Part 2 of our 5 part series “Making Your Call Center Relevant”
2 – Mining for Gold
According to Gartner Research Study, companies will spend approximately ten percent of their revenues on marketing. That’s a significant spend, but do we know how effective this has been? John Wanamaker, an American merchant and pioneer in developing Department Store retailing from the late 19th century, famously said that “half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
In the first installment of this series, we discussed the expanse of information available to your company about your customer – aka, Big Data in the Call Center. We know that data is the key, but data itself is not the answer. We need to understand what all this data is telling us about our customers. To this end, in this installment we’re going to explore the challenges in mining the data for meaning.
There was a day when merchants were able to have a direct relationship with their customers and they knew everything about them. What their individual needs were. What their wants were. This educated their decisions on everything from how each individual should be serviced, to what products to stock. As merchants began to expand and open multiple stores nationally, the relationship between the merchant owner and the customer ended and personal service suffered.
With the advent of computers and the database, companies began to accrue information about their customers. Companies deployed IVR and CRM applications to collect information, albeit very limited, and stored that information in searchable fields. This type of data is referred to as structured data or “machine friendly” information. While this information was helpful those fields only contained information companies felt they needed to collect – they were pre-determined fields by someone in your Company. The value of this data is questionable in that it’s not necessarily what your customers want you know; or perhaps it may have been relevant when they were created, but is no longer today.
Today, there is a plethora of information stored electronically in the recorded interactions between your customers and your call center agents. There is another radical transformation that is happening in our industry. Customers are expecting to be able to interact with you in the channel of their choice and at the time of their choice. Further, your customers are expecting a seamless and agile [omnichannel] experience between the channels. Companies are responding by deploying different technologies to facilitate better customer experiences across multiple channels.
This new reality introduces a greater complexity as we need to connect the data – I’ll say again, large volumes of data – being captured across the disparate channels/technologies. In order to truly understand the customer experience, we need to piece together the customer’s journey through all these channels. Further, unlike the data you have in your database, this information is not stored in convenient rows and columns – this data is unstructured or in a format that’s “human friendly.” There is no index in which traditional database engines can fulfill queries.
So where are we? We know that there is a lot of good information about our customers in our electronic interactions with them. We know that data is key and that we have that data – large volumes of data, captured by disparate technologies in an unstructured format. Data itself is not the answer. We also need to be able to discern intelligent, actionable meaning – the Gold – from this data.
In the next installment, we’ll look for answers.