Contact centers have never lacked for data. With increased pressure for efficiency, optimization and profitability throughout the organization, centers need to use that data in smart ways – not just for reporting, but for truly analyzing activity historically and in real-time, where possible. Whether packaging data into user-friendly interfaces, drilling down into reports to learn more about what the data presented reveals, or using powerful analytics capabilities to really understand what is going on and why, centers can transform their operations and the customer experience by leveraging advanced reporting and analytics tools and processes.
Many centers use dashboards and scorecards to understand their operations and identify opportunities for improvement. While the words are sometimes used interchangeably, a “scorecard” can be thought of as a way to address the question, “How did I/we do?” It presents a historical performance picture against targets and the peer group, along with trends, generally using visual indicators (e.g., red, yellow, green) along with numbers. A “dashboard,” on the other hand, is more likely to answer “How are we doing?” It typically provides a real-time view with gauges or some other sort of visual indicators. In either case, these tools are most useful when applied against a balanced set of metrics that consider such things as productivity, quality, costs, and the customer experience.
To support a useful scorecard or dashboard, the center must integrate data from a variety of systems. Data integration and warehousing capabilities, such as OnLine Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Extract Transform and Load (ETL) typically come into play. Vendors use standard mechanisms to extract or link to data from the various databases and to process the data.
Beyond keeping score, the big leap is taking data and the information it conveys and using it in smart ways. That’s where business analytics or business intelligence comes into play, creating insight and action from data – whether from a report or scorecard, or from an analytics engine. The key is recognizing how data can play a role in decision making, which requires several steps:
- Understanding what is happening, including trends
- Understanding why it is happening
- Determining the “what if” of continuing this trend (and its impact)
- Making predictions for future planning based on other “what if” scenarios of change
These steps enable a center to drive decision-making and “action from insight.” A true analytics tool should help facilitate these steps, including offering predictive capabilities and enabling the analyst to tie different information together to derive “a-ha” moments. But short of powerful tools, insightful resources with analytical minds can still address some of the goals of analysis using reports or scorecards and dashboards and the data behind them.
Want to learn more? Read an article that I co-wrote with Lori Bocklund entitled Turning Data into Insights with Transformational Reporting and Analytics Tools.