In a way, the ability to analyze past data has given businesses the ability to see into the future. This comes from studying granular patterns regarding past business performance and applying that knowledge to predict future outcomes and staffing requirements. Savvy organizations can leverage those insights to better allocate resources and personnel to deliver more satisfying, rich, and efficient customer engagement experiences – provided they have a contact center solution that can make it easy to access that data. Let’s look at a few key ways that historical data (and the right contact center solution) can transform a business’s performance.
First, it’s important to understand what “historical data” entails. Generally defined, it refers to “a collected data about past events and circumstances pertaining to a particular subject,” according to IT news outlet TechTarget. This includes data generated either manually or automatically within an organization’s technology infrastructure. The more detailed this information, the more insights it will produce for contact center managers.
To effectively deliver and allow managers to parse this data, a contact center solution must provide sophisticated analytics and reporting tools which collect and store information on the real-time activity that is occurring within the system. This can include data on the number of calls routed through the system, the days and times these calls occur, how long each conversation lasts, the length of call hold times, and instances of hang-ups or call drops. These variables obviously change depending upon seasonal trends, and purposeful actions on the part of the business, such as sales and special promotions. Ideally, contact center tools should track these statistics down to the individual department or even the unique agent, which ultimately helps guide management’s decisions on staffing and resource allocation. Without these essential insights, administrators are operating in the dark.
“Companies without advanced analytics are leaving significant customer service improvements on the table,” said Jeff Berg from consulting firm McKinsey & Company. “To fully reap the advantages of advanced analytics, organizations must have the right foundations in place to make the most of their data.”
The further into the past a company’s data reaches, the better. A long history that measures various patterns, peak times, and volume shifts will create a more accurate prediction of trends. At least one year’s worth of data will allow companies to properly leverage past trends for predicting annual and seasonal usage patterns. Some sources suggest up to 24-36 months of a historical catalog for optimal forecasting. If companies do not possess historical data, not to worry. There’s no time like the present to begin gathering and utilizing this information.
Experts suggest that in addition to compiling historical data, it’s important to factor in ongoing business intelligence and strategy to really get the most out of these analytical insights. For instance, upcoming product launches, advertising campaigns, or significant personnel additions will all contribute to shifts in call traffic and agent performance. Business intelligence is defined by any anomalies that explain why the future activities of a given organization will be different than its past, therefore influencing the forecast of business needs.
According to McKinsey, only 37 percent of companies claim to use advanced analytics and business intelligence to create value, revealing a real missed opportunity. Effective use of historical data, analytics, and reporting tools can deliver a competitive edge to many organizations, since only a subset of customers is regularly using this actionable information.
The ability to mine data, analyze it, and properly apply this information shines a spotlight on those contact center platforms that can deliver this coveted capability. “Advanced analytics has fundamentally changed the role of contact centers from a basic service offering – and a net cost to the business – to a strategic differentiator,” said McKinsey’s Berg. “That can make dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction and financial performance.”
Compelling contact solutions are not just about facilitating calls. They host a wealth of data that – when applied – makes customers happier, agents more productive, and businesses smarter and much more profitable.