Use Desktop Analytics to Improve Your Servicing Environment
Use Desktop Analytics to Improve Your Servicing Environment Adoption of these solutions is poised to take off over the next few years.
By Donna Fluss
Companies that have delayed investments in their core infrastructure over the past 10 years or more are starting to spend money on essential applications. A mission-critical function that organizations are struggling to address is their CRM or servicing applications. Besides Salesforce.com, which does not have strong customer service capabilities, no vendor has emerged as a leader in this sector. In the last two years, DMG has seen a number of solutions that offer much promise and, with time, will mature, but none are flexible enough to meet the needs of many industries. The problem is that companies have pushed their existing CRM/servicing solutions beyond any reasonable life expectancy, and are finally ready to make investments. However, they don’t want to take the risk of spending a great deal of money and ending up with little to show for their efforts. It is for these reasons that desktop analytics (DA) is starting to attract the attention of IT and business managers.
What Is Desktop Analytics?
- Employee activity tracking and process: This includes measuring keystrokes, applications accessed, time spent in each application, and transactions. DA also tracks and analyzes the processes and paths that employees take in the course of handling various tasks.
- System performance analytics: Identifying system delays, bugs, and inefficiencies that impede staff from completing their jobs.
- Employee guidance: Providing step-by-step contextual and rules-based navigation and instructions to employees.
- Process automation: Using a nonprogramming method for creating new graphical user interfaces that bring together data and functionality from multiple in-house and third-party applications and data sources.
- Workflow: Automating business processes by systemically passing data between employees and/or systems.
What makes DA unique is its ability to perform these functions without changing the underlying code of the systems it is addressing.
Adoption of desktop analytics is poised to take off over the next few years. DA is a powerful application that can alter and vastly improve the quality and reduce the cost of handling interactions in front- and back-office operating environments. (DA was initially targeted for contact centers, but in the last three years, vendors have realized that it’s an ideal application for back offices as well.) DA can also dramatically improve the customer journey. It is not a simple application, but it is capable of delivering increasing levels of value and benefits to organizations, depending on how it is used.
Increasing Productivity in 2014
A benchmark study published by DMG Consulting in October 2013 found that the number-one contact center initiative for 2014 (reported by 55.8 percent of respondents) is improving agent productivity. The most fundamental function of desktop analytics solutions is to capture, track, and analyze all employee desktop activities. The reporting and analysis of this data lets enterprises understand the actions and process paths taken by their best performers (as well as all others). DA solutions can enable the automation of data prorogation (copy and paste) between screens and systems used by employees, to reduce the likelihood of errors and handling time. These solutions can also identify suboptimal systems and poor response times that are impeding agent efficiency. These abilities yield substantial productivity improvements and cost savings for operating departments, while improving quality by reducing errors. When all of these functions are combined, something DMG has not yet seen, DA solutions will transform operating groups.
Regulatory Compliance Requirements
The continuing expansion of regulatory compliance requirements all over the world is another trend driving investments in desktop analytics. DA solutions can be programmed to identify and monitor compliance issues that can put an organization at risk. These issues can be eliminated or controlled using DA’s real-time guidance features, which show employees the steps they need to take and what they need to say to handle inquiries properly. Workflow automation can be used to reduce the number of manual hand-offs and processing time, measure policy adherence, and ensure regulatory or process compliance. This includes sending triggers to turn call recording on or off, important for adhering to Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations. Additionally, DA solutions can be set up to maintain an audit trail of all activities, including monetary and nonmonetary transactions.
Desktop Analytics Helps Improve the Customer Journey
Companies need systems and applications that allow them to enhance all aspects of the customer experience while improving productivity and reducing operating expenses. Desktop analytics, at its most basic level, gathers information about the customer journey. Desktop analytics can be used to trigger and tag recording of calls, chat, short message service, email, and social media interactions to obtain the information needed to reconstruct the entire customer experience across all channels. It can pull data from the CRM system and, based on the customer’s profile, identify preferences and prior actions to provide agents with personalized sales opportunities to optimize each interaction. Desktop analytics can also do something that few consider: By providing visibility into the fulfillment process, it can “watch” to see if agents are delivering on their promises to customers–providing a true closed loop analysis of the entire customer experience.
Getting Past the Obstacles
Desktop analytics vendors face several challenges that continue to constrain adoption of this exciting technology. The first is that few managers are aware of the uses and benefits of desktop analytics. DA vendors must do more to educate the market and communicate the value that their solutions provide. The lack of a standard definition for desktop analytics confuses buyers, who are not sure what they are getting and why one solution is different from another, particularly when the vendor messaging is the same. This confusion has slowed adoption, as has the uncertain economy, which has made companies less than receptive to new applications.
Another major challenge is that these solutions require a considerable amount of professional services to implement. Although a great deal of progress has been made, productizing DA capabilities remains an area of significant research and development investment for all of the vendors.
The Future of Desktop Analytics
Desktop analytics is considered a big data tool because of its ability to capture and analyze all employee desktop activity. In the next five years, DMG expects to see DA functionality offered as part of larger enterprise application suites, such as CRM, enterprise resource planning, and workforce optimization, as well as continue to be sold on a stand-alone basis.
We recommend that companies invest in desktop analytics solutions to improve the performance and quality of their front- and back-office service environments. DA provides transparency into what employees do at their desktops. It can identify opportunities to streamline processes that drive efficiency gains and cost savings while reducing error rates and improving quality. It can be configured to provide adherence to process compliance and monitor for fraudulent activity, reducing corporate risk. And it can be used to enhance servicing systems and extend their life while improving staff productivity. With planned innovations that include the integration of additional data from third-party systems, agents will be able to make better decisions and offers to customers. And back-office employees will have better visibility into what they need to do to get work done properly the first time.