Contact centers typically prioritize costs, highlighting metrics like average handle time, speed to answer, and occupancy rate to gauge success. But such a narrow focus blocks out opportunities to do more in the contact center, like generate additional revenue and connect insight to the rest of the business.
With competition increasing and technology allowing for more robust analysis at scale, firms are realizing how much unique, high-value information is generated and sits in the contact center, just waiting to be acted on.
Unstructured voice-of-the-customer (VOC) data, customer sentiment, product and service insight, and employee knowledge are just some new sources of information to inform both efficiency and business improvements to the employee experience, products and services, and direction for future growth.
What’s keeping contact centers from evolving their use of insight
Most contact center leaders would agree that there’s more that can be done when it comes to leveraging insight, but many are shackled by rising cost pressures just to keep up with current operations. And costs remain high because contact center inefficiency remains a key issue. Legacy infrastructure, tools, and processes get mixed with individual new technologies and channels that are bolted on without a comprehensive, integrated strategy. Or older tools don’t operate at the pace necessary to serve today’s customers, resulting in inefficient operations where money, time, and resources are spent to connect disparate parts of the business or just keep up with the basics.
In addition, the move to work-from-home has led to efficiency and productivity challenges as contact centers still struggle to succeed with a mostly at-home model.
Much of the technology investment made in the past two years was done to improve work-from-home operations during COVID. Companies invested a lot to replicate brick and mortar operations virtually, without adjusting to the realities of virtual work.
Opportunities to explore new insights from contact center interactions and data are often overlooked.” An expanded look at data-driven decision-making in the contact center can solve costs pressures while also providing opportunities for growth.
Get more from dark customer data
There is so much customer insight living in the contact center that’s not being used, but could be. Called “dark data” by Gartner and others, it’s defined as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.” The activation of such data for CX and EX improvements is cited by Forrester as one of its 2022 customer service megatrends where organizations will enable cross-departmental collaboration with AI, delve deep into digitized employee data to identify improvement areas, and redesign AI-powered workspaces for associates.
And with tools available to collect and analyze contact center data at scale, you can pull actionable, valuable insights from actual data, not small samples meant to represent reality. Use the data to profile customers, build segments, and differentiate how you interact with customers based on their behavior, needs, and value to the company. When possible, personalize interactions to strengthen relationships and build customer trust.
Look at data to understand the customer journey and behavior, then pair it with contact center data to track key phrases and triggers to serve up offers with a high likelihood of purchase. Use automation and scale to drill down into personalized offers that customers will find valuable.
Prioritize anything that makes it easier on customers and employees. This might be self-service, automation, real-time information sharing, digital customer channels, virtual contact center technology, AI-enabled training, and more. A more seamless experience will naturally weed out inefficiency by removing points of friction, adding tools to bypass obstacles, and reducing resolution times.
For example, contact center insights that can be very helpful to a company’s sales and marketing teams. They can see why customers are contacting them about specific products or services, by area or region, what next purchase occurs when linked with a customer profile, etc. Matching these insights with customer loyalty programs allows for personalization options that feel more intimate and personal for customers. This deep level of customer understanding typically increases customer lifetime spending and retention, leading to new sales growth and less broadly generalized marketing.
Don’t forget the critical role of contact center employees
While conversations around data usually lead to technology discussions, a hidden untapped resource are your contact center employees. If you hire right, then you set yourself up for easier onboarding and training about how to uncover new opportunities and remove friction in the contact center. Look for employees who are:
- Receptive to new ideas
- Willing to learn new things
- Unafraid of data
- Actively look for areas to improve the customer experience and efficiency
Once a candidate is hired, we strongly advocate for AI-enabled training. AI-driven training, like TTEC’s award winning RealPlay, allows associates to accelerate their optimal performance from the very beginning and throughout their career. It’s designed to be self-paced, interactive, and provide AI simulated interaction to get associates comfortable in a safe environment. Real-time feedback gives immediate coaching to associates and aggregates areas of success and opportunities for trainers.
Move data out of the dark to work for you
Every company’s data and operations are different, so each company will find unique insights and unique opportunities for their contact centers. The most important step is to think beyond business-as-usual and be open to reimagining what value the contact center can deliver to your company and customers. From there, new opportunities will easily emerge.