Contact center tools

4 Important Categories of Contact Center Analytics


Contact centers collect a lot of data. They can find out what their customers are doing on a daily basis. They can determine what time a customer contacted support and how long their contact lasted. They can listen carefully to conversations and decide if a customer is happy or angry based on certain keywords. All of this data helps the contact center do things like reduce call times and examine agent performance. To be competitive, contact centers have to stay focused on the customer. By keeping track of customer service metrics, contact centers can make decisions based on reliable data.

  1. Speech Analytics

Speech analytics help contact centers improve a customer’s phone call experience. Customer service agents are monitored to ensure they’re adhering to scripts and following regulations. This can also pinpoint the areas in which an agent needs additional training. Speech analytics will also segment hard-to-handle calls so that they can be dealt with by a supervisor or an agent with more experience. Furthermore, speech analytics can determine the reason for the customer’s call, what they hope to get out of the call, and if they are happy, upset, stressed, satisfied, etc.

  1. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Analytics

Intuitive IVR systems improve the customer experience. Insights that can be gleaned from IVR analytics include the percentage of callers who want to speak with a live agent and their reason for doing so; the reason for the transfer of calls between departments; the percentage of callers who were not identified accurately; and the number of calls that were handled from start to finish by IVR.

  1. Overall Customer Satisfaction

Gauging overall customer satisfaction will give you an idea of how well you’re delivering the entire customer experience. In order to measure customer satisfaction, the CSAT score is often used. The contact center will ask the customer to rate their satisfaction with a specific experience, like an interaction with the company or a transaction. For example, the customer may be asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of one to ten. Any answer that’s a six or above means the customer is satisfied. To figure out the percentage of satisfied customers, the number of customers who responded with a satisfied rating is divided by the total number of customers who were surveyed.

  1. Predictive Analytics

Tracking analytics isn’t worth much if you’re not going to take the information and figure out how to improve the contact center. Predictive analytics show the changes that will most impact the performance of the contact center. Management can then figure out the best way to communicate with customers, retain happy customers and resolve problems with dissatisfied customers.

One single metric will not give you a useful view of customer service quality. Instead, several metrics that are carefully chosen based on your customer service goals have to be followed. Tracking analytics allows the contact center to improve, update and revamp their programs on a regular basis.

How to Calm an Angry Customer and Use Complaints to Your Advantage

Difficult customers have a way of discouraging customer service reps from doing their job. When contact center agents feel like they can’t please a customer, it’s difficult to stay positive. Taking on the challenge, though, and finding ways to calm a customer while meeting their expectations improves the customer experience and salvages the business-customer relationship. Before you can offer a refund, freebie or other kind of help, you have to work with the customer to settle them down.

1. Listen.

Before you chime in or start resolving the problem, let the customer get out their entire complaint. Customers need to know that they’re being listened to. They won’t feel like they’re being heard if you cut them off midway through their explanation. If you eventually want the customer to listen to you, you have to first listen to them.

2. Restate the problem.

Staying quiet while the customer vents is only the first step to showing that you’re listening to them. When they’re finished, repeat the problem back to them using some of their vocabulary. This is how you can get the customer’s attention, which will then give you the opportunity to start fixing the problem and get them back on board with your company.

3. Take accountability.

Most often, angry customers aren’t calling you to simply yell at somebody; they want to be understood and they want to speak with someone who can resolve the problem. When you take responsibility for the issue and make it your own, you show the customer that you’re in this with them and that you’re willing to meet their expectations.

Using Complaints to Your Advantage

When you allow a customer to voice their problems, the brand has a chance to learn about the customer. Gather information about what the customer expects and how they’re not having those expectations met. Take the opportunity to change the system, tweak a product or make any other updates that will help improve customer satisfaction.

How to Use Tools for Capturing the Voice of the Customer

The voice of the customer isn’t only about quick-fire surveys; it’s about the entire customer journey and all of the interactions throughout. Tools that provide real-time feedback, monitoring and speech analytics, along with customer surveys, help round out the true voice of the customer. For example, if a customer takes a post-call survey and gives a poor rating, real-time response tools can connect the agent to the customer within a few minutes to resolve the issue. It’s important for information to be captured across multiple channels, including voice, web chat, e-mail and social media.

Aside from e-mail and phone calls, social media gives people a way to voice their concerns whenever and however they want. When you respond, it’s not just the customer who sees how your brand handles conflict – their entire audience will see it as well. The better you become at resolving conflict, the more devoted your customer base will be.

