Adaptive IP Contact Center Technology
The primary goal of the contact center manager is to run the environment at optimal operational efficiency while meeting stated business goals and providing superior customer service. In contact centers of all sizes, it’s challenging to achieve this goal on a consistent basis. As customer demands and business goals change rapidly, it’s hard for contact centers to keep up. This is largely due to rigid and complex architectures that require IT resources to make changes as the environment evolves. To address these challenges, contact center infrastructure vendors and users have begun to develop and deploy adaptive IP contact center technologies.
Adaptive IP contact center technologies are an integrated set of contact center systems that allow real-time optimization of business processes and supporting technologies. Adaptive solutions can be incorporated into all of the technologies that comprise an IP contact center, as well as applications associated with quality assurance.
So, how do contact center managers benefit from these adaptive applications? If these technologies are used the right way, they can increase contact center productivity and customer satisfaction without a lot of extra cost, effort or management attention. Having the ability to fix problems, adjust routing logic, and expand features and functionality in real time (and possibly on a fully automated basis) creates an environment where contact centers can constantly operate in an optimized state. These applications also allow contact center managers to implement some infrastructure and business process changes in real time, in response to the information provided by the analytical tools. The process of using analytics with adaptive IP contact center technologies has been coined the self-optimizing contact center (see The Self-Optimizing ‘Real-Time’ Contact Center). Adaptive IP contact center solutions enable managers to make and control real-time routing decisions and changes. Below are brief descriptions of common routing protocols that, when combined with adaptive IP contact center technologies, can provide enhanced efficiencies to the overall contact center environment.
Agent Association Routing
Agent association routing uses real-time data to route inbound interactions back to the last agent who handled the customer. This protocol helps build the customer relationship and improve productivity by eliminating the need for customers to repeat their story.
Business Event Routing
Business event routing is used in conjunction with workforce management applications to provide adaptive routing logic based on resource availability. As staffing requirements fluctuate, interaction routing can automatically and dynamically alter staff allocation and business rules to provide maximum operational efficiencies.
Customer Priority Routing
Customer priority routing is based on queue management. It dictates the order in which customers and/or interactions are processed in the queue. In an adaptive environment, a customer’s status or value can be altered and updated in real time based on input from the customer, agent, and/or changes to business rules. These changes can dynamically alter the priority of queued interactions and change the order in which they are processed.
Dynamic Customer Satisfaction Routing
Dynamic customer satisfaction routing is a strategy that utilizes the real-time results of customer surveys and agent performance data to automatically and dynamically adjust routing logic.
Skills-based routing strategies match the needs of the caller to the skills of the most suitable agent. Skill-based routing has been around for years and is the least novel of the adaptive contact center techniques. Weighted skills-based routing achieves efficiencies by assigning weights to different variables. Binary skills-based routing utilizes a simple decision-making process consisting of yes/no answers; it’s effective only in environments that have single-skilled agents.
Adaptive IP contact center technologies are powerful because contact center managers can deploy them, either manually or fully automated, in real time. They facilitate the process of optimizing contact center performance at the same time as they improve the customer experience.
Many vendors claim to deliver adaptive real-time routing capabilities, but these offerings vary greatly. In many cases, the vendors are just delivering skill-based routing accompanied by analytics; in others, they provide automation to identify optimal routing strategies. DMG expects to see continued innovation in this area during the next five years, as adaptive IP contact centers technologies mature. Eventually, these solutions will become standard offerings in vendors’ portfolios, in response to customer demand for tools that help them achieve optimal efficiencies within their environments.
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Ask the Experts
Recently I’ve heard quality assurance programs and processes being referred to as “analytics- enabled”. What exactly does this mean?
For the past 30 years quality assurance (QA) has been performed in contact centers around the world in basically the same way. Managers search through volumes of recordings to find the 10% to 20% of calls that require attention, either because they are really bad or really good. QA is a labor-intensive function, based on an often random selection of calls, supported by technology but never truly automated. So, analytics is being injected into many contact center applications and processes to make them more actionable.
Speech analytics-enabled QA, or precision monitoring, changes the dynamics and greatly increases the value of quality assurance. It uses automation to review 100% of calls and rapidly identify calls that require attention – whether examples of excellent handling where agents should be complimented and rewarded, or calls where an agent’s performance is poor and they need to be coached. Closing the loop, the new QA solutions can evaluate the effectiveness of training and coaching programs by comparing past and current agent performance in any categories that require attention. Speech analytics can contribute to QA programs in other ways, as well. Speech analytics can be used to rapidly identify call trends in a single site or across multiple contact center sites so that organizations can more quickly fix the underlying issues that are stimulating call volume. It can also be used to assess the performance of a new group of trainees so that common training issues can be fixed right way and training programs improved.
Desktop analytics (DA) is another analytics application that is gaining ground and has strong potential to significantly contribute to an analytics-driven QA process. DA can be used to determine staff competency in using their servicing applications or whether or not they adhere to departmental policies and procedures. When agent performance trends are identified, this data can be fed into both a QA module as well as a coaching module. DA has the potential to empower agents and promote quality improvements by providing real-time guidance with the right information/offer at the right time.
The new generation of analytics-enabled QA solutions takes QA to the next level by automating many supervisory tasks. They also use a variety of analytical capabilities and technologies to improve the output from QA solutions and make the findings more targeted and actionable. These solutions automatically identify, classify and rank calls that require management attention… Read More
DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.