(Click here to read part I).
Enter stage left, “Big Data”. But let’s be honest, is this any more than just a cool new epithet for the old analytical tools and data warehouses? In the majority of cases, probably not. However, where I do agree with exponents of Big Data is their assertion that when combining and analysing multiple data sources in new ways, often you can make startling new discoveries that you couldn’t possibly have seen before.
Datapoint has recently been working with a client, a Business Process Outsourcer. To them, KPIs are absolutely everything. They aren’t just fanatical, they follow KPIs with a truly religious zeal because if they don’t hit the right service levels, then they don’t get paid. When we first approached them, they said to us that they have their KPIs fully under control and understood. When pressed, they would admit that they had a team of people using Excel to assimilate the data, and when they finally received the reports, they were a month out of date. On the issue of contemporary reporting alone, they became interested in what specialised “Big Data for the Contact Centre” might reveal to them, so we embarked on a project to analyse just a couple of data sources.
Constrained by their fervour for the existing KPIs, we replicated those using our new method and tools. What followed, based on just a month’s data, was astounding. We were able to replicate the KPIs fairly simply, but what was fascinating was that we were also able to correlate data between different sources and pick up previously unseen causes of poor performance (down to a detailed level). They really could not have done this using the tools at their disposal today.
This one short project revealed three key pieces of insight, resulting in efficiencies of just a few percentage points, but monetarily, well into six figures. As we develop the project further, and unleash the remaining 80% of the product onto their data, we expect to be making annual savings into seven figures.
As just one Contact Centre in a UK market of about 6,000, I feel pleased that we can help them take their operation to a new level of productivity and service. But there’s much more to do on my mission to improve the industry. In the UK, “Call Centre Operator” is currently the single most common profession, applying to about a million people, not far short of 5% of the working population. The industry is horribly inefficient and comparable to the cottage industries of the 1900s when labour was cheap and the way to scale a business was to throw more bodies at it. What our industry needs is the application of understanding and knowledge to drive improvements in efficiency in the same way that the great engineers drove the industrial revolution. In that way businesses will rein in the spiralling costs of customer contact and maybe actually improve their service at the same time. And who knows, perhaps their KPIs might improve too?