Last year I assessed how Nexidia had advanced its products to support customer interaction analytics. Since then the market has changed, and Nexidia continues to expand its products to meet a broader set of needs for analyzing and optimizing customer interactions. Companies are recognizing that they need complete information about their customers, including interactions, and need to change the metrics they use to monitor and assess customer-related activities. My research into next-generation customer analytics shows that the most common tools used to produce customer analytics is spreadsheets (52%) and only 26 percent of companies have implemented a dedicated standalone customer analytics tool to help them respond to these requirements; however, the results also show that more companies plan to adopt dedicated customer analytics products in the next 12 to 24 months. For good reason as spreadsheets are known for errors that impact business and use of general BI tools can lengthen the time to value and not support the specific data and analytic needs like that needed in customer interaction analytics.
Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Nexidia, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Text Analytics
I have spent the last two days at the U.K.’s largest contact center trade show, which this year moved to London Olympia from the NEC in Birmingham. While the overall number of visitors seemed to be down, some exhibitors told me there were more high-level attendees with serious intent to purchase.
Topics: Predictive Analytics, SAP, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Call Copy, Enghouse interactive, Enkata, Genesys, NewVoicemedia, Nexidia, ShoreTel, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, and Verint, cTalk Ltd, Noble Systems, Digital Technology
The Directors Club of the U.K. recently held its inaugural National Customer Show in London. The event was well attended and attracted sponsorship from some of the biggest vendors in the contact center industry; among them were platinum sponsors Interactive Intelligence and salesforce.com, and session sponsors Nexidia and SwordCiboodle. I noticed three common themes, covering very different aspects of managing the customer, and I’ll hit the highlights of each.
These days you can’t escape discussions about social media and the impact it is having on how companies interact with customers and prospects. As I recently wrote, social media is here, and millions of people are using it to communicate with friends, colleagues, businesses and even government. But all the hype, statistics and YouTube videos are masking the realities of business use. My research shows that as yet social media has had little impact on the contact center, and at the show I found confirmation of this point. I also heard more people than usual, even from salesforce.com, uttering cautionary words about social media. The reality is that business use outside of marketing and training videos is still low and consumer use is largely confined to complaining. Several people picked up the latter point; whereas in the past one complaint was heard by a few tens of people, now a single complaint may be heard by thousands (and potentially by millions) of people. Companies need to be aware of this; they need to monitor comments and take positive action about them and do whatever is possible to not let the things that generated the complaints happen again. So the message was monitor social media, have a process and people in place to take appropriate action and have a process to address the root cause of customer issues.
Contact Center Analytics
Throughout the show, and at one session I chaired, I heard conversations about the need for companies to review their existing metrics and add new metrics that reflect their business goals, rather than settle for efficiency metrics that just show how well things are or are not working. The general consensus seemed to be that no one metric is going to fit the bill for all companies. Yes, net promoter scores add insight to potential new business, and having good customer effort scores makes sense from an efficiency and customer perspective because making it easy for customers to interact with your company is likely to generate more business at lower costs. But companies need a balanced set of metrics from contact center analytics that I recently researched that reflect their business and priorities. I was pleased to find considerable support for my view that having “metrics for metrics’ sake” is pointless and that companies need to have in place processes that ensure action is taken based on their key performance metrics.
The Customer Experience
As a concept, customer experience management is going the same way as CRM, in that it means many things to different people. For me it is about proactively managing the experience customers receive at any touch point. So when it comes to the most popular channel – calls to the contact center – CEM is about how agents handle each and every customer call.
This theme was echoed during one session I attended that connected customer experience with agent empowerment. My benchmark research into CEM has shown that the major influence on the customer experience is the agent’s attitude. The discussion took up the theme that if agents are not empowered to handle calls effectively then customers are likely to go away unhappy. Empowerment seemed to come down to doing some basic things well: process (not doing dumb things), training and coaching, motivation, and setting rewards and performance metrics that positively encourage agents to do a good job and deliver to the company’s business requirements.
Personally I like the theme “take the dumb out of handling customer interactions.” Too many times companies do dumb things: asking customers to repeat information they have given before, having metrics that drive agents to do the wrong things (keep calls short rather than solve the problem), using IVR menus that don’t match what customers want to do, providing inconsistent information on different channels – the list goes on. If companies would stand back and examine objectively the dumb things they are doing and put them right, we would all get a better experience.
In this day of social media fixing broken processes is even more important. Dumb things will end up exposed in public. This begs the question of who should be responsible for social media, because one dumb response can cause more trouble than the original issues. As a result companies need to pay more attention to interaction-handling than ever before.
Are you ready to cope with this new environment? Can you be certain that interactions are being handled consistently and effectively across all channels? How is social media impacting customer experience and do you use analytics to gain better visibility to what you do not know. If so, I’d love to know how you do it.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director
Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Nexidia, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Workforce Management, SwordCiboodle
Contact centers face a number of challenges beyond simply answering customer calls. Among them are improving customer satisfaction, increasing the number of calls resolved at the first attempt and ensuring agents comply with regulations. But chief among these, my research into contact center analytics shows, is the mandate to reduce the average length of time it takes to complete calls.