Digital Chat Agents: Workflow Automation and Constructive Insights

Today’s consumers use online self-service more often than they use voice channels. Digital chat agents are a major part of the online experience, coming in to help midway through the customer journey and quickly picking up where customers left off. Web chats help automate workflow and they provide useful insights for the contact center.

Automating Workflow with Digital Chat Agents

Auto-initiated chats and canned replies can begin the customer-agent conversation without using up much of the contact center’s resources. For customer-initiated chat sessions, pre-chat questions gather preliminary information, including a short description of the problem or question. The session is then routed to an appropriate chat agent who will come into the conversation with background knowledge.

Avoiding Problems with Automatic and Canned Chats

Automated chats should never entirely replace live digital agents. Eventually, the agent should take over and customize the conversation. Canned messages should not be overused because they will eventually make the customer feel like they’re talking to a machine instead of an actual person.

Transferring Conversations to Other Digital Agents

Agents have varying areas of expertise and they should be honest with the customer about what they’re able to do. When the conversation starts to fall outside the agent’s skill set, they should quickly transfer the conversation to a new agent and let the customer know that the transfer is occurring.

Taking Advantage of Typing Indicator Technology

Digital chat software can allow agents to see what customers are typing before they hit “send.” This gives insight into the consumer’s thought process and it helps the agent respond quickly. Digital chat agents are also alerted both audibly and visually when the other party sends their message. This ensures that even busy chat agents know when the customer is waiting for a reply.

Metrics That Improve the Customer Experience and Boost Sales

Digital chat software can determine the pages on which customers spend an immoderate amount of time; often, these are also the pages on which a customer requires a live agent. Brands can use this information to improve the website and contact centers can setup an automatic chat box on the problematic pages. The software also collects agent performance data, including the acceptance rate of agent-initiated chats, which help determine the agent’s skill level in this area. Additionally, live chat windows can show up on pages that have high conversion rates and digital agents can then encourage the customer to make a purchase.

5 Essential Metrics Making Call Centers Successful

The abundance of information we are experiencing in society actually makes it hard to winnow what’s useful and important from what’s not. Thanks to call centers. They keep fetching a vast range of data through calls. However, some of that proves helpful in finding out what will improve their service quality for better customer satisfaction.

Five key benchmarks for information processing were identified in a study conducted by a group – ICMI, top-performing contact centers and top industry stakeholders. The benchmarks were:

1. First call resolution

First call resolution (FCR) is a KPI that has better customer satisfaction compared to any other. A research study for customer contact says that with 1% FCR improvement, there is 1% hike in consumer satisfaction. Figures quoted from a study on 150 call centers find that call centers with high consumer satisfaction had an average FCR of 86%, while poorly performing call centers averaged 67%.

Contact centers with high FCR also enjoy low operating expenditure, lower rate of customer abandonment and reduced employee attrition.

2. Average Response time

Response time and service levels are essential parameters that remain fundamental to managing a contact center and its consumer experience effectively. The two parameters gauge the accessibility for customers, the number of agents required for efficient service, and how the center fares amidst competitors.

To establish and assess objectives of response time and service level, the vital point is not just how high the overall mentioned objectives are, but the consistency with which those objectives are met by the contact center.

Solid performance or accessibility does not guarantee customer delight or quality. Poor quality is one metric that has to be carefully understood by the center to ensure consumer loyalty.

3. Adherence to schedule

Companies can measure the total hours an agent has logged in during the shift and for how long the person was available to handle contacts. For most centers, schedule compliance stands between 85-90%, which means each agent should ideally be available for 54 minutes per hour on system to handle contacts.

Adherence applies to the time used to interact with customers as well as the after-call work time. During the after-call time, employees are expected to use it for desk work, essential outbound calls and wait for fresh calls to arrive. Adherence applies to all three. It has been more significant with call centers learning to focus on relevant and important matters while testing employees on what they can control. Earlier, average call time and calls in an hour were the main performance metrics, but centers now understand better.

Adherence, employee vigilance and use of technology are multiple but equally important facets of call-center management. It therefore requires the supervisors to depend on micro-management.

ICMI recommends good adherence practices that are non-intrusive:

  • Familiarize every agent with the need to satisfy customers in optimal time so that others don’t have to wait painstakingly in queue.
  • Establish prudent objectives around response time and the service level that is known, accepted and understood by all.
  • Explain the vital steps of resource planning to agents so that they understand the production process of schedules.

