SOURCE: WhitePages.com

November 25, 2013 08:00 ET

One-Quarter of Call Centers Report Data Overload

New Study Released by WhitePages PRO and ICMI Reveals Inefficiencies With Collection and Use of Customer Data; Agent Productivity and Customer Service Inhibited

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Nov 25, 2013) - More than 25 percent of contact centers are experiencing data overload, according to a recent study commissioned by WhitePages, the leading provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S., and conducted by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI). The A Wow Customer Journey: Actionable Data in Today's Multichannel Contact Center revealed that a significant percentage of contact center executives claim that too much data is being collected from disparate sources within corporate call centers, and that the data is also inefficiently consolidated once collected. The study reveals overall inefficiencies with today's contact center data, finding that more than 60 percent of contact centers are unable to deliver customer service information to agents, and more than one-third of agents leave customer satisfaction data off the table altogether.

A Wow Customer Journey: Actionable Data in Today's Multichannel Contact Center provides contact center professionals with insights to improve customer service experiences and engagement to use and manage big data efficiently. The study was conducted August 2-13, 2013 among 542 contact center professionals.

"Contact centers are in the middle of a data overload tempest, and with no relief in sight," said Sarah Stealey Reed, Content Director of ICMI. "The study shows that without the right tools and guidance, agents are neither able to handle the volume of data that is in front of them, nor able to extract the vital pieces of information that they need to drive successful outcomes. In reality, this abundance of data can empower contact centers to help their customers and, ultimately, boost the businesses' bottom line -- but companies are failing their agents in leaving them empty handed."

Findings from the A Wow Customer Journey: Actionable Data in Today's Multichannel Contact Center include:

Using facts to flourish
The majority of contact centers do report leveraging data to help maximize their customer experience and internal processes. According to the report, data is primarily used for managing overall agent performance (67 percent) and for identifying customer satisfaction survey improvement (48 percent). In a list of the ways companies use data generated by the contact center, the top three were to:

  • Improve customer experience results (72 percent)
  • Improve contact center operational efficiency (68 percent)
  • Improve customer experience consistency (60 percent)

Access but not success
Contact center agents have their hands on data but aren't using all of it to their advantage.

  • While nearly one-half of contact centers (48 percent) collect and use the average satisfaction of a contact, 15 percent only collect the information but then don't actually implement or use any of the collected information. More than one-third (36 percent) of agents don't collect data around the satisfaction of a customer at all.
  • Surprisingly, given the various customer service channels available to consumers today, more than one-half (51 percent) of call centers do not ask for customers' channel preference. One-third (32 percent) of contact centers report collecting preferred channel preference information from customers.

The data frenemy
While big data has helped some agents at contact centers, others have a different story to report.

  • More than 60 percent of contact centers cannot provide customer information proactively to an agent
  • More than 40 percent of customer contact information is still manually inputted by an agent, rather than being fed through an automated API or web-based system

Falling down on the basics
Every contact center agent understands the value of the customer's time and faces challenges when it comes to taking too much time to gather basic information.

  • Nearly one-half (49 percent) of agents report overall productivity and efficiency challenges when they have to ask customers for basic contact information
  • One-fourth (25 percent) of agents need to consistently learn new technology or processes to handle their contacts (stated above).

"While it's clear that some contact centers are struggling to utilize customer data, there are areas in which access to customer data in real-time can provide increased efficiencies," said John Neely, Director of Accounts, WhitePages. "With nearly two-thirds of all respondents reporting that data can be used to improve the customer experience, call centers need to refine their use of data to further increase the efficiency of their operations."

To learn more about A Wow Customer Journey: Actionable Data in Today's Multichannel Contact Center, go to http://www.icmi.com/research/WP-WOW.

About WhitePages PRO
WhitePages PRO (http://pro.whitepages.com) gives businesses access to WhitePages' contact data, providing a 360 degree view of customers. This intelligence helps to validate online purchasers to identify both fraudulent and legitimate transactions, drive greater efficiency from call centers, and enrich contact records to strengthen customer interactions. Early customers include Vizio, Oakley and Ann Inc.

About WhitePages
WhitePages is the leading provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S. With over 50 million unique monthly users and powering over 2 billion searches per year across sites that include WhitePages.com and 411.com, WhitePages offers consumers one-click access to more than 200 million adults and also provides them with the ability to edit and control their own listings. The company's suite of mobile products includes a top-50 mobile website and popular Android and iPhone apps with over 15 million active monthly users.