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Data Has Powerful Applications For Contact Centers

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Data has become a valuable commodity in the modern world. With so many mobile devices and online interactions creating new information, today's enterprises are in an interesting position. By investing in the right software and equipment, organizations can harvest data and leverage it in ways that increase efficiency.

This practice is especially beneficial in the contact center. Customers demand a level of personalized service that has left many companies looking - and feeling - slow to adapt. Between long-time patrons expecting their records to be well-maintained and the requirement that all potential channels of communication will be available to them, existing systems can look incredibly dated, and chances are high that this will not be changing anytime soon.

As a result, more businesses are turning to the agility of the cloud to provide their help representatives with flexible channels and information access. The data that is collected over time can be combined with a collaborative interface in order to provide a new evolution of service.

"The right data at the right time from customer satisfaction surveys, call logs and voice recordings can all be processed to improve contact center operations," wrote Customer Experience Report contributor Mark Firth. "The data can be fed into outgoing calls to make sure the customers that have given poor feedback can be contacted as a priority. Conversely, skills based routing can be applied to make sure agents with higher skill sets deal with calls from unhappy customers. As always the right systems are needed to filter the date and route the calls appropriately. A multi-channel system is also appropriate in this situation so customers can be rated based on many different sources. Social media and email can often be overlooked."

Collecting And Applying Data

Everyone has a bad customer service story. From having to make repeated calls regarding the same problem to endlessly waiting on hold, contact centers have an unfortunate reputation with consumers as being frustrating and unhelpful. This is, however, starting to change thanks to cloud communications. Now that data, applications and telecom connections can all be accessed in a singular, software-defined environment, help desk employees are being empowered to effectively manage customer relationships.

Proper CRM is becoming an essential aspect of the contact center experience. Consumers want to feel as though they are being watched out for, and that the company is listening to their concerns and issues. If a representative is not able to quickly identify that a caller has reached out before about the same problems, then the customer may not feel valued and turn to a competitor.

But the information that is culled from contact centers is not just important to improving direct consumer relationships. The data that permeates through these departments can also be used to improve practices and performance as a whole. There are plenty of things that can be learned not only from the caller, but from how the staff handles their queries.

Data Can Be Applied To Best Practices

According to Workforce Management contributor Tracey Schelmetic, the traditional method behind contact center management has been heavily-rooted in analyzing call recordings. While this may have been the best solution for a number of years, the technology commonly being leveraged in modern customer service divisions allows for so much more than that, and Schelmetic believes that today's contact center cannot truly benefit from it.

"Agents spend a lot of their energy engaged in looking up data to answer customers' questions and entering new information into multiple applications," she wrote. "They engage in active research, often use the company's customer relationship management (CRM) system, interact with back-office operations and more. They may use e-mail, Web chat, social media and more. Simply put, performance management today can't be just about how pleasant the agent is on the telephone."

But while that may be true, there is still something to be said for customer feedback. There are plenty of underlying factors that determine a call's success or failure, but often one of the most telling metrics of all is the patron's perception of how things were handled. This is what Firth believes.

"Feedback can be collected on agent performance and can then be used in feedback sessions and performance reviews," Firth wrote. "This can result in a more equitable rating of staff performance and an easier way to justify pay raises or freezes. This type of agent analysis allows a large step past the traditional 'volume of work/calls handled' model. Lots of new factors from different sources can be combined to give a more accurate picture of the employees' performance."

One thing is clear - there is an incredible amount of potential for modern customer service to learn and improve performance on a daily basis. Cloud contact center solutions are going to be the only way to effectively meet the needs of the modern consumer. There should be heavy consideration regarding how best to implement these tools if they have not been explored already.