Call Centers’ Missing Link Between Insights and Actions

Call centers are sitting on a gold mine of opportunities. Day after day, they create enormous amounts of real-time data that could be leveraged to drive maximum levels of productivity. Yet, most call centers are not able to capitalize on this wealth of information at their disposal.

If left unsolved, this disconnect can cause persisting issues within call centers. And given the shift to remote-work models, the data gap has only grown. Companies need to harness the real-time flow of information occurring within their call centers to ensure peak efficiency.

Call centers generate large volumes of data, and processing that amount of information is a challenge for management teams. It is an impossible task, regardless of the size of a call center staff or the level of competency and expertise.

With center conditions constantly changing, customer service teams cannot harness this data in the moment. For context, our platform manages more than 250,000 agents processing more than 3,000 data points per second, while making business adjustments around 40 times per second. It's a tall order for any call center team to take on alone.

While teams can analyze data and take action at a later date or time, even an hour later, the information could already be outdated. What might have been a good decision an hour ago might no longer have an appropriate or desired outcome, leading to several missed opportunities for call centers to drive improvements. For example, without added intelligence, managers could send agents to training sessions, but would not be able to recall them if call volume surges. Or, if it takes an hour to decide whom to offer voluntary time off, the potential amount of savings in labor costs decreases.

Call center supervisors often wear many hats and juggle many responsibilities, creating a management issue at no fault of the supervisors. They are typically given 15-18 agents to supervise. To ensure maximum productivity, they would need to monitor each aspect of every agent's performance, including tracking historical data, call queues, off-phone assignments, and schedules, all while trying to coach, assist, and develop great agents.

While this has been the typical standard in which supervisors have operated, an overload of responsibilities leads to unoptimized operations and agents lacking quality management and guidance. With the number of calls and agents that supervisors have to manage, addressing issues with handle time or adherence is challenging to maintain or gain lasting improvements.

Rather than having managers monitor all facets of the call center, a sole focus on agent development can yield more significant results, with supervisors leading with a people-first mindset and doing what they do best: managing customer and employee-related issues.

A lack of this approach can result in subpar customer and agent experiences. Customers will spend 43 days on hold throughout their lives, while call centers see 30 percent to 50 percent agent attrition on average. Rapid turnover and frustrated customers are not a recipe for success, but what can call centers do to remedy this dilemma?

The answer lies within the power of artificial intelligence, augmenting human workforces. An intelligent assistant can both process and react to call center data in real time to immediately automate actions that your best managers would take. For instance, aligning agent schedules to real-time call volumes, sending training sessions during times with low volume, or automating offers of voluntary time off.

The intelligent assistant helps managers concentrate on their key role: supporting and coaching agents. With automated support from an intelligent assistant, companies can take back control of the call center by letting people do what they do best and leveraging technology to do what it does best, creating more engaged agents, better customer experiences and, most importantly, significant cost savings.

Matt McConnell is CEO and president of Intradiem.