September 10, 2010 – The use of analytics at call centers has not matured quickly enough, as companies often lag behind in use of data to better customer relations and formulate business actions, according to new research from Ventana.

Efficiency with call center call-handling time was the most important process metric of the 273 respondants – primarily in North America and split between company size categories – involved in the online research to gauge analytics use and concerns. Focuses on first-contact resolution and awareness of customer satisfaction ranked as subsequent concerns, though were not always connected to company analytics use, the study stated.

While two-thirds of companies involved noted customer service and satisfaction as a top priority, only 57 percent of those companies used available analytics in addressing the matter. In monitoring employees who deal with customers first-hand, only 26 percent of companies replied that they sought the use of a “ticker tape” system to sync customer relations analytics with other aspects of their desktop and the company system.

Many call centers, vying for business and attention amid an increasingly crowded marketplace, are losing out on business in an increasingly crowded marketplace without implementing or fully harnessing customer analytics, concluded Richard Snow, vice president of Ventana Research and head of its customer and contact center research practice. And even for some of the companies in the research using metrics and underlying data, there is “room for improvement.”

“This benchmark research shows that companies can still do more to improve the way they provide efficiency metrics and that most have yet to devise effectiveness metrics. It indicates that a narrow focus on cost is obstructing improvement in customer service and the customer experience,” Snow said.

Snow and Ventana recommended focused spending and training to maximize analytical value.

Additional call center statistics and analysis in the research include:

  • 47 percent of companies are not satisfied with their current analytics system
  • 30 percent plan to change analytics capabilities in the next 12-to-18 months, which lags behind needs, Ventana stated

  • For about half of respondants, data used in prepping metrics was found to be only somewhat accurate

  • 8 percent of companies receive near real-time data; 18 percent receive that data on the same day

Snow said that aside from full understanding of analytics use, call centers could get a jump on the future of their data management by making capital investments in cloud computing.
"More and more vendors are appearing with (cloud computing) focused analytics solutions and more and more are placing these in the cloud, making them more affordable and easier to operate. But the research shows that the majority of companies still prefer on-premise based solutions, so are missing out on this opportunity," he said.

Ventana will be holding an interactive webinar on the findings Thursday, Sept. 23.


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