Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

Some Nice Niche Technologies

niche technologies for contact centersMainstream technologies get a lot of press. As the backbone of contact center operations, they’re on everyone’s radar and they need to function at peak efficiency. But I’d like to put a spotlight on a few niche technologies and tell you why I find them intriguing

Desktop and process analytics (DPA) captures and analyzes all activity on agent desktops. It’s an invaluable tool for ongoing performance optimization as well as targeted improvement efforts. For example, DPA supports root cause analysis to identify the most common challenges in finding and using information. Armed with this insight, the center prioritizes what to fix – the desktop interface, the search engine, end user training, etc. Analysts in the center work with IT and the training department to tackle the problems. With a good baseline before changes are made, the tool can then help verify whether or not the fixes worked. The potential results? Handle time goes down, first contact resolution goes up, answers are correct and consistent, and customer experiences improve.

Speech analytics can take a center’s quality monitoring program to a whole new level. For example, CallMiner can automate scoring of every contact and provide feedback in graphical performance dashboards. Utopy (now owned by Genesys), Verint, and others automate call selection for QM based on keywords or phrases. Some vendors can also use real-time capabilities to notify supervisors of a quality issue as it’s occurring. Coaching can happen in real-time or as a follow up to opportunities the SA/QM tool reveals. SA can also help an analyst look at trends and overall scores to determine if new training and/or processes (or things like cross-selling new product offerings) are taking hold.

Context-aware applications use information (who, what, where, when, how) to create “seamless and integrated” customer interaction journeys across a wide variety of media. Hooks into traditional CRM applications may provide additional data (or context). Applications use this information in targeted routing as well as screen pop of customer information and their interactions. So what makes this one exciting if it’s just glorified CTI? Many centers don’t have CRM, or if they do, it may not provide all the tracking needed for contact routing and handling. Moreover, they are not using data effectively through integration and business rules that leverage the right data to benefit customer interactions, not to mention the visibility into outcomes through reporting and analytics that follows. Using context effectively can lead to increased agent productivity, customer satisfaction, and upsell/cross-sell opportunities.

Gamification formalizes incentives and performance management through gaming tools, creating both competition and collaboration. It can create a new focus on and visibility to performance targets. For example, gamification can apply to compliance, adherence, and offers, but can also include things like knowledge contribution, assisting peers, and suggesting continuous improvement opportunities. It can be utilized in the short term for targeted initiatives, or in the long term to ensure performance measurements don’t become tiresome or ignored. The direct tangible paybacks are in agent retention and performance, which can also lead to customer retention. The value increases with the right targets and incentives, e.g., by rewarding high customer satisfaction or effective upsell.

It’s easy to get excited about the next great thing. And while I don’t want to temper enthusiasm, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my list of things you should do before you become enamored with the latest, greatest technology:

  • Institute accurate screen pop on arrival and on transfer based on ANI or caller entered identification
  • Design and implement a good main menu – short, to the point, low level of effort (and no irritation factor!)
  • Provide representatives with as much information as the customer can see online – or better yet, more
  • Give representatives easy access to the right knowledge at the right time, making sure it’s up to date and consistent across channels
  • Follow through on problem solving by taking action on commitments made to the customer
  • Follow up on bad survey feedback by having  business rules trigger action on low scores – e.g., root cause analysis and a call from a leader

Read the full article for some cautionary advice as well as a list of other interesting niche technologies.