Calling All Contact Centers: Why Data Overload Hinders Agent Performance

Customer Service
Customer Service
While data may be a blessing for some, many company call centers see this influx of information as a curse, for they have yet to implement the tools and strategies necessary to handle the incoming insight constructively.

For many contact centers, data collection comes with numerous strings. While customer service representatives recognize the need to bring customer feedback and information into the organization, most lack the tools necessary to manage this incoming insight with the proper care. Instead, they experience overload as they struggle to bridge disparate sources within the contact center in an effort to form one 360-degree view of the customer.

According to WhitePages' "A Wow Customer Journey: Actionable Data in Today's Multichannel Contact Center" report, more than 25 percent of call centers currently face data overload, with 60 percent failing to deliver customer service information to agents. Conducted by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), this study polled 542 contact center professionals to gather insight into the current state of the customer service space, emphasizing how companies may improve experience and engagement. The report suggests that, with the proper tools and guidance, companies can empower call center agents to boost both their level of service and the company's bottom line.

The following statistics highlight how many contact centers operate today, and the inefficiencies that result:

  • Of those contact centers that report leveraging data to help maximize their customer experience and internal processes, 67 percent use the information to manage overall agent performance, and 48 percent work to identify customer satisfaction survey improvements.
  • Companies use call center-generated data to improve customer experience results (72 percent), contact center operational efficiency (68 percent), and customer experience consistency (60 percent).
  • When it comes to which metrics call centers are currently collecting data for, average handle time (79 percent), abandonment rate (75 percent), and average speed-of-answer (72 percent) dominate the space.
  • Fifty-one percent of call centers don't ask for the customer's channel preference. Only 32 percent of respondents reported that their contact center collects such information.
  • The greatest productivity and efficiency challenge lies in the fact that 69 percent of agents have to navigate around multiple screens and interfaces, while 49 percent must ask each caller for basic contact information at multiple points during the customer interaction. Twenty-five percent also struggle with having to constantly learn new technology or processes to handle said contacts.
  • While more than 60 percent of call centers cannot provide customer information to agents proactively, more than 40 percent of customer information is still manually input by agents, as opposed to being fed through an automated AP or Web-based system.
  • More than 89 percent of respondents claim that their contact center believes happy agents make happy customers, while nearly 79 percent admit that there's a link between employee engagement and satisfaction and a better customer experience.

Key takeaway: If companies do indeed recognize the connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, then they must actively seek to integrate the platforms and strategies necessary for improved performance. In most cases, agents possess the ability to provide sufficient customer care, but they lack the tools needed for proper execution. With so much data entering the organization from an array of channels, agents require internal systems that allow them to access customer data in real time to promote efficiency and boost customer experience. While this new technology may also require advanced training, such steps are essential if contact centers and customer service agents hope to support their brand's efforts to remain relevant in today's increasingly competitive market.