• May 1, 2009
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Emerging Analytics Tools Could Cut Costs by 10 Percent

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New technologies making their way into the call center analytics space are expected to make a giant splash in the next three years, according to new research by DMG Consulting.

Principal among them is customer experience analytics (CEA), a new concept in speech analytics that dissects the entire customer interaction through every touch point—Web and interactive voice response (IVR) self-service, agent interactions, and the fulfillment process—to improve customer service and automation rates.

In its report titled “Contact Center Analytics: Emerging Customer Experience and Desktop Analytics Solutions,” DMG predicts the number of CEA implementations will approach 1,000 by the end of 2011. DMG conservatively predicts CEA growth rates will hit 90 percent this year, 60 percent in 2010, and 50 percent in 2011.

“We’re starting out pretty small right now, with only a few hundred implementations today,” says Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, “but growth will be substantial from a percentage standpoint.”

Growth, she says, will explode once enterprise customers start to see the benefits. “CEA is really a new application, but it’s definitely the kind of thing that organizations are asking about,” Fluss says.

CEA solutions take all of the recorded files from all of the IVR transactions and pull them apart “to determine what works and what doesn’t, to determine why a customer drops out of an IVR,” according to Fluss. “By analyzing the reasons why customers are not satisfied in self-service applications, the underlying problems can be fixed, and the IVR completion rate will increase.”

According to Fluss, CEA solutions are available from only a handful of vendors that include ClickFox, eglue, Enkata, Iontas, Merced, and Nuance Communications. 

Most companies in the analytics space easily break down the self-service and agent interactions, but few take it all the way to the fulfillment process to see whether the customer actually did what he set out to do in the first place, Fluss maintains. These new CEA solutions, therefore, will change the face of analytics and what it can offer to enterprise call centers.

“Without the fulfillment piece, you’re not getting the complete story of your contact center operations,” Fluss says. “There’s a whole realm of analytics solutions, and if they’re just giving you basic information, then that’s just reporting. If it tells you where the issues are and how to fix them, that’s analytics.”

 It’s also about identifying why customers leave an IVR. One of the main reasons is that “more often than not, you’re asking them to do something they do not want to do,” Fluss says. “Or the system could be slow, or you could be asking them for information they don’t have.

“There’s a lot of information available, but you need actionable information like this to make a difference.”

As a side benefit all this can result in a reduction in agent call volume, Fluss says.

Another analytics solution growing in parallel with CEA is desktop analytics, an internally focused technology that measures departmental performance and the agent’s interaction with desktop servicing applications to cut call handling times.

The number of desktop analytics  seats—provided by vendors like eglue, Iontas, Knoa, NICE Systems, Verint Systems, and VoicePrint International (VPI)—is expected to exceed 1.5 million by 2011, DMG concludes in the  same report.         

The two solution types, though still very nascent, are already making positive contributions to contact centers and their customers, the report states. Among the contributions, the report identifies helping contact center and enterprise managers address important goals, such as generating revenue, reducing customer attrition, increasing the use of self-service applications, improving agent satisfaction, and reducing agent attrition and turnover. 

“These applications are delivering cost savings of 5 percent to 10 percent to organizations,” Fluss maintains. “When implemented properly, they help managers achieve their cost-savings goals while improving the customer and agent experience. In short, they are a gift for our troubled economic times.” 

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