Big Data causing big problems for the contact centre – study

29th Nov 2013

More than a quarter of contact centres are suffering from data overload, according to new figures.

The study of 542 contact centre professionals by WhitePages and the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) found that the majority of organisations are collecting too much data from disparate sources, which is inefficiently consolidated.

The majority of respondents said that they collect data in order to improve customer experience results (72%), whereas others said they do so to improve contact centre operational efficiency (68%) or consistency (60%).

However, whilst nearly one-half of contact centres (48%) collect and use the average satisfaction of a contact, more than one-third (36%) admitted that they don’t do this at all and 15% don’t do anything with the data they collect.

Additionally, more than half (51%) fail to quiz consumers on their channel preference, the figures showed.

And for some, Big Data is proving to be more of a pain than an opportunity. More than 60% said that they cannot provide customer information proactively to an agent and a staggering 40% still rely on agents manually inputting information rather than using an automated API or web-based system.

This, of course, has as significant effect on agents’ productivity. Nearly one-half (49%) of agents reported overall productivity and efficiency challenges when they have to ask customers for basic contact information whilst 25% said that they need to consistently learn new technology or processes to handle their contacts.

Sarah Stealey Reed, content director of ICMI, said: “Contact centres are in the middle of a data overload tempest, and with no relief in sight. The study shows that without the right tools and guidance, agents are neither able to handle the volume of data that is in front of them, nor able to extract the vital pieces of information that they need to drive successful outcomes.

“In reality, this abundance of data can empower contact centres to help their customers and, ultimately, boost the businesses’ bottom line – but companies are failing their agents in leaving them empty handed.”

John Neely, director of accounts at WhitePages, added: “While it’s clear that some contact centres are struggling to utilize customer data, there are areas in which access to customer data in real-time can provide increased efficiencies. With nearly two-thirds of all respondents reporting that data can be used to improve the customer experience, call centres need to refine their use of data to further increase the efficiency of their operations.”

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