Beyond Managing Agent Performance: Big Data’s Bigger Picture

Written by KOVA Corp

When it comes to managing data, call center managers experience many of the challenges that other professionals do: data overload. In a recent survey of 542 call center professionals, WhitePages reported that less than 60% of call centers are able to pass on actionable data about customer satisfaction to agents. The result, according to the survey, is an inability to focus strategically on customer service.

The Wide World Of Data

The survey revealed that the industry is all over the map when it comes to generating and analyzing data. The WhitePages survey finds that while half of call centers gather data for the purposes of analyzing customer satisfaction, more than a third don’t gather any; fifteen percent of those surveyed gather data, but don’t use it.  Two thirds of those queried state that the primary use for this data is assessing agents’ performance. Across the board, managers complain of too much data and little practical value of data.

Customer Satisfaction

It might seem that data gathering and Enterprise Feedback Management (EFP) software are second fiddle to agent performance and training. But Forrester Research reports that improving customer experience by as little as 10% can result in significant growth in revenue. Currently:

  • 42% of call center associates cannot resolve customer issues because of archaic user interfaces, multiple applications, and disconnected systems (Source: Forrester)
  • 55% of customers in a recent survey abandoned a purchase or transaction because of a poor experience (Source: Forrester)
  • 58% of consumers say they are frustrated with inconsistent experiences from channel to channel (Source: American Express Customer Service Barometer)

WhitePages Director of Accounts John Neely, himself a former call center manager, sees the need for practical data. “You’re not going to enable agents to take the next step in customer satisfaction until you’ve empowered them with the supporting data to deal with the purpose of the call. First contact resolution has always been paramount, but its smarter to stay with a customer as long as is needed to solve the problem. Companies should take a look at the experience they provide online and try to replicate that in their call centers.”

Outdated Systems Dilute Data

Archaic EFP can result not only in less data generated and captured, it also drastically reduces agent productivity where those outmoded systems require manual data entry. More than 40% of customer contact information is still manually input by an agent instead of being fed through an automated API or Web-based system -- half of call center agents say they face significant productivity challenges because they must query customers for basic contact information.

Neely understands that senior management can look at call centers with different expectations from those held by call center managers.  “At one company where I ran the call center, I used to get ice water in my veins when the CFO would approach me and quiz me about how many people I needed to get the job done. They continue to look at contact centers as cost centers instead of revenue centers.”

To be successful, corporate management must set clear expectations for call centers, and then put in place the tools that will allow agents to succeed. If a business decides to use a call center to sell or upsell products and services, that decision needs to be supported by a complementary process.

Focusing Data

Once clear sales objectives are in place, EFP should undergo a serious reevaluation in light of concrete sales targets. Data systems need updating so that agents have instant access to critical information: who’s calling, the age group they’re in, previous purchases, etc.

Training based on the sales expectations and reinforced by a modern, efficient EFP that manages not only the customer experience, but an individual agent’s performance, lays the groundwork for a better call center – and that means happy customers and revenue growth.

“Companies need to distribute the right data to agents to make centers more actionable,” Neely says. “In a competitive and commoditized business environment, you have to look at call centers as a competitive advantage. Agents able to use the training they’ve been given are happier in their jobs. They’ll stay longer in what is a high-turnover profession and the company will see results improve.”

KOVA – Enterprise Management Solutions For All Aspects Of Call Center Performance

If your management system has gone from a solution to a conundrum, it may be time to replace it. KOVA has a wide array of scalable solutions that can smooth processes by automating them, as well as making reporting more robust and actionable by giving users options for accessing and displaying data in real time. Agent training can be automated so that KPIs determine learning modules for individual agents or your entire team.

KOVA has the tools to fit your company’s unique needs. Contact us today and learn how state-of-the-art EFP can revolutionize your business and increase your revenue.

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