Contact Center Performance Management Software

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1 Markets, W. Close Research Note 7 March 2003 Contact Center Performance Software Enterprises face critical challenges in contact center management. Capitalizing on people, performance and analytics will be the goal. Core Topic Customer Relationship : Business Strategies, Technologies and Apps. for Customer Service and Support Key Issue What workforce and workplace strategies will help the enterprise excel at customer service? There are few environments where you can have real-time performance reporting and where it is relatively easy to define detailed metrics and to capture and communicate performance measures. One such environment is the contact center. Performance management systems in the contact center integrate the enterprise's in-place contact center technologies, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and other data sources to provide a transparent picture of performance across sites, functions and levels, while aligning targets with business objectives. The goal is to define detailed metrics, and capture and communicate performance measures. Whether you build or buy a contact center performance management solution, the following will be required: 1. Automatic collection of data using data extraction, transformation and load tools from disparate sources in the contact center for example, automatic call distribution (ACD), workforce management (WFM) and quality assurance (QA) and the enterprise for example, CRM systems and payroll. The data is stored in a data mart. 2. Development of a set of metrics those used to monitor the business and those used to motivate and measure individual performance. Some vendor offerings come with a library of contact center key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be customized. The library may include best practice data for comparison. 3. Personalized delivery of the data via Web-based dashboards configured by role (for example, operations manager, supervisor and agent) and user preferences (for example, select which KPIs or metrics the user wants to track on the dashboard). Gartner Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 4. Residing on a business intelligence (BI) platform like Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services or MicroSrategy's MicroStrategy 7. Therefore, it supports online analytical processing (OLAP) analysis to filter, drill, graph and analyze KPIs. Users can drill directly on dashboard graphs and grids for further analysis that is, support for relational OLAP (ROLAP). 5. Automation of key workflows for messages, tasks, reminders and alerts, such as when thresholds are exceeded or variations occur. Although, alone, reporting and analytics in the contact center provide information on performance that can be acted on at a managerial level, which can have an impact on the day-to-day productivity and performance of individual agents, contact center performance management can go further by: Setting clear performance expectations for agents and managers, which should be aligned with the goals of the organization Delivering timely feedback on agent performance at both an individual and a unit level, empowering agents to modify behaviors to better meet daily productivity and performance expectations Encompassing reward and recognition schemes and performance-related pay to motivate agents to continually improve Targeting learning and development based on factually identified needs (across all types of objectives) to ensure that the performance curve of the business continues to shift forward Aiding in identifying the characteristics (knowledge, skills and behaviors competencies) of high performers, which, if applied appropriately, may help reduce turnover or aid in hiring better, more-productive workers in the future Aiding employees not only in their current role, but also in their progress in achieving their overall career objectives For service industries where the contact center plays a vital role in the performance of the enterprise, such as telecommunications companies, call center outsourcers, retail banks, credit card companies and healthcare providers, investments in contact center performance management are key to understanding overall enterprise performance. 7 March

3 Adoption Rates Performance management gained some traction in contact centers in We estimate that it's still an emerging market, with fewer than 100 contact centers using packaged contact center performance management solutions from the vendors in Figure 3. Most contact centers rely on reports generated from several different systems and are challenged to understand what is really happening in the contact center. From our contact center benchmarking services, our experience has been that these applications are still rather rare relative to the number of contact centers out there (we estimate that 10 percent to 20 percent of the contact centers that we speak with have these applications, but more are adding them) and that they are one of the key factors separating the great centers from the average (source: Gartner Measurement). The current low adoption rate is due to a number of factors. Contact centers are generally underinvested. This type of software is not the highest application on the priority list if an enterprise does not have constant menuing across the centers or if it doesn't have other mission-critical contact center systems, like ACD, interactive voice response, WFM, quality monitoring or other foundation contact center technologies. Vendor solutions with reference customers are just emerging. Most of the solutions are less than three years old. Enterprises are challenged to align business metrics (for example, upsell and cross-sell) with contact center metrics (for example, call abandon rates and call handle times). The solutions can be perceived as intimidating "big brother" systems. It's challenging to integrate and maintain the data. For example, are the feeds coming from where you think they are coming from? Are definitions for each metric well-defined and consistent (for example, the definition of "handle time" may be hold time, wait time and after-contact work in one center and defined a different way in another center)? Are the calculations right? Operational CRM applications must be in place before organizations can take full advantage of performance management and other types of contact center analytics. For example, to measure one-and-done call handling or upsells or cross-sells, this data has to already exist in the enterprise in a CRM system or has to be gathered manually (one enterprise we spoke with collects the number of upsells in an 7 March

