“One of the pervasive risks we face in the information age is that even as the amount of knowledge is increasing, the gap between what we know and what we think we know may be widening,” notes statistician and award winning author Nate Silver.
Silver’s observation points to the greatest challenge – and opportunity – facing organizations today. An avalanche of data is being generated through hundreds of thousands of conversations between customers and contact center agents every day. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Consider the data being created and consumed via the web in one minute, a mere 60 seconds, including:
- 204,166,667 emails are sent
- 2,000,000 search queries are received by Google
- 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook
- 100,000 tweets are posted on Twitter
- $272,070 is spent on web shopping
- 48 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube
- 571 new websites are created
To call this a staggering amount of data would be an understatement. Yet to ignore its potential—to improve, even transform organizations and whole industries—because we feel overwhelmed is a mistake. Yet it is a mistake many organizations make today, with most companies only analyzing a mere one percent of their customer service transactions.
That is tragic since within this vast reservoir of raw data lies the true voice of customers. And listening to the voice of your customers gives you the power to change business outcomes.
Consider the example of Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco CEO John Chambers shares his company’s remarkable growth path in the May 2015 edition of Harvard Business Review. He describes the series of technology shifts that have occurred since Cisco was founded in 1984 and how the company not only has weathered those changes but actually used them to propel Cisco’s business forward.
“At Cisco, customers come first and an integral part of our DNA is creating longstanding customer partnerships and working with them to identify their needs and provide solutions that support their success,” notes the company’s website.
With $11.9 billion in revenue and 70,112 employees (Q2 FY’15), Cisco’s strategy of listening to customers and putting customer outcomes at the center of everything they do is paying off. Yet, how do you listen to customers and hear their true voice with so many communications channels generating so many voices?
The answer is analytics.
Analytics unleashes the true voice of the customer by making data accessible, allowing for personalization, ensuring tools are intuitive and easy to use, and that enable users to discover trends visually. Analytics also validate internal policy and regulatory compliance to protect your business.
You may be skeptical about the ability of analytics to propel your organization to worldleader status, yet companies of all sizes and within diverse industries—such as retailing, banking, insurance—have the opportunity to make better decisions with the insight analytics can provide. Increased productivity and improved efficiency are among the most common benefits.
That certainly has been the case at AAA Western and Central New York where getting things right, especially during a famous Western New York snowstorm, is critical. As the leader responsible for workforce management, planning, analytics, and quality, Alexander Wareham oversees hundreds of agents. They annually field more than one million calls, with nearly 70 percent for roadside service. By using data easily available through Calabrio ONE, Alexander was able to work with contact center agents to increase call quality monitoring by 550 percent and dramatically improve overall quality for AAA members calling in for help in western and central New York.
As the AAA example shows, making good business decisions is the equivalent of enhancing the soil in your garden. It makes everything grow and thrive. Analytics enrich your organization by enhancing your customer experience across every platform. The information gained through analytics can lead to better educated and prepared agents based on the language and disposition of customers. You can develop best practices for handling conflicts and resolving issues more quickly based on identifiable verbal and written customer cues.
Most importantly, customers begin to experience a consistent type and level of service regardless of the method they use to engage with your organization. Sadly, consistency in customer experience today is the exception not the norm. Countless customers have enjoyed a satisfying inperson experience with a company only to be treated with indifference or rudeness on the phone or vice versa. The value built in one transaction is diluted or destroyed by a poor experience in another.
For customers, a company’s brand is defined by whenever and however he or she engages with that company. Ensuring consistently quality interactions not only protects your brands but also engenders customer loyalty. When companies truly master the art of consistent high quality service – regardless of how it is delivered – customers are compelled to become passionate evangelists for your brand.
With change as the only constant anyone can count on in business, it is critical to keep listening to customers and remain nimble. In other words, embrace smart change that makes both the contact center and its “parent” company flexible and adaptable. The best way to make that change in a nondisruptive way is through the new generation of workforce optimization tools, such as analytics software. Today’s tools combine the ease of use with sophisticated data insights and big picture analysis, exactly what is needed to remain fleet of foot in the competitive race.
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