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How Big Data Can Transform the Customer Journey
Add essential insight to contact center and back-office operations.
Posted Jun 27, 2014
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No matter where you turn these days, whether you're in the business world or technology industry, big data is a hot topic. Yet despite its popularity, there remains a tremendous amount of confusion and hype. What is the reality when it comes to big data? What can big data offer you and your organization, and how can this information help you improve your contact center?

The truth about big data within the contact center is that, for these customer service and back office business units, big data has been around for years—decades even. These areas have long been two of the most instrumented parts of the enterprise. Metrics and performance statistics are collected and analyzed; analytics solutions have been introduced to the market, adding layers of data intended to lend insight to the business. However, while operational reports are sliced and diced, projected and extrapolated, many organizations get lost in a sea of executive dashboards—and fall short when it comes to using them to make changes that will have valuable impact on efficiencies or revenue targets.

Where contact center and back office environments are concerned, the big data movement has brought to light the fact that while vast amounts of data can be captured, there is still a need to process and organize it so it is consumable for the business and use it to make better decisions.

In a nutshell, big data solutions give users the ability to analyze data sources that previously were either too unstructured or voluminous to consume. It is all about bringing together disparate data elements, and making them relevant. Of course, the second critical part of the process is turning that data into actionable information that transforms the business.

How Can Big Data Catalyze Transformation in the Contact Center and Back Office?

In the past, contact center and back office managers combed through the sea of collected data points—telephony statistics, call handling times, and quality scores, just to name a few—to uncover improvement opportunities. For example, managers used call dispositions to better understand what was happening with each customer transaction, but these reports have proven highly inaccurate. Agents may make the same mistake habitually, thinking that they are doing the right thing.

Before the advent of big data technologies, it was nearly impossible to capture and analyze all of the desktop data for every agent. Even if you could collect every click, every search, and every entry, the sheer volume of information made it almost impossible to digest. Today's enterprises, however, are leveraging big data in the contact center by capturing scores of activity from the desktop—that is, activities that agents are performing before, during, and after customer interactions—to gain more meaningful insight into how workers are performing and how they are leveraging the systems and applications on the desktop. Activity intelligence captured from the desktop can be a treasure trove of information for improving the performance of the contact center. Why? Because the agent's desktop is the nexus of where all transactions take place.

By analyzing how work is completed, organizations can pinpoint system bottlenecks or opportunities for improving or automating processes. You can reveal hidden correlations and understand the absolute truth behind each transaction. Instead of relying on 

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