4. Forecast accuracy

It is the ratio of forecasted contact load to actual contact load. The ratio, observed over a particular period, may be used as a percentage. It is a high-level and critical objective in all call centers.

Workforce management spreadsheets are used to forecast call load, while actual load gets tracked by using ACD, email, workforce management systems, web servers and several other data resources available.

5. Accessibility to self service

Most contact centers have adopted the option of deflecting agent queue to interactive web processes and IVR. It helps enhance service efficiency, and thus also cuts costs. It also helps agents to use their skills for assisting customers facing complex issues. Certain contact centers lure customers to self-service but totally miss treating them with the relevant features.

Many call centers conduct surveys on customer experience after a self-service and gather feedback. Surveys surely are good methods to understand how customers feel about self-service metrics, even though it is not the most definitive or proactive mode of measuring the self-service option.

Call centers simply can’t ignore the metrics they embrace, as they impact their customer experience. However, every metric is not a totally customer-centric one. One needs considering the business needs and operations costs, as strictly focusing on productivity metrics and primarily running as a cost center does not work any longer. By using these metrics, contact centers will definitely meet high customer satisfaction and help the center to become a high-performing, efficient and progressive business unit.

Author Bio:

Abhishek Jain, a veteran industry expert working with a prestigious outsourcing contact center service, has been writing about industry technologies and their positive effects on organizations. Abhishek started out his career as a customer support executive, marking his entry in the customer service industry. He has a rewarding experience of working in various BPO industry processes for more than 10 years.  Abhishek’s unique passion for providing useful tips and information for customer engagement and customer experience reflects in his articles.

How to Improve the Customer Experience with Optimal IVR Systems

According to, customers are four times more likely to go to a competitor because of poor customer service than because of product features or price. Companies that want to set themselves apart from the competition will improve the customer experience by reducing wait times and solving problems faster. Contact centers are utilizing IVR systems to streamline customer-to-brand correspondence.

What is IVR?

IVR stands for “interactive voice response.” These automated systems have pre-recorded responses that help serve the customer to quickly and methodically meet their needs. The primary benefits of IVR systems are:

1. Important information about the customer and the query is collected.

2. Wait times are reduced because customers can solve problems on their own.

3. When necessary, calls are routed to the agent who can best address the customer’s needs.

How to Choose IVR Technology

Some IVR systems have more functionality and are more effective than others. Choosing the right one for your contact center will allow you to best serve the needs of current and prospective customers. Keep these three recommendations in mind when shopping around for an IVR system.

1. There needs to be a seamless transition between the automated system and live agents. The IVR system you choose should gather data and have that data ready if a live agent has to take over. The customer shouldn’t have to repeat themselves.

2. Simplicity is important. IVRs needs to be uncomplicated and options should be easy to navigate. Moreover, complicated transactions shouldn’t always be automated. Once the system determines that the customer has a complex issue, the call should be redirected to a live agent who can handle in-depth inquiries.

3. Even if the customer is going to solve their problem using the IVR system, they shouldn’t be faced with a lot of work to do. Beginning-to-end, customer effort has to be as limited as possible. IVR systems shouldn’t take a lot of time to get through.

When selecting an IVR system, contact centers should do their research to ensure they’re getting the features that are important to customers. Automated systems should make the agent’s job easier while improving the customer experience.

Why Is Customer Context Important?

Have you ever called a customer service line and been asked to explain the problem several times as you’re shuttled from rep to rep? Or have you ever entered your account information into a web chat form, but when the agent is ready to take your inquiry, you’re asked for the account information again? When customers interact on various channels over the course of days or weeks and they’re asked to explain the issue and previous interactions each time they connect with an agent, a lot of time is wasted. This is frustrating for the customer and, at times, the agent as well. Customer context aims to provide the opposite experience: personal, insightful service and a quick resolution.

Customer context is a set of known factors that enable the contact center to completely understand a need. Businesses have to know who will use their products or services and how they’ll be used. Getting a grasp on customer context requires empathy, because the company has to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. When you know your customers and context, you can understand their needs, resulting in better results for the company. This gives the brand a major advantage.

