Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Justifying Analytics for Agents and Better Customer Service

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 18, 2012 11:50:03 AM

Our new world of multifaceted customer communications is driven by moments of interaction with the brand, often called moments of truth. Today’s call center analytics put companies in a position to manage these moments. Analytics that are specific to the call center include desktop analytics, event stream analytics, speech analytics, text analytics, cross-channel analytics and predictive modeling. These analytics, in turn, drive areas such as agent training and coaching, time and capacity optimization, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Our benchmark research into call center analytics shows that training and coaching are two of the biggest drivers of dissatisfaction among call center managers and executives, yet agent coaching is still a very manual process. According to our benchmark research on Agent Performance Management, 71 percent of agent coaching is triggered by the supervisor, and 86 percent of agent coaching is selected by the supervisor. This suggests that we are using subjective criteria without any analytical rigor to drive our most important processes. With analytics, training of call center agents can be driven in a more scientific manner rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, in which agent training is triggered by systematically defining areas for improvement and delivered at the desktop during agent idle time.

Agent utilization and capacity planning are other key areas of concern among managers. Our research shows that 75 percent of call center managers and executives consider increasing agent utilization to be very important. In one use case, we saw a company with forecast variation across locations with respect to both hours and customer satisfaction, which resulted in significant cost overruns in overtime hours, and also significant hits to overall customer satisfaction and loyalty scores. By implementing uniform technology and automated analytic processes across call centers, the company saw more than a 10 percent reduction in operating expenses, a positive return on investment in a matter of months, and an increase of more than 5 percent in customer satisfaction scores.

Companies should conduct a thorough assessment to see what kinds of analytics make sense in terms of business need and technology investment, but agent training and agent utilization are two areas of low-hanging fruit that can demonstrate the value of workforce analytics in the call center.

The key for the business case is to hit the high points: a 10 to 20 percent reduction in operational expenses, months rather than years to break even, and a significant increase in customer satisfaction scores and customer experience. This last factor is the most important, as it addresses the most common complaint I hear from executives regarding their VOC programs: the needle on NPS (or satisfaction, loyalty index or other outcome metric) does not move.


Tony Cosentino

VP & Research Director

Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, customer life cycle, call center analytics, capacity utilization, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Customer & Contact Center, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Workforce Analytics, NPS

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