become an essential step, as has the incorporation of back office management into the performance analytics data set.
Extending data capture and analysis to the desktop is a new domain for performance analytics solutions. Capturing desktop application usage, monitoring a process end to end, and attaching metadata to enhance the analysis will soon be considered must-have features for quality management, workforce management and performance management. These tools apply to the inbound, outbound, back office…basically any environment where there is a customer transaction or supporting transaction. Applying proven performance analytics processes to this new data set from the desktop will uncover significant opportunities to increase customer satisfaction, improve both employee and customer retention, and reduce costs.
TMCnet: Performance analytics solutions have been remarked for their high costs, which have reportedly limited the demand for them. Please discuss. Are you seeing any changes in this situation and if so what methods are both suppliers and contact centers deploying to make them affordable? Or are more contact centers accepting the considerable value of the investment and more are willing to make it?
UZ: Historically, vendors delivered performance analytics through third-party business intelligence solutions that were sold separately. These solutions indeed tended to be quite expensive as well as only lightly integrated with the vendor systems. A significant shift has taken place for vendors to tightly integrate performance analytics solutions in order to greatly increase the value and benefit delivered. In addition to the analytics tool set, vendors are providing extensive meta-data definitions. This greatly reduces the time and effort a contact center user expends in exploiting the wealth of data to affect performance in their organization. The integrated solution approach has also greatly reduced the initial investment and on-going cost of ownership.
TMCnet: What best practices do you see evolving in applying performance analytics in contact centers?
UZ: Examples of best practices include moving beyond performance reporting to performance management. Rather than merely putting a set of KPIs on a screen or report, best practices proactively identify areas that need attention. Best practices turn data into information, and information into action.
Performance analytics puts root cause analysis in the hands of the person who owns the KPI, such as a marketing executive, a billing analyst, or a product engineer. Historically, performance analytics has been used to guide agent-centric behavior in the contact center. Best practices are now taking performance analytics well beyond the contact center to areas such as those mentioned. Through guided discovery, the owner can drill up and down the hierarchy, across time, within supporting data, and even down to an individual interaction. These best practices are either developed by the end user or in some cases are provided as solutions from the performance analytics vendors.
Brendan B. Read is TMCnet's Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri