Witness Takes Bird’s-Eye View of Contact Center

Customer-service managers are always looking for ways to boost agent productivity by shaving seconds off calls and increasing upsell rates.

Indeed, if there were a customer-service crystal ball that could search through all customer interactions and spot future trends, visualizing patterns and noting irregularities, the pressures on call managers would ease and they might find it easier to boost operational effectiveness or even increase sales.

Although it does not sell crystal balls, Witness Systems claims its newly integrated visualization suite of software and services can help service managers gain a bird’s-eye view of customer interactions.

Balance Plus Vision

Specifically, the US$110 million company has integrated its eQuality Balance software, which records customer interactions, and eQuality Vision applications, designed for call visualization. Witness said the move will allow users to access and analyze all customer call attributes in an easily understandable, graphical format.

“Being able to visually comprehend the nature and characteristics of calls to a call center brings some obvious benefits,” said David Hybels, program manager at The Allen Bonde Group, a consulting firm specializing in CRM. “From a self-service perspective, managers of call centers can quickly identify not only the good aspects, but also the bad, of their self-service solutions.

“More specifically,” Hybels said to CRM Buyer, “if your customers are having trouble performing or completing certain transactions on your Web site, being able to visually see this trend means you can react faster to the problem, fix it and improve the self-service experience — thereby reducing calls to your call center.”

Captures All Customer Actions

In an interview with CRM Buyer, Forrester Research principal analyst John Ragsdale said most companies have not been leveraging the information they capture in contact-center interactions, so this latest offering from Witness seems to be a natural progression to help them do so. Witness Systems was the first quality monitoring (QM) vendor to include the capture of customer e-mails and Web browsing sessions in its QM arsenal, and these service channels are becoming more important as customers adopt options other than phone support, he said.

The eQuality suite tags all calls with every detail about the customer interaction, such as who the agent was, the customer’s identification number, the phone number the customer called in on, and whether or not the customer called about a critical defect. It can even track the desktop keystroking the agent used during the call.

Taking advantage of all call information by databasing it, the visualization software uses data-mining and trend-mining capabilities to analyze customer interaction content and then display it in graphical format.

Like Watching a Game Film

Ryan Hollenbeck, Witness Systems vice president of corporate and investor relations, told CRM Buyer that what the company provides is somewhat analogous to the game films used by sports teams. In short, the eQuality suite allows customers to see what is happening and take appropriate corrective action.

The software suite has three parts: full-time customer interaction recording; performance analysis; and e-learning management applications. Overall, it is designed to enhance the quality of customer interactions across multiple channels, including telephone, e-mail, chat and Web. Toward that goal, it operates via traditional and IP telephony environments.

The Roswell, Georgia-based company’s visualization software gathers data about everything from standard hold times and transfers to custom attributes like customer, campaign and product IDs, then displays the desired data as a graphic quickly understandable by humans. As a result, companies can rapidly search through their customer interactions to identify specific groups of calls from a database of thousands, then apply data visualization and analysis to those interactions and their attributes, and finally take action based on the results.

What’s the Score?

In an interview, Nancy Treaster, vice president of marketing at Witness Systems, said to CRM Buyer that the eQuality suite pulls in both quantitative data — for example, from an Avaya communications system — and its own qualitative data to create a “scorecard.” The scorecard might show how the call center is closing on upselling, including comparative performance of weak versus successful call agents on that metric.

She also noted that the suite collects data in the background at all times, allowing organizations to create e-learning simulations that can upgrade the skills of those agents who score below expected performance levels.

Flexible Uses

Witness Systems’ call records can be used in many ways by quality assurance leaders, contact-center supervisors and customer-service executives.

For example, a customer-service director worried about first-call resolution might want to review repeat calls from the same customers to understand the “root causes” driving those contacts. He or she could run a report to graphically represent this.

Alternatively, a sales manager could appraise interactions that resulted in upselling by looking for particularly successful call agents, customer groups, special offers, campaigns and even specific time frames.

“Call managers have the ability to identify areas outside specific parameters, create a solution to it, note individual agents’ scores and even start corrective actions by taking top agents’ processes and creating training simulations,” Treaster said.

All of the Call

According to Forrester’s Ragsdale, the key to the system’s value is its ability to capture 100 percent of customer interactions — voice, e-mail, chat and more. Witness Systems’ acquisition of Eyretel for 100 percent call recording last year helped it accomplish this goal.

There are probably even applications beyond the call center for Witness’ new software. For example, enterprises might consider using this new take on QM when implementing CRM applications. It opens up possibilities for consistently training users on common processes and can help spot overly complex or confusing workflows and business processes that need fine-tuning or simplification.

For a 100-seat contact center, eQuality Vision and eQuality Balance integration pricing begins at $28,500.

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