How to become data-driven and unlock the potential of your contact centre

Author: Simon Black | Date: 14/02/2024

As the frontline face of many businesses, contact centres are expected to provide a great first impression and resolve customer issues quickly and effectively.

In turn, providing great customer experiences helps a business to stay ahead of the competition and protects its brand reputation.

But providing great customer service isn’t always easy.

Huge advancements in technology, changes to regulations and customer expectations demand a constant need for evolution that can make it hard for contact centres to see both the bigger performance picture and the finer detail around how to improve their operations.

The most forward-thinking business leaders know that to keep a contact centre operating not just efficiently but at optimal performance requires data. A data-driven environment helps contact centres to prioritise change, analyse performance and support agents in their role so they can focus on providing a great customer experience.

In this article, we’ll explore how data has evolved over the years and how the data that’s available today can unlock the potential of your contact centre.

What is contact centre data?

Going back a couple of decades, the data that was available to contact centre operators was very reactionary in nature and mostly focused only on call and agent activity. The performance of contact centres was decided using limited and often unreliable data, including:

Call logs: Basic information, including dates, times, durations, phone numbers and overviews of calls were typed up manually by the agent after each interaction.

Agent performance metrics: Call handling times were closely monitored and line managers had to manually listen to calls to assess quality and compliance.

Service level metrics: The most common service level metrics involved tracking the number of calls in the queue and the average wait time.

Operational data: Monitoring the amount of time agents were on calls vs ‘not ready’ times and checking their schedule adherence.

Bringing things right up to date, the AI powered data that’s available for contact centres today is truly remarkable. Businesses can now use data not just to look back, but to also support agents in real time during their calls and to make fact-based decisions about processes and operations for the future.

Why is data so important in a contact centre?

All contact centres are working with data in some capacity, but there is a big difference between just having data and being data-driven.

Contact centres who aren’t data-driven (but need to be) will be experiencing one or more of these symptoms:

Struggling to see both the bigger picture and the detail

Contact centres experiencing this symptom are constantly firefighting and just in the thick of it every day. They don’t have the data (or the time) to take a step back and see what’s happening across the operation and the ripple effect it’s having across the rest of the contact centre. They also don’t have the reliable and timely data they need to understand the in-depth detail of their operational performance.

Poor performance, low agent morale and not meeting customer experience targets

Not operating in a data-driven environment makes what’s already a tough role as an agent even less enjoyable. Line managers don’t have the time to invest in developing agents and giving them insightful coaching feedback. Training time is taken up with regulatory and process learning sessions and agents often feel like just another number. All these things ultimately impact both agent performance and the customer experience.

Systems and process flows don’t match the ambition of the contact centre

With regulatory changes, new products and wider business-led initiatives, this inevitably leads to different processes and systems being added to the contact centre operation. Over time these all mount up meaning agents struggle to find anything, systems don’t ‘talk’ to each other and processes don’t align with each other. Contact centres want to be innovative and agile but the current data, systems and processes are stalling their progress.

Time-consuming and manual processes to check performance

Line managers are spending hours gathering reporting data from various sources, trying to piece together a coherent picture of their team’s performance. These manual and time-consuming processes mean that by the time they have the insights, often the opportunities have been missed. Line managers are spending time just trying to find performance data rather than helping, developing and managing their teams.

How does a contact centre benefit from being data-driven?

In sharp contrast, data-driven contact centres are agile, innovative and efficient. They’re using AI-powered data analytics to inform their decision making, analyse performance and support their agents.

Here are just some of the benefits data-driven contact centres are experiencing:

Simple, easy to follow processes and escalation points

Agents can navigate through calls seamlessly and don’t have to worry about remembering complex processes. They receive the right data and escalation points at the right time helping them to deal with every interaction confidently and efficiently.

Emerging technologies help agents to deliver exceptional service

Data-driven contact centres utilise AI technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to deliver services such as call summarisation and knowledge-base lookup. AI-powered solutions can also enable agents to interrogate the interaction data itself.

