Take a Number

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  May 22, 2012

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Here’s a look at some of the recently-issued surveys and forecasts by those in the customer interactions space.

Call recording and monitoring are “at the forefront of the battle to improve quality and thus customer satisfaction and loyalty,” according to the U.S. Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide, issued by ContactBabel (News - Alert) and Zeacom . The guide draws on information gathered from surveys of 210 contact center managers and directors between November 2011 and February 2012.

The guide goes on to say that call recording is in use by 80 percent of survey respondents and is used for such applications as agent training, compliance, quality assurance and security. By also implementing agent-initiated call tagging, the guide adds, organizations can garner even greater value from call recording solutions.

“For example, if customers talk about the competition and what they are offering specifically,

these agent-tagged calls can be reviewed for possible action by a business’s commercial team,” the guide says. “This has the added benefit of making agents feel a key part of the overall business.”

The guide also talks about the value of recording for performance management and mapping that to business goals.

“Key performance indicators can be set and reviewed (such as average revenue per call), which

are directly relevant to the needs of a business as a whole,” the guide says. “Contrast this with the traditional efficiency measures of a contact center’s success: average speed to answer, average call duration and occupancy rate. Measurement and improvement in key performance indicators, due to interaction recording analysis, will help to prove the contact center capable of making a real impact on a company’s profit.”

Meanwhile, a separate study, this one conducted by Coveo (News - Alert) in late February at the 2012 CustomerCare Leadership Forum, talks about the benefits of collaboration among an organization’s different departments in establishing customer-centric culture and initiatives.

The study revealed that 42 percent of respondents estimate their companies have visibility into less than a quarter of information across all interaction channels, including social streams, and that 65 percent do not combine social data with enterprise content or are not sure of whether their organizations combine this data in customer service and support operations. 

"The survey findings reflect the need for better insight into the overwhelming amounts of customer and product information across interaction channels and siloed departments to truly create a customer-centric view of the information for front-line staff,” said Louis Têtu, CEO of Coveo.

Added Kate Leggett, senior analyst at Forrester (News - Alert) Research: "Although 78 percent of customer intelligence professionals understand the value of social media data, far fewer are able to transform it into customer insight that drives better company strategy."

On a separate front, cloud-based call center outfit Fonolo (News - Alert) has put out a list of what it deems the top eight call center trends of 2012.

No. 1, according to Fonolo, is emotion detection, which considers things like customer speech pitch, speed, tone and volume to rank customer anger and their related prioritization in the call center queue. “While on hold with Scotiabank, I was immediately connected with an agent when I started yelling,” Omar Zaibak, marketing manager for Fonolo, said in the report. “This mitigated my frustration and demonstrates how emotion detection can make for a less frustrating experience.”

It should come as no surprise that the cloud and mobile come second and third on the list, which notes that Gartner (News - Alert) Research believes at least 75 percent of customer-focused call centers will leverage the cloud by 2013. As for mobile, the Fonolo publication talks about the new customer preference to use their mobile devices as an initial point of contact for customer service, and how that could impact IVR.

Other leading trends to look for in the call center this year, the publication says, include scheduled call-backs, voice of the customer, 360 view, call center analytics, and agent attrition.

To the last point, Fonolo writes, “We expect to see more focus placed on initiatives such as work-from-home, knowledge-base, and scheduled call-backs. These initiatives make an agent’s life easier and less stressful, which leads to higher retention rates.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi