VPI is a well-established vendor of workforce optimization systems and rated a Hot Vendor in our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value Index. It offers a full suite of products for this market. Notable among them is Performance Reporting, which produces reports and dashboards showing a range of analysis and metrics about telephony, agent performance, coaching and customer success, along with alerts to inform employees of required actions. It combines data from a range of sources, both structured and unstructured, using speech analytics, and works in real or near real time. Performance Reporting is the basis for a new product, Customer Experience BI, which uses many of the same capabilities but focuses more on the customer experience while retaining the contact center capabilities. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer analytics shows this to be an important development as just under two-thirds (63%) of participants said they are considering investing in customer analytics to improve the customer experience.
Achieving this goal is not easy, and the research indicates that data is a major impediment. The foremost issue is the number and variety of data sources that contain customer experience data. The research finds that companies currently use an average of about eight data sources, most commonly data about finance (for 62%), website usage (58%), demographics (58%), customer feedback (56%), interactions (42%), channel usage (41%), social media (24%) and video (19%) – some companies use all of 21 of the sources we identified. It shows that for the customer experience the areas of most expected growth areas are customer feedback, metrics derived from business intelligence (BI) and interaction data. To help users overcome data collection issues VPI has built more than 50 standard connectors that support data extraction from common telephony, CRM, call recording and feedback management systems. These capabilities also help address a second and related issue: data management.
However, the research shows that rather than spending time making decisions based on the outputs of analytics, users spend most of their time preparing (47%) and reviewing (43%) data. This is likely a consequence of using spreadsheets as the main analytics tool, which 50 percent do regularly and 32 percent do universally; these tools notoriously require manual effort to prepare and digest data, and are prone to introducing data inconsistencies and errors. The tools available from VPI are designed to make it easier for business users to determine which data to use and thus what outputs are produced. The system comes with packaged reports, scorecards and more than 500 standard metrics, all of which can used as is or customized. VPI hasn’t forgotten its call center heritage so information can be displayed on large screens within a contact center or as tickers on an agent’s desktop. In addition Customer Experience BI includes root-cause analysis and a variety of ways in which alerts and actions can be flagged to make appropriate information available in a timely fashion for users to take action on. VPI is also keeping up with innovative new technology by making the outputs available on mobile devices, something which our various research projects show is increasingly important as more employees work away from their desks but still need access to alerts and information.
At least partly because spreadsheets are so commonly used to produce customer-related and indeed contact center analysis, dashboards and metrics, many companies struggle to make a business case to purchase specialist analytics tools. When it comes to customer experience analysis, our research shows strong reasons to invest emerging, as the users of such tools have seen improvement in customer experience, which our research into next-generation customer engagement shows is the most-often cited benefit, for more than half of companies. The same research shows another customer experience challenge is providing a consistent experience across all touch points because separate business units typically have different customer information. The case for investing in specialist tools is further strengthened in that more than half of users have gained better alignment across business units (52%) and better sharing of information (51%). So if your organization is seeking to improve the customer experience, I recommend evaluating this new tool from VPI.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director