The people behind GrubHub, an online service that lets users order from their favorite local restaurants, are experts at customer context. Let’s say you place your order and pay, but forget to add the tip to your credit card. You login to your account to chat with a representative online. There’s a count down that shows your place in line; while waiting, you enter your name and question. Once you have a rep on the chat, they simply ask how much of a tip you’d like to leave and then confirm that it’ll be sent along to the restaurant. In under a minute, you receive an e-mail with the adjusted price. The rep never asks you to repeat your inquiry and they don’t need to confirm your order information because you’re already logged in. The process is hassle-free, fast and intuitive.

Ultimately, customer context leads to better customer service. Context gives meaning to interactions and helps the contact center agent recommend an appropriate course of action. Brands are able to meet customer expectations, no matter how demanding they are, and companies can evolve their relationships with customers as they move along the journey.

First Contact Resolution Best Practices

First contact resolution (FCR) is one of the key performance metrics of any contact center. FCR is an integral performance indicator, for both the customer experience and for determining the operational efficiency of the contact center. Several factors are responsible for FCR, including complexity of transactions, agent experience, quality of agent training and the tools that the contact center uses. Consider incorporating the following FCR best practices into your strategy.

1. Analyze the repeat contact that occurs across all contact channels. This offers a broad spectrum of insight about the interactions that are happening. Root cause analysis can be used to identify the reasons why customers aren’t having their issues handled during first contact.

2. Analyze customer profiles for predictive contact patterns. Create customer profiles based on this analysis and leverage customer information to provide intelligent service automation and routing. When contact center agents know the prior efforts of a customer, they can provide customized guidance during the interaction.

3. Track contact reasons on various channels. Customers will use preferred channels for specific contact reasons. Staff can be allotted to these communication channels based on expertise and ability to achieve FCR. Additionally, the omni-channel customer experience should include self-service options, but sometimes the customer isn’t able to solve their problem on their own. When communication is routed to an agent, the agent should be alerted to the reason for the call so they can pick up where the customer left off.

4. After reviewing contact patterns and analyzing customer profiles, identify inefficient or problematic contact center strategies. Then, conduct process and policy evaluations to find out which procedures can be changed to prevent future problems.

6. Some contact center managers choose to identify situations where FCR is not possible and then subtract those types of contacts from the equation. For example, if manager approval is required for waiving charges, escalation is necessary and FCR cannot occur. This type of contact is sometimes taken out of the FCR equation.

7. Don’t close incidents and assume that FCR has been achieved until the customer considers the issue closed. Many customers say that one of the main reasons for repeat contact is because they’re not satisfied with the response they received, even if it was actually the correct response. If you don’t take this into account, the contact center’s FCR rate could seem higher than it really is.

It’s not realistic to believe that every single issue will be able to be resolved during first contact. For most contact centers, there are situations that require additional work, research or help. However, to see FCR improve means that the customer experience and the contact center’s efficiency are both progressing.

Contact Center Software Features to Improve the Customer Experience

Contact center software should offer features that enrich the customer experience.  The following features should be considered.

Callback or Voicemail from Queue

Instead of waiting for the next available agent, many customers are happy with opting to have an agent call them back when it would normally be their turn in the queue. Once a caller is placed in the queue, they are given an option to continue waiting or to be called by an agent. If the caller also wants to leave a message for a particular agent or department, they can do that as well.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Self-Service Options

The customer experience begins before the customer is even connected to an agent. With IVR, callers are routed to the agent that they need to talk to regarding their specific inquiry. IVR helps improve first call resolution and increases customer satisfaction. Sometimes, a customer doesn’t need an agent at all, but can instead solve their problem with self-service IVR. Hours of operation, directions, and even basic account changes can often be handled electronically.

Warm Transfer and Call Conferencing

Ending all transfers would be great, but it isn’t realistic. Even when IVR does its job and connects the caller to the right agent, the caller may have a second issue that needs to be addressed by another agent. When a transfer is necessary, the warm transfer is the best option. Agent #1 speaks with agent #2 about the caller’s inquiry, which means the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves. Or, instead of transferring the caller, the second agent can be conferenced in.

VIP Routing and Dedicated Phone Numbers

High value customers are important to a brand. By tagging a customer as a VIP, they can skip the waiting queue and be immediately connected to an agent. It helps to also assign a VIP tag to the contact center’s best agents so that the inquiry is handled as flawlessly as possible. Additionally, VIP customers can be given direct phone numbers to their “personal” agent. When it’s not possible for an agent to answer a VIP call, the customer can leave a voicemail for a specific agent or team.