Diving into Analytics with only the Bare Necessities

By Scott Bakken, MainTrax

While placing my order for a $2,000 fish-finding tool, I envisioned walleyes jumping into my boat faster than I could toss them in my cooler. But after a few frustrating afternoons on the water, I realized I would have been just as well off with a simple $149 model. Shelling out two grand for a tool loaded with bells and whistles would make sense if I were deep-sea fishing for tarpon. But deploying it for walleye was like using a bazooka to kill a mosquito.

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Depending on what information a contact center is looking to reel in, investment in “big data” could result in a similar case of buyer’s remorse. Big data is all the rage but for many organizations, big data is overkill. What it often produces are big expenses and big headaches.

Indeed, big data – engineered to optimize predictive analytics and other sophisticated methods for extracting value from unstructured information – requires a big, big effort. Collecting a critical mass of data and gaining clarity about how to massage it to achieve predetermined objectives is a big job in itself. The processing piece that comes next demands highly skilled analysts who know how to discern operational subtleties and find the proverbial needles in an endless supply of data-stuffed haystacks. That’s a tall order for organizations of any size, much less contact centers whose size and budget are more suited to a Radio Flyer wagon.

Go Lean
Unlike big data, skinny data can become awkward to work with using traditional database management tools. But skinny data can solve specific problems around targeted business issues with minimal supporting data.

Speech analytics is a data source particularly well-suited for skinny data applications because you can move from data creation to easy-to-interpret results to business decision faster than you can say, “I can’t believe how inexpensive this is.” In fact, valuable “skinny” bits of information are probably in the speech tool you’re already using.

Leveraging skinny speech data helps contact centers improve agent effectiveness, minimize compliance risk, capitalize on selling opportunities, identify complaint trends, reduce customer churn, decrease operational costs, and mine rich new veins of business intelligence.

Skinny data can help you move across the finish line while big data is still generating a multitude of reports likely to confuse than impress. The contrast is stark: why sink $1 million or more into an enterprise CRM when actionable, targeted analytics can be achieved by simply combining customer interactions and sales data?

Granted, if you want your analysis to uncover issues that are currently unknown and unanticipated, that’s a job for big data. But skinny speech data is ideally suited to boost contact center profitability by applying basic but effective methodologies to issues like First Call Resolution (FCR), root cause of calls, uninformed or unprofessional agents, and customer frustration.

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Skinny Speech Studies

A speech analytics pilot study built around an important business issue can help you discern the why behind the what and serve as a catalyst for change. For instance, if the rate of repeat calls is trending upward, an exploratory study can help identify the root cause of the higher rate and provide necessary insights to take corrective measures.

Start a study by identifying an issue that relates directly to your KPIs, then spend two or three weeks searching through calls that support the study’s objectives.

Next, fill a bucket with 75 to 100 relevant recordings to share with your company’s decision makers. Invite them to sit around a table and listen to selected calls. Hearing the voice of the customer carries more weight than reading reports or interpreting a set of dashboards.

Presenting the study with a compelling narrative interspersed with skinny pieces of data—snippets of audio and nuggets of analysis—can build awareness, initiate discussion and move the organization to action.

In part II, I’ll showcase examples of organizations that are successful in leveraging speech analytics.

About MainTrax
MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics professional services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.