Contact Center Transformation Featured Article
Contact Center Transformation Begins with Getting your Data in Order
December 28, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
As the media channels customers use to contact companies multiply, many contact centers are finding they face enormous challenges. Imagine living in a house with 18 doors: you’d have a hard time keeping track of who was coming in, where they were, and whether you’d greeted them properly or not.
Contact centers are experiencing the same multichannel challenges: how to keep a cradle-to-grave, 360-degree view of a customer who may touch your company in a variety of different ways, from telephone to Web to social media.
After all, giving customers as many contact options as possible is part of the concept known as “contact center transformation” – a concept that uses intelligent routing to ensure that regardless of the media a customer chooses, the contact is handled in a consistent way without dropping any data or missing any opportunities.
Obviously, it produces a lot of data, which isn’t always a good thing.
Companies today are drowning in data, and many of them simply aren’t sure how to use it. It could be data from formal customer records, it could be a call recording that hasn’t been analyzed properly, or it could be a Tweet.
How do you build a “big picture” of your customer – for this is what the most successful contact centers do – when you’re drowning in a lot of structured and unstructured data?
West Interactive’s (News - Alert) Martha DeGraw wrote in a recent blog post, “With the rapid expansion of customer care channels and interaction types, including those in the social-sphere, it is becoming increasingly challenging to identify users, cross-reference their likes and preferences, and then provide relevant, contextual information at the right time and in the right channels. And if automated channels fail to resolve a customer’s issue, then how can the enterprise ensure that the service agent has easy access to the myriad customer information so they can best serve the customer?”
How indeed? Unifying your data sources is a good place to start. But the challenges are enormous, according to West Interactive.
“Integrating customer information systems with customer relationship management (CRM) tools and customer service agent interfaces to support customer engagement is a worthy objective and has big potential,” wrote DeGraw. “The trap often is trying to build a business case for an operational customer hub with a single, comprehensive master data management platform capable of supporting both analytical and operational processes in real time. That endeavor would likely take multiple years and significant investment to create. Few enterprises can afford it, let alone have the patience to capture and capitalize on big data.”
If you don’t have those resources, what’s another option? DeGraw recommends single business functions through registry-style architecture. These lightweight registry-style CDI hubs are used to match data sources. Hubs employ narrow data models that contain only the selective attributes needed to match similar records across multiple data sources and then link these matched records to create a customer identity master store.
They’re quick to implement and their value can be realized rapidly. They also eliminate data duplication and provide a cost-effective way to gain a full picture of customers.
Building a first-class customer contact hub leads to the ideal practice of customer engagement – a two-way customer relationship that is proactive rather than reactive. Companies can no longer simply push information out to customers.
“The contact center transformation demands engagement with customers at the time and on the device of their choosing,” wrote TMCnet’s Susan Campbell recently. “To accommodate this trend, the contact center must embrace strategies that directly impact operational efficiencies, retention and growth.”
Regardless of which route you choose (and this will depend on the size of your contact center and your available IT resources), it’s the most critical step to take in transforming your contact center from a 20th century relic into a 21st century customer service hub.
Looking to grow your channel opportunities? Then be sure to attend Channel Vision Expo (CVx), collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at Channel Vision Expo. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Braden Becker
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