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Getting BI from the contact center

Forward-thinking contact centers are using quality monitoring applications for business analysis.

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As companies are slowly shifting their vision of the contact center as a place to derive business value rather than just a cost center, quality monitoring tools are helping change minds.

Traditionally used as a compliance tool and to review and train agents, quality monitoring technology is evolving. Some of the major vendors are developing analysis tools to get business intelligence (BI) from recorded customer interactions.

"Initially, the contact center was considered a service organization and was asked to do that as efficiently as possible," said Elizabeth Herrell, analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forester Research. "Quality monitoring as a contact center application is still very much involved in the initial goal of improving customer-facing processes. But importantly, it now has higher value for deriving customer intelligence."

Organizations are realizing there is a wealth of information stored in these interactions. Customer interactions can reveal buying trends or competitive information a company can then address with new products or services.

Tools like speech analytics can map words or phrases to help find what causes customer service problems. Word spotting or phrase identification can provide information about the call record, and emotion detection tools can recognize changes in energy, volume and voice pitch to identify problem customers.

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Check out our Learning Guide for Call Center Managers

It is still early in the adoption process, however. The greatest push for using quality monitoring for customer intelligence is coming not from the call center ranks but from business users.

"It's the business or marketing unit that wants intelligence on the customers," Herrell said. "There are still a lot of contact centers that are not integrated with the business unit. It's still considered an expense."

Forward-thinking organizations that have shifted their approach to the contact center, to revenue generation and to improving customer satisfaction are better able to adopt quality monitoring for BI, Herrell said.

"Only the top tier companies understand the value of analytics in driving new revenues," she said. "For most contact center managers, this is not their priority. They're not goaled for things like revenue generation. In some cases business units are more involved in the management of contact centers, which is a good thing. They understand this is not just a cost to them; it's the front window to their customers."

Quality monitoring and BI can help unite the contact center with the business owners. Contact center management can now demand a seat at the table for any conversation that seeks to improve the customer experience, increase wallet share or lower churn, Herrell said in a recent report.

"It seems to me when you look at other forms of market intelligence, these are simple compared to data warehousing and sorting and classifying of information," she said.

The vendors

There are more than 30 vendors offering traditional, quality-monitoring tools, according to Forrester. NICE Systems, Verint Systems and Witness systems are the market share leaders that integrate call mining into their quality monitoring suites. NICE is strong in the banking industry and helps its customers analyze data by storing all information in one centralized database to deliver integrated multidimensional analysis to help determine why an event occurred, according to Herrell.

Witness Systems incorporates phrase and speech analytics into a broader application package that takes a holistic view of contact center activities and uses caller interactions to facilitate decision making and improve agent performance, according to Forrester's recent report.

Verint Systems works to help clients gain action-oriented intelligence by having a complete view of customer interactions.

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