• November 1, 2016
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Is CRM Getting Too Intrusive?

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People might flinch at the thought of how much customer service agents are monitored. Today, call center managers can assess agent performance right down to the second. Metrics such as speed to answer, handle time, first-call resolution, and call abandonment rates have become popular metrics to study in customer support. There appears to be no end to the level of granular data that call center managers and executives wish to collect. Lior Arussy, president of Strativity Group, joked to a client that there is a software solution that enables call center managers to determine how much time agents spend in the bathroom. He was joking, of course, but that the client actually took him seriously suggests the lengths to which business leaders are willing to scrutinize their employees.

Despite the backlash organizations might receive from employees, the trend in collecting performance data isn’t diminishing. In fact, it’s spreading. As technologies connect different parts of the organization, making them more visible to managers and executives, the ability to monitor employee performance across the enterprise will become more prevalent. This isn’t such a bad thing. And over time, more people will realize this.

Take Bullhorn’s Pulse software as an example. The product measures the quantity and quality of salespeople’s email exchanges to see which lead is most likely to buy. At first blush, salespeople might bristle at the thought of someone monitoring their emails; however, such monitoring ensures salespeople are spending the appropriate amount of time on the highest-quality leads, enabling them to close more deals. (For more on this, see our video interview with Vinda Souza, director of marketing communications at Bullhorn, in the article “Bullhorn Unearths Hidden Value in Email Interactions,” at http://bit.ly/29dlKX9.)

The act of uncovering such granular insight is also extending to customers and the products they use, especially as organizations prepare for the Internet of Things. For example, sensors from a digitally connected Husqvarna lawnmower can send alerts to the product owner and a Husqvarna dealer about the health of the product. This enables Husqvarna to anticipate when lawnmower parts need to be replaced and make any necessary recommendations to the customer.

Companies are also monitoring web visitors’ search behaviors to improve web self-service efforts. By combining cognitive solutions and anticipatory knowledge services, organizations can quickly understand what customers and prospects search for on their websites, anticipate what information they will need next, deliver it to them, and improve search accuracy through continued use. Transversal’s Prescience KM product does exactly this. According to Transversal, its cognitive element has enabled Prescience users to cut web self-service escalations by 20 to 40 percent. (Read more about this and the benefits of integrating other knowledge management and CRM solutions in this month’s cover story, “Make CRM Smarter,” by Senior News Editor Leonard Klie.)

The more organizations measure, the more intrusive they might appear to employees, customers, and prospects. This might concern some people, but if executives and managers are careful and measure the right data, the insight gleaned should help everyone. Once people realize that data collected by organizations isn’t being used for nefarious reasons, the idea that they are being watched won’t appear so unsettling, and they can appreciate the significant benefits.

David Myron is the editorial director of CRM magazine. He can be reached at dmyron@infotoday.com or on Twitter @dmryon.


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