Utilising Data Analytics in Contact Centres: Awaken at the 2021 Call and Contact Centre Expo

Author: Simon Black | Date: 31/01/2022

Following the disruption COVID-19 has had on all our lives, the 2021 Call and Contact Centre Expo at the London ExCel was a welcome return to some form of normality.

The expo was an excellent opportunity for leaders in the call and contact centre space to showcase the latest technologies, strategies and advancements to fellow contact centre professionals and anyone else looking to enhance their approach to customer engagement. 

I was fortunate enough to attend the expo and take part in a session entitled ‘Evolving the Contact Centre: How to onboard, upskill, empower and retain agents in a rapidly changing environment.’

During the expo, I was also invited to sit down for a conversation with Tom Darnell, the Chief Commercial Officer at IRIS — a company that specialises in technology that unlocks enhanced audio experiences. Our discussion covered a range of topics, including:

  • The industry response to the pandemic
  • Agent wellbeing before and during the pandemic
  • How Awaken’s cutting-edge technology drives contact centre efficiency
  • The future of the contact centre

So, let’s take a look at those topics in a little more detail.

The world is Awakening again

After reflecting on the importance of getting back to interacting with people face to face after months of COVID-related restrictions, and the great atmosphere at the expo, Tom and I talked about adapting to the challenges we faced during lockdown.

The two major problems we had to deal with initially were:

  1. Our colleagues not enjoying working from home
  2. Sales performance struggling as a result

In order to address these issues, we took the slightly unconventional step of renting a country manor in Sussex for the entire sales team to stay and work in during the week.

Tom was surprised and impressed with this approach, pointing out how it combines the “high technology” our business deploys with “the lowest-tech thing you could probably imagine, marrying the two for performance.”

This strategy ended up being a tremendous success, increasing both satisfaction and engagement whilst also helping to accelerate the business during turbulent times.

Rather than being locked down and completely isolated at home, our team were able to get out and enjoy the fresh air — making use of the four acres of land available to us and taking part in some great activities, including quad biking!

Agent wellbeing in contact centres

The wellbeing of agents within contact centres should always be a central concern for businesses and contact centre managers, and the shift to working from home and an increase in hybrid working patterns have made this more apparent than ever.

At Awaken, we’re proud of how our technology can be deployed in order to identify agents that might require additional help or training, and simplify training processes.

Tom made an important point about calls with angry or upset customers during our conversation. He pointed out that working from home creates a situation where “instead of being in an office where the agent can walk out” and compose themselves, it can feel like a customer “has invaded their home.” Essentially, instead of being visible to colleagues and managers, agents can become isolated and unmotivated after challenging customer interactions.

Fortunately, this is an issue we are very much aware of, and it’s something our solutions can help with.

I explained to Tom how our technology facilitates the analysis of agent emotion over a period of time, whether that be a week, a month or even longer, with the help of voice analytics. This makes it much easier to track an agent’s emotion and state of mind, even when they’re not present in the office.

With the help of our voice analytics, businesses can:

  • Support their agents when they need it most
  • Identify when agents might benefit from moving to a different business line
  • Keep employees motivated, reducing churn and unnecessary recruitment costs 

The role of technology

During my conversation with Tom, we also touched upon the importance of technology in driving efficiency and improvements in modern contact centres. Contact centres that are not using some form of automation to listen and glean insights only analyse between 1 and 5% of their total calls.

With Awaken, you can now analyse 100%. That means you can identify:

  • If the customer had a good, or bad, experience 
  • If the customer is constantly being put on hold
  • If an agent is struggling to answer a customer’s questions

This level of insight has been instrumental in helping contact centre managers, team leaders and agents improve customer service and outcomes. 

Furthermore, as I explained to Tom with the example of an outsourced insurance company we’ve recently been working with, our technology has also been able to ensure businesses can navigate the difficulties caused by the pandemic. 

In this particular example, the company in question had to unexpectedly send all their agents home with computers at the start of the pandemic. Thankfully, as a result of implementing our guidance system, which significantly reduced training requirements, they were able to transition to working from home without the supervision of managers in an office environment smoothly and effectively. 

Tom then asked me whether “businesses are understanding on mass,” the value of our technology, or if we are still “having to explain the ROI?” This gave me a chance to outline how, in the past, businesses struggled to understand the value of the analysis technology can bring to their contact centres. However, we’re now reaching a stage where customers realise how vital technology is, leading us to the future of contact centres.

Looking forward

Towards the end of our conversation, Tom raised a critical point around noise quality — “bad data equals bad analysis and poor insights” — a problem IRIS has been working to resolve.

At Awaken, we understand that this can be a huge issue for contact centres globally, and having technology that clears up the quality of calls will be a pivotal part of improving customer service experiences moving forward.

However, we also know that customer demands are constantly changing. Some now want to go digital-first with an email or web chat rather than a phone call. That isn’t to say that traditional calls are becoming obsolete, far from it, but that contact centres need to continue evolving in order to keep providing the experience customers have come to expect, and technology has a huge role to play in that.

As I told Tom, at Awaken, we have a very clear idea of what the future looks like for contact centres. “If we can analyse voice calls in real-time, and understand what’s going on with the customer, we can prompt the next best action to the agent,” helping them determine the direction they need to take with a specific customer.

You can listen to my entire conversation with Tom here, including the moment he challenges me to have a go on the very cool F1 simulator in the background. If you want to learn more about how Awaken is helping to drive contact centres improvements and efficiency, get in touch with our team today.