4 Excel spreadsheet that feeds the performance management system). It is important to verify targeted metrics early in the process to ensure they are really what you want to be measuring and that you can measure them. Hidden Benefits The most-commonly-cited benefits from implementing a packaged contact center performance management solution include improvements in average call handle time, increases in quality scores, reductions in staff attrition and absenteeism, improvements in productivity, increases in sales, and reductions in administration costs. One telco reported that, after implementing a contact center performance management solution, it was able to identify that agents in one call center gave unhappy clients a rebate while agents in another center, while still providing good service, did not offer clients the rebate. The system also showed that client satisfaction scores were not higher for those clients that got the rebate vs. those that did not. Agents were trained on how to handle the calls without offering the rebate, and this one insight alone paid for the contact center performance management solution. These types of trend analysis observations and correlations would not be apparent without a performance management tool. Another telco reported it bought a solution for 4,800 agents after only a two-week sales cycle, easily justifying the application based on the ability to quickly build views and reports of contact center performance data across sites a huge burden today. Good Return on Investment Companies report spending about $450 per agent for 1,000 to 3,000 agents, including licenses, servers and implementation costs, and achieving a return on investment in six months. It can cost less if an organization does not deploy the agent performance scorecards right away, instead focusing on building the data mart for analysis. Likewise, it can cost more, the more connections to data sources are added and depending on the custom nature of the data sources. For example, an electric company has a simple system with inputs from an ACD, Blue Pumpkin Software's WFM system, Siebel Systems' CRM solution and Witness Systems' QA software and no agent scorecards for about $77,000 for the software and $50,000 for the services, for a total of $127,000. Look for Synergies Before embarking on a contact center performance management initiative, enterprises need to examine their corporate strategies for performance management and BI for synergies (see Figure 1). Examine if, how and when contact center and agent 7 March

5 performance management will be addressed and what the enterprise's BI strategy is, including the platform(s) of choice. It will be challenging for enterprises to find a solution that spans and adequately addresses all areas of performance management, from corporate performance management solutions to agent performance management solutions. Figure 1 Target Goals for Contact Center Performance Solutions Improve Corporate Performance Sample KPIs: Business unit, product, channel or customer profitability. Customer retention and customer satisfaction. Corporate Performance Data Feeds Improve Contact Center Performance Sample KPIs: One-and-done call resolution, upsells, cross-sells, customer wait time, call abandonment rates. Contact Center Performance The Reach of Performance Solutions Data Feeds Improve Agent Experience Sample KPIs: Agent efficiency, productivity and quality. Agent Performance Data Feeds Improve Customer Experience Sample KPIs: Customer satisfaction per contact (e.g., call, Web), quality of the customer experience. Customer Experience Other Forms of Contact Center Analytics Are Needed. KPI = key performance indicator Source: Gartner Research Enterprises also need to identify how their contact center performance management strategies will intersect with other strategies for using analytics in the contact center, because performance management is only one component of a contact center analytics strategy it is the measurement component that is internally focused. To have an impact on the customer experience, enterprises will need to use other types of contact center analytics, such as offline analytics, real-time analytics and customer experience management (CEM) (see Figure 2 and Figure 3). 7 March

