Multimodal Customer Service Interactions Need Actionable Data Monitoring

11 Nov 2015

Everyone recognizes that all business communications, especially customer services, are shifting away from just telephone calls to multimodal and mobile online self-service interactions. As a result, contact center supervisors, who are tasked with not only managing such expanded functionality, but also monitoring the effectiveness of workflows and their customer-facing staff in handling those interactions, are facing new challenges.

We talked to Clarity Consulting about their innovative approach to contact center operational management that has extended the power of real-time feedback and actionable management controls to optimize customer service interactions (voice, web, email, IM). As a single software solution, their Clarity Connect offering not only supports multimodal interactions, but also allows for a deeper level of insight and management control with each of those modes of interaction, independently or as a whole.

What do you see as the biggest challenges that business organizations must overcome to improve multimodal customer services?

The contact center world has always been driven by detailed activity data. The ability to know what is going on at all times and react accordingly is paramount for managers and supervisors. Historically, contact center technologies have put an emphasis on serving up specific data that identifies a problem, but they lacked the deeper level of insights and the controls that would allow supervisors to effectively respond to different operational issues. In particular, the increasing shift to mobile, online customer self-service applications, requires careful attention to the user interface design and user experience. In addition, with the shift to multimodal communications, many customer service solutions lack the ability to provide a single, real-time view into all of the interaction activity that customers and agents have within the contact center.

What does your Clarity Connect offer that is different or better than other approaches for accessing intelligent, actionable data?

Clarity Connect provides contact center supervisors/managers with the actionable data that helps identify the root cause and context for resolution. Actionable data not only helps identify an issue or potential issue, but also provides a deeper level of data that guides operational management to what needs to be done to fix the issues i.e., what action can be taken immediately to keep things running as smooth as possible and keep the customer experiences positive.

Here are some examples of call activity data that can help identify operational problems and actionable data that can show you how or where to fix it.

1. Service Level

This is the percentage of calls that have been answered within your targeted goal of desired time to answer a call from a waiting queue.

When you're missing your Service Level goal, that's a problem. However, most systems simply tell you that a Service Level has been missed and supervisors are left to dig through the crime scene for clues. By adding Excess Time as a form of actionable data that accompanies the Service Level, we provide supervisors with the smoking gun.

Excess Time is the time beyond the Service Level it took to respond to a customer interaction. So, if your service level goal is 20 seconds, and a session holds for 25 seconds, you would have 5 seconds of Excess time. This is actionable; you can have your agents adjust their greetings or other actions to buy back 5 seconds on the average interaction and therefore meet your Service Level. If the Excess time was 1:15 minutes instead of 5 seconds, you would know you need more agents to meet your service level instead of trying to adjust greetings or minimize hold time.

2. Call Abandonment

Abandoned calls have long been a driving factor in call center performance and customer satisfaction. Knowing what to adjust to get the abandoned rate down has been hard, and the primary fix is usually around staffing, which is costly and time consuming.

Sometimes staffing is the right answer, and sometimes there are quick, low-cost alternatives. How do you identify which is right?

Average and Max Abandon Times are great pieces of actionable data that you can use to help here. Also abandonment within your SL goal, or abandonment outside of your SL Goal, are important perspectives. All of these can help you formulate a strategy for offering callbacks at the right time (just before the average abandon time outside of your SL, as the best example), using "virtual queuing." This improves the customer experience and satisfaction.

3. IVR Application Abandonment

Callers often abandon an IVR self-service application, complaining that the menus are too complex, or because they end up going to the wrong queues and need to be transferred to live assistance. All of these are problematic from many points of view. The result is that customers are having bad experiences; activity reporting doesn't make sense, etc.

A call flow "Heat Map" provides actionable data that gives supervisors a visual overview of how people are interacting with all of the self-service call flows. By quantifying and identifying the most (deep red) and least (blue) used call paths taken at each step of the call flow, supervisors can adjust a greeting or eliminate a menu option to reduce unnecessary call flow activity where needed.

Heat Map Example:

Heat map example

As an example from this call flow Heat Map, we can identify where and why no one is choosing path 7. We could take some different actions with this information, depending on the desired end state activity result. We could eliminate this option altogether, if we want to simplify the menu options. If, however, we were trying to drive callers to a particular option, we can change the greeting to offer that call flow option sooner or bring attention to that option in a more noticeable way.

Each of the above examples highlights how actionable data can provide a better customer experience, as well as more efficient contact center operations.

Summary of the Clarity Connect capabilities and Clarity Consulting services:

  • Offers customer service operational management new tools for dynamically monitoring and changing customer interaction flows, as well as changing customer support staffing requirements in real time
  • Enables greater evaluation of productivity metrics
  • Supports customer use of Skype for Business more efficiently
  • Allows end users to leverage their investment in Office 365 more efficiently
  • Clarity Consulting provides experience in migrating gracefully from legacy telephony communication technologies to multimodal interactions
  • Clarity Consulting provides greater experience with all modes of business communications and endpoint devices


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