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Call Center Silos Are Eroding Omnichannel Success

Even though they talk to customers via telephone, email and chat, the most siloed operation in your customer service operation is your call center. Historically, call centers have been segregated from other parts of the organization concerned with voice-of-the-customer (VoC) issues, which is odd since no other group works directly with more customers every day. Collecting and, more importantly, sharing customer experience (CX) data should be one of the primary responsibilities of the call center.

Why are call centers siloed from the rest of the organization? There are a few obvious reasons:

  1. Telephony partners often have a stake in controlling the feedback related to their platforms.
  2. More call centers are being outsourced, which makes it harder to integrate call center reports and findings.
  3. Call center business processes including workflow and software, differ from other VoC groups making it more difficult to integrate call center data.

Despite these obstacles, call centers are front and center when it comes to assessing CX and customer satisfaction. The data they gather as part of the omnichannel experience can help make or break your brand.

CX Success Relies on Collaboration

According to Gartner more than two-thirds of marketers say their companies compete on CX and more than 81 percent expect to compete mostly on CX by the end of the decade. However, to succeed, CX has to be built around collaborative processes that engender positive customer outcomes. As Gartner Analyst Augie Ray states:

…in a world increasingly built around collaboration, CX outcomes tend to diminish when marketing or any other single department attempts to lead and execute CX alone. CX leaders need to partner and collaborate with other departments to make improvements throughout the entire client life cycle.

No one group listens to the customer more closely than the call center. Call centers tend to be the single, most impactful operation affecting net promoter scores (NPS), which means they have a huge impact on CX.

Aberdeen Group reports that best-in-class VoC users get 10 times the annual revenue of their competitors. Mastering VoC programs also contributes to the success in other ways:

  • 55 percent of VoC leaders have higher customer retention rates.
  • 23 percent see a reduction in customer service costs year over year.
  • 292 percent experience greater employee engagement rates.

Call centers are at the forefront of VoC data gathering, generating more qualitative and quantitative transactional data than any other CX group. Ignoring call center findings and failing to incorporate them in CX analytics is a costly mistake.

Tapping Call Center Data for CX Analytics

Thanks to big data analytics, customer interactions gathered by the call center can be captured and incorporated into CX research. Issues such as siloed data repositories and incompatible workflows can be overcome using the latest data mining techniques, and big data analytics can accept source information in virtually any form. Cloud data repositories and other data sharing strategies also provide ready access to call center research as part of collaborative CX analytics

Once you understand the vital role that call centers can play in VoC data gathering you can break down the barriers and integrate call center CX data into your analytics workflow. It also allows you to make the most of the unique role the call center plays in assessing CX.

Establishing the right protocols for customer experience data gathering has to be part of multichannel CX analytics. You need to establish customer surveys that provide an accurate snapshot of customer attitudes. You also need to be able to process open end questions as well as multiple choice and ranked responses.

More importantly, you need to be able to process real-time data as well as historical data. To increase customer retention rates and reduce customer service costs requires immediate response to customer issues. Having a real-time data analytics engine providing immediate reports based on customer-agent conversations is the kind of big data application that can give your customer service operation a true competitive edge.

It’s time to bring your call centers in from the cold. The more closely you can integrate call center data gathering into your omnichannel strategy, the more comprehensive your understanding of customer experience will be. You also need to take advantage of the call center’s unique role as the direct channel for customer contact, using timely IVRs and real-time analytics to improve customer satisfaction.

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