Team leaders and quality analysts can make informed and fact-based decisions

Rather than relying on minimal samples, anecdotal feedback or guesswork, team leaders and quality analysts have the right data to quickly inform and guide their decision making about processes and agent performance.

Systems talk to each other and information is easily passed and written between them

Data writeback enables agents to type something into the front end and it’s repopulated into other systems. With a two-way data exchange, information can also be pulled into the agent’s workflow exactly when it’s needed, eliminating the need to navigate multiple systems.

Contact centre leaders can see the bigger picture and general trends

In a data-driven contact centre, leaders have their fingers on the pulse of what’s really happening. They’re able to use data to understand how decisions will impact performance and they’re able to easily spot and evaluate emerging trends for agent performance, change impact and customer experience.

What types of data are available to contact centres?

With data solutions now available across virtually every aspect of the contact centre, here are just some of the options that are making a big impact on performance, agility and the customer and agent experience.

Customisable agent scorecards across 100% of interactions: Built in agent scorecards provide auto QA, using data to continuously analyse performance. What’s even better is that the customisation options means leaders can search for what’s important to them rather than having to use a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Emotion and sentiment analysis of the agent and customer: AI and machine learning data pinpoints specific words and determines the emotion and sentiment behind them. Leaders can analyse every call, email and message and understand the real voice of their customers and the wellbeing of their agents.

Call-based KPI performance: Traditional KPI performance like average handling times have new depth with easily accessible data that includes first-call resolution rates and silence times on calls. These data-driven stats make it easy to spot process bottlenecks, training needs and the confidence levels of agents.

Customer intent: Understand in real-time what the customer needs. Modern AI-powered technology has the ability to analyse and identify multiple intents at any given moment. For example, a customer might share the make, model and colour of their car all in one sentence.

Entity mapping: Automatically log key details such as names, addresses and dates of birth when they are spoken using AI. Saving the agent time to type each entity out and have the ability to write these data points bak to another system, such as a CRM, if approved.

Knowledgebase lookup: Map intents and customer pain points to specific knowledgebase articles or help guides. Utilise Generative AI to interrogate articles instantly, accelerating customer issue resolution.

Three ways contact centres can become data-driven

Deploy a single interface for agents

A single user interface isn’t “data” in of itself but deploying a single interface through real-time guidance technology consolidates separate systems and gives agents a simple, unified desktop.

Any process can be followed easily, regardless of where information is originally housed or how inexperienced the agent is. Customers aren’t left on hold for long periods of time while the agent tries to navigate multiple systems.

A single interface also boosts agent satisfaction scores. It presents the right data at the right time, meaning agents know they’re following the right process. They can relax into the call and just focus on delivering a great customer experience.

Invest in analytics

Analytics solutions use data to easily and accurately measure agent performance and KPI results across every single, interaction.

With the right analytics platform, you can measure the impact of agent coaching, identify training opportunities with scorecard data analysis and easily compare performance across regions and teams.

Data-driven analytics will also give you a new level of understanding for your customers. You can understand how your customer and agents feel with insights on acoustic qualities within conversations – including tone, pitch, energy, speaker dominance, silence, cross talk, speech rate, hesitation and pauses.

Leverage AI

Leveraging AI in real time empowers agents to deliver exceptional customer service by making every interaction easier to deal with.

Even with complex customer requests, agents are guided in real-time with the next best action increasing their confidence levels. The time saved on these types of tasks naturally increases the agent’s capacity to take more calls without any added pressure.

AI-powered guidance can also help agents to de-escalate emotional conversations by using data to provide prompts on how to manage the call. It can also flag where an agent may be struggling emotionally, enabling a leader to step in quickly and support them.

Data-driven solutions from Awaken Intelligence

At Awaken Intelligence we’re pioneers of innovative and flexible software to help you see the complete picture for your contact centre.

Get in touch to arrange a free demo and experience our data-driven solutions for yourself. You’ll see how we are improving the bottom line of 100s of businesses through contact centre optimisation.