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Above Average: The Art and Science of Contact Center Metrics

By Juhi Fadia March 17, 2020

Earlier this month, Grand View Research released a major market analysis and report forecasting the global contact center software market will grow to USD 72.3 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 19.7% over the forecast period.

According to their press release, “The increasing consumer base and high adoption rate of cloud-based services, social media, and mobile analytics among various industry sectors is projected to boost market growth,” along with the demand for improved omnichannel experiences and technological advancements in communication services.

Other highlights from the 170-page report include a discussion of factors including advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in business analytics, as well as the introduction of Business Process Automation designed to reduce the workload of agents. The availability of interactive voice response (IVR) and automatic call distribution (ACD) software has further resulted in an increase in productivity of customer-centric organizations, and “has empowered organizations in reinforcing the security of customers' confidential information through web security and centralized database.”

The impact of cloud is being felt across the board, given that cloud-based services support omnichannel programs, enabling customers to choose their point of contact, while enabling enterprises who run their own contact centers, or Business Process Outsourcing companies (BPOS) to “more easily integrate with AI, machine learning, omnichannel, and various analytical tools, subsequently opening up ways for an organization to advance technologically.”

This report validates the evolution already underway in the massive global contact center and “CX” industry and implies rapidly expanding “oceans” of data which are only valuable when they are put to good use and converted into consumable insights by leaders. While the “automation of everything” is in vogue, the quality of experience delivered to people is generally delivered by people, made more efficient or productive with data (with the exception of fully automated “bots” which have also come under scrutiny over the last few years).

We asked JeffTropeano, Senior Director, Managed Services at Eventus, a Denver-based global company that offers experience design, managed solutions, and CX technologies to large enterprises and organizations to share his thoughts on the impact software and data analytics will have on the contact center industry in 2020 and beyond.

“What we’ve found most exciting about the evolution of cloud-based services and applications over the last several years is how it helps not only measure performance, but enhance service delivery,” Tropeano said. “Operational excellence happens within an environment of clarity and commitment, and the systems we’ve brought to this extremely large and often complex organization have created next-level transparency into what is actually happening across millions of engagements each day. When software captures data and systems analyze that data and present actionable insights, more time can be spent by all team members on quality improvements.”

Tropeano has a passion for the level of detail and accuracy that she says is not just data for data’s sake. “We’ve seen tremendous improvements not only in the more traditional and obvious metrics like reduction of Average Handle Time, but in the sentiment of customers and agents. With the right technologies in place – and the proper integration of a range of technologies – we capture not only more granular information, but also more subtle information, which is being used to help train, develop and scale entire teams in hundreds of facilities and support them in managing multiple channels and responding to increasing customer expectations for not only friendly but highly personalize service.”

With business competition intensifying, and the digital transformation of nearly every business, including the popularity of new consumer products and services, organizations’ attitudes towards contact center operations have evolved and more investment is going into competing based on CX. CX is becoming a forethought when rolling out new consumer electronics, for example, not an afterthought or a “necessary evil.” Building relationships with customers in a hyper-connected and hyper-contextual world is moving CX into a much bigger and more intense realm.

“This is truly and art and a science,” Tropeano said. “Until you get the science right – meaning until you commit to the highest levels of operational excellence, which technology enables, you won’t get to enjoy the art. This is a very exciting time for professionals like me who are passionate about the potential for consistently great, friendly, efficient and upbeat service. We’ve seen our clients’ commitment to excellence result in validated improvements which are literally gifts that keep on giving. The more reliable and insightful data and analytics we make available, the more creative our clients become, as they recognize the enormous value associated with truly understanding customers and trends.”

While operational excellence may have translated to “cost savings” a decade ago, today Tropeano says investments in operational excellence are as much of an investment in brand awareness, product and service development, and business strategy. “We now have proof from nearly every top industry analyst firm showing that CX has moved up to the top of the list for any organization that relies on attracting, retaining and growing their customer base, so we have gone from a cost-center mentality to an investment in a fountain of knowledge that feeds business intelligence initiatives and has become the DNA for future planning and decision making.”

Tropeano says the evolution of all large and mission critical contact centers isn’t happening in a vacuum. Societal and behavioral changes are well underway as Millennials are beginning to overtake the workforce, having been born not with a silver spoon, but a smartphone in their hand. These digital natives are influencing not only the way service will be provided to them in the future, but all generations even the quiet generation and baby boomers adopt digital devices and use social media and web to engage.

According to a Deloitte report, for example, the future will hold “Less voice, more options.” Voice is expected to remain the prominent channel for customer interaction but will likely fall from 64 percent in 2018 to under 50% by 2020. The same report indicates chat and messaging will grow from 6 percent to 16 percent, and video will account for nearly 10 percent of interactions going by this year.

“We look at every channel and help our clients orchestrate across all channels in the most efficient and personalized ways,” Tropeano said. “These massive shiftsare a direct result of the failure to deliver good experiences, with long hold times, multiple transfers, the inability to resolve problems on the first contact and so much more. By combining software solutions with excellent people and ongoing training and development of those people using better platforms we can now – consistently – and measurably – deliver great experiences. This is how our clients are not only winning awards but growing revenue while deepening loyalty through programs that are returning a very high multiple on investment.”

Tropeano believes shared rewards are also part of operational excellence, saying “Because we have great technology and technologists in our company, we can hold ourselves fully accountable to our clients, with an extra incentive to make sure all we are doing adds up to positive and very specific business metrics. We measure, we manage, we report, and we win when our clients win.  What’s different today is that so much of the metrics and reporting can be automated with the right data points captured and analyzed, that we don’t need to spend enormous amounts of time manually creating reports. Just like the contact center agents who love serving customers and can do so with enabling technologies, we would much rather spend time interacting with our clients to understand their goals and programs than grinding out reports and presentations. Automation and analysis give us our time back, so we have more time to evolve ourselves, to expand our knowledge, and to improve everything we do.”

Juhi Fadia is an engineer, analyst, researcher and writer covering advanced and emerging technologies.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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