Part I of this series covered the origin story of contact center dashboards – namely transactional metrics that were used to track efficiency in traditional voice channels. Transactional metrics are still useful, but the rise of multi-channel and now omni-channel means that contact centers have more systems to track. Many centers have yet to identify which metrics are worth tracking, but this will happen once they move towards more connectivity between channels.
The explosion of email, chat, and social media drove demand for those same channels in customer service, forcing traditional call centers to “grow up” into multi-channel contact centers. This meant that contact centers would suffer consequences if they forced customers into the voice channel with traditional self-serve containment measures. Businesses learned that every customer is unique, with service preferences that change between various products or services. At the same time, technology ‘on demand’ pressured organizations to provide immediate customer service in the channel of the customer’s choice.
With every new channel came more isolation amongst the systems and applications of the multi-channel contact center. This worsened reporting and organizational silos which created slower, more inconsistent service experiences. As the number of systems expanded, contact centers grew more concerned about the difficulty of managing data across each new system.
All of this has opened the door for omni-channel strategies that use data as an operational commodity because the timely capture and delivery of data across channels is the key to providing superior customer service. Every customer-facing system and channel should be considered for connectivity because all interaction points – retail, sales CRMs, billing systems, web traffic, mobile apps – contain data that customer service teams may need to stitch together the customer journey.
If companies can’t offer an omni-channel environment or customer journey data awareness, it will directly impact the customer experience metrics – e.g., sentiment, brand loyalty, buying patterns, repeat callers and transfers. It is obvious to customers when channels are not connected. Agents need these systems to be connected so they can have a complete service history, account information, and whatever else they need to provide more effective service. If agents are unaware of basic account information and details from previous interactions, customers will enter channels frustrated with a negative company perception, making satisfactory service more difficult to attain.
In sharp contrast, companies with omni-channel service can immediately employ advanced analytics that answer important questions about the customer journey, like, “How do customers behave when making purchase decisions?” Uncovering specific channel progressions during purchases would inform business decisions that are helpful to the customer experience.
Omni-channel has changed some contact centers in ways that should force performance metrics and dashboards to evolve. (If not, it’s to the detriment of the business, but more on that in a later post.) However, many companies have contact centers that are still in the multi-channel phase. They are still trying to get a handle on the channels themselves and are lacking the connectivity required for seamlessness as well as adequate performance metrics. As businesses start to implement more connectivity between channels, there should be heavier changes in the performance metrics used towards ones that align more closely with an omni-channel strategy.
Many contact centers are still in the multi-channel phase, trying to understand the channels themselves and striving for a more connected customer experience. Part Three will cover how metrics are evolving to capture performance in both efficiency and experience.