Actionable intelligence defines data that is not simply just there in historic ACD reports or reams of paper from your CRM system, but can actually be employed to derive real meaning and accordingly, make changes to the way a contact centre is managed, changes that will ultimately benefit the business overall. All organisations have massive amounts of information available to them – information about customers, markets, personnel and products. However, this data on its own is of little real business value, and could actually be described as an overhead unless something practical is done with it. For informed decision making, the data needs to be turned into relevant, manageable intelligence.
Actionable intelligence provides a valuable window to the customer experience, highlighting areas that need improvement. Some of the questions it may raise may include, Is longer call handling time producing more customer satisfaction? Or less?, Are customers ready to consider a product upgrade? or Why are our customers defecting? The answers will benefit every division of the business, and every process, if acted upon.
What makes intelligence actionable?
For intelligence to be actionable, it needs to be available while it is still valuable which means being delivered to the right people at the right time. For instance, for a trainer or supervisor, this means the right number or type of contacts being delivered to her desktop that give her information about agent performance, so that she can make improvements where necessary. For the marketing executive, the information will highlight what type of calls are being generated by a product campaign – if there are more questions than sales for example, he can act to find out why.
What makes it meaningful?
To achieve a full and accurate picture of whats going on in the contact centre, actionable intelligence must be derived from every single customer interaction; this is the only way that a true-to-life sample can be obtained. Random sampling may capture the average interaction but the exceptional interactions are the ones that can be most telling.
Meaningful data may also vary according to which department of a business it is aimed at, and for that reason, the raw data being collected needs to contain all the information that is pertinent to a business objectives. This should include everything from customers calls, to data collected from CRM through to performance management and other decision support systems.
What makes actionable intelligence possible?
Although it would be effective, listening to tens of thousands of calls every day is just not feasible, nor is employing a team of people to analyse those calls. However, with the introduction of automated analytic technologies, the benefits of actionable intelligence can be made available to any given organisation. Typically, questions such as What techniques do our best agents use to close deals? or Are we missing crosssell and up-sell opportunities? could well be answered by the implication of analytical technology.
The next stage in the process is in the actual making sense of the data, which can be done via a variety of techniques, including Audio Mining and Data Mining.
The Audio Mining process allows managers to play back and listen to specific calls which contain carefully selected words and phrases; i.e. those that may have an impact upon the business.
These may typically include, for example, phrases that include words such as cant afford or too expensive, indicating areas where it may be necessary to reduce costs or to repackage a product. At the same time, companies may determine which product lines may need to be increased by listening to calls with words such as we dont carry that, we dont have that.
Data Mining is a technique that allows managers to identify trends and cause/effect relationships occurring within their contact centres, even highlighting issues that had previously gone without consideration.
For example, operational inefficiencies may be identified through data mining by the discovery that one specific group of agents is attracting a 20 per cent higher call back rate than the rest of the centre. This may be because calls are being routed to the wrong group, a problem which may be fairly easily rectified.
Similarly, greater revenue opportunities may be identified if it becomes apparent that a particular postal code is yielding a higher percentage of up-selling, and would therefore be ready to be introduced to a higher-priced product line.
What makes actionable intelligence powerful?
Actionable intelligence is such a powerful tool for any contact centre to have at its fingertips, quite simply because it enables the business to exploit every opportunity to the maximum potential. Its not simply providing useful information, but rather, homes in on the most important information with urgency and precision in a cost effective manner.
It also provides this information at the time where the chances of finding a remedy are at their highest, as opposed to the static data provided in reports and charts. For instance, there is some information that is almost nice to know, such as an increase on last years sales. However, information that tells managers that customers are confused about a product line and therefore lengthening call times and diminishing profitability, could quite safely be deemed as critical.
As opposed to OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) methodologies which rely on complex models, and highly trained analysts to translate this into useable information, advanced analytic technologies automatically seek out trends and relationships, and deliver relevant information in a ready to use format to the appropriate recipients (i.e. those who can maximise its potential).
What makes actionable intelligence strategic?
Actionable intelligence enables a company to provide a better service. It equips staff and managers to better understand the customer experience and perform proactively rather than reactively. It means that individual departments are working together as a team to provide the most efficient service possible, cutting costs, and minimising the numbers of dissatisfied customers by making vital information available as soon as possible to the relevant department.
By analysing specific phrases indicating that customers are unhappy for example- do you know what youre talking about? any number of departments may be deployed to tackle the problem. In this case, the customer service team would be able to contact dissatisfied customers at the earliest opportunity, whilst training departments could simultaneously revise the training programmes so that agents are best equipped to deal with queries.
It also means that resources can be maximised, and each staff member made more effective, so promoting job satisfaction, reducing turnover and lowering HR costs. Actionable intelligence enables businesses to generate revenue and increase the value of existing customer bases.
In short, actionable intelligence enables a business to derive maximum value from all of its contact centre interactions and, given the volumes involved, this becomes invaluable.
Verint Systems has prepared a White Paper around the Actionable Intelligence theme. Free copies area available from: [email protected] or by calling +44(0)1932 839510.
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