6 Figure 2 Contact Center Analytics Four Types: Characteristics Offline Analytics Definition: Focused on offline analysis of market, customer, financial and measurement data. Implementation: Based on the analysis and make the data (e.g., customer value score, credit risk, product preferences) available to agents. In addition, use the outcome to build inbound and outcome scripts to market, sell and serve customers better. Users: The information is generated by highly trained marketing analysts and easily accessible to anybody with access throughout the organization. Increasingly, call center people are being included in this. Commonly used in financial services, telco, and travel and hospitality industries. Early adoption in other sectors. Most contact centers track one or two pieces of data about the customer. Strategy: A subset of CRM analytics. Benefits: Deepens customer knowledge. Sample Vendors: SAS Institute, Hyperion, SPSS, Teradata Real-Time Analytics Definition: Focused on using real-time or embedded analytics to improve the operational effectiveness of customer-facing functions in the contact center. Implementation: Uses embedded analytics during the customer contact to personalize interactions and influence customer behavior. Feeds suggestions to agents during calls based on real-time customer analysis. Users: Marketing analyst sets it up, designed specially for the needs of the contact center. Very early market adoption stage. Heavy usage in financial services and telcos. Strategy: A subset of CRM analytics. Benefits: Improves the customer interaction. Sample Vendors: E.piphany, Marketswitch, DataDistilleries Source: Gartner Research 7 March

7 Figure 3 Contact Center Analytics (Continued) Customer Experience Definition: CEM focuses on the quality of the customer experience and the ability to measure and improve the experience. Implementation: 1) Automated IVR-based surveys are conducted immediately after the call, 2) systems performance management solutions are used to ensure that phone and Web scripts and the contact center infrastructure are working appropriately, 3) QM solutions are used for monitoring and measuring customer response to agents, and 4) market research, such as focus groups, independent surveys by or phone, and Web surveys, is conducted. Users: Surveys are typically prepared by call center infrastructure management. System performance management is set up by the vendor and managed by contact center infrastructure management. QM is set up by the vendor and managed by contact center supervisors. Adoption rates in the contact center for most of these methods of CEM remain low. Strategy: Part of a CRM strategy (one of the eight building blocks of CRM). Benefits: Provides the ability to measure and monitor customer satisfaction. Improves ability to balance costs with customer satisfaction. Sample Vendors: Automated IVR survey vendors: Aspect, Avaya, Edify Systems Performance vendors: Empirix, Interactive Quality Services, Keynote QM vendors: Dictaphone, Envision Telephony, e-talk, Nice Systems, Verint Systems, Witness Systems/Eyretel Performance Definition: Focused on providing a transparent picture of contact center performance across sites, functions and levels, while aligning goals and targets with business objectives. Implementation: Define detailed metrics, and capture and communicate performance measures. Focus is business activity monitoring. Users: Early adoption by contact center outsourcers, telcos and financial services. Most contact centers are doing something, but not the range of things outlined in this research. Strategy: A subset of corporate performance management. Benefits: Improves call center operations. Sample Vendors: AIM technology, Blue Pumpkin, CenterForce, divine, Merced, Performix Technologies, Witness Systems CEM = customer experience management CRM = customer relationship management IVR = interactive voice response QM = quality monitoring Source: Gartner Research Enterprises should try to leverage their analytic investments by examining suppliers that can meet multiple contact center analytics strategies, including offline analytics, real-time analytics, performance management and CEM. 7 March

8 Acronym Key ACD Automatic call distribution BI Business intelligence CEM Customer experience management CRM Customer relationship management KPI Key performance indicator OLAP Online analytical processing QA Quality assurance ROLAP Relational OLAP WFM Workforce management Bottom Line: Any contact center with a good infrastructure in place (for example, automatic call distribution, workforce management and quality assurance) and with more than 75 agents can benefit from a contact center performance management implementation. However, since the market is so nascent (there are many small vendors, with few vendors having more than 10 installations), Type B and Type C enterprises (mainstream and conservative adopters of technology, respectively) may choose to wait for more signs of successful implementations within their industries or may need to make more investments in their contact infrastructure before being able to take advantage of a contact center performance management solution. Type A enterprises (leading-edge adopters of technology) with more than 500 agents, in service industries where the contact center is the main channel to the customer, and where the operational call center and customer relationship management systems are already in place, will be the most likely to benefit. All contact centers should enhance their ability to go beyond basic measurement and reporting to leverage moreadvanced analytics, such those described in this research. 7 March

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