Five Ways Contact Centers Use Analytics to Make Smarter Business Decisions

Identify High-Value and At-Risk Customers

In contact centers, no two customers are exactly alike, and every customer that interacts with an agent will have their own impact on the company. Customers who frequently engage or often make purchases should naturally be a higher priority than first-time callers. Likewise, extremely dissatisfied customers calling in are at a higher risk of leaving your business than those calling with positive remarks or non-urgent questions. By applying analytics to discover the frequency and sentiment of each caller’s previous interactions with your company, contact centers can determine whether they fall into one of these two categories and, if they do, set up the right procedures to handle high-priority and high-risk calls first.

Eliminate Unnecessary Steps in Operational Procedures

No organization can be 100 percent efficient all of the time. The same is true for contact centers as they address a myriad of customer issues. However, by analyzing key data points, such as average speed of answer and transfer frequency, the contact center is able to pinpoint staffing issues, or procedural inefficiencies and redundancies. If answer time is below the organizational average for a particular contact center, for example, businesses will know they should research the root cause of the problem. Similarly, if the analysis reveals that callers are made to go through several unnecessary steps before they reach the proper agent, businesses can create new routing procedures for more efficient and better customer experiences.

Determine Customers’ Purchasing Propensity

A customer’s preference for specific products and services is affected by demographic attributes such as age, gender, income and location, and is often indicated by past behaviors. After collecting and tracking customer data, contact center managers can use analytics to determine which products and services a customer would be most interested in. Businesses should provide agents with this customer information, and train them how to offer callers the specific solutions that they will be most open to hear about and likely to purchase.

Understand and Capitalize on Consumer Trends

Your customer base provides you with a useful snapshot of your market as a whole, and what both current and potential customers want. By analyzing contact center calls for the needs and requests made by your customers, you can tailor products and services to what would interest a larger customer pool. Historical data from customer-agent interactions, for example, might reveal indicators of what products customers are looking for but not finding, so businesses can develop product lines that will bring in the most profits.

Identify Priority Areas for Agent Training

Contact centers assign agents skills based on criteria that are sometimes objective and sometimes subjective. But they could score agents for different tasks by looking at the business outcomes of their customer interactions over an extended period and statistically analyzing their performance. This will reveal the agent’s indisputable real-world strengths and weaknesses, and will help the contact center prioritize routing of calls to the agent best suited to handling each issue. However, agents will sometimes have to deal with calls in areas where they are not as strong, especially in times of company crises. Therefore, analysis of agent weakness is critical, so businesses can identify where to increase agent trainings. After all, in the end, it is all about how well each agent serves each customer.


It’s no secret that Big Data is having a positive impact on the contact center industry. And as businesses are faced with growing amounts of data on everything from the effectiveness of their marketing strategy to individual customer preferences, it is important to identify the right systems to make use of this information.

In today’s Big Data age, businesses are increasingly turning to analytics as the means by which to make smarter business decisions from the data at their fingertips. In fact, a recent study found that top-performing organizations are using analytics five times more than lower performers. This is a true testament to the power businesses can unlock from great analytics.

While most organizations can agree on the burgeoning need for analytics products in the contact center, there is still some debate around how to best use these solutions to improve business outcomes. Arnab Mishra, senior vice president of products and solutions at Transera, a cloud contact center analytics provider, shares the top five ways that contact centers can utilize analytics to make better business decisions.



Five Networking Predictions for 2015

Big Data Will Get Bigger – and Better

Already, billions of connected devices and new technologies are generating massive amounts of data. In 2015, the number of connected devices will grow – and so will your company’s wealth of knowledge and ability to use the Big Data to improve business processes. All aspects of the business, from developing the most efficient manufacturing process to creating an amazing customer experience, will stem from the investments companies make to collecting and effectively utilizing Big Data. Make sure your company has the ability to gather and apply this data to gain as much value as possible from it.

Speed and Agility

Everything is moving online. Traditional consumer products, such as home security systems, lights and heating units, to office supplies like printers and scanners, will all become connected. As more networks and products become software-defined and the physical restrictions to building and deploying networks are removed, both businesses and consumers alike will expect faster connectivity and results, at all times. These connected devices will have to be updated continuously and have absolutely zero lag time. Prep your network for this influx now by making sure everything is up to date and secure.

Increased Adoption and Higher Standards

There is an overwhelming mix of technology in the networking marketplace, including devices, communication protocols, middleware and applications. This technology brings new leading standards and an increase in interoperability. As connected devices become the norm in 2015, the barrier to adoption that many of these technologies currently have will be eliminated. This fluidity between networks and devices will lead to more integrated solutions that will have significant value to the business. A technology consultant may be of value to your business when preparing for this shift.

The Internet of Things Becomes the Internet of Everything

The Internet of Things is already here, and is such an integrated part of business and everyday life that shockingly, we don’t even recognize it any more. Since 2013, more than 650 million new physical objects have come online. That number is only getting bigger, which means that networks need to be optimized to prepare for the increase in bandwidth needed to support this growth. 2015 will become the year when every division within a business will focus on the strategy behind the Internet of Everything. Prepare for this by incorporating the Internet of Everything into business plans and projections.

Make Way for the CTO

The consumerization of IT continues to infiltrate every department in the enterprise. In 2015, it can be expected that end users, who previously had little interest in IT, will be empowered by new technologies and connected devices. As this happens, the role of the CTO will continue to expand to become a mission-critical addition to the C-suite. In 2015, CTOs will spearhead technological innovations and business practices not just in IT, but will extend their influence to marketing, human resources and financial operations. Ensure a smooth transition by starting to integrate each business division into the technology decision making process sooner rather than later.


2014 was a year of big technology changes. Wearable technologies started to make their mark. Multiple high-profile companies suffered from data breaches that compromised customer information. Cloud computing became the norm for companies storing information, everything became software-defined, and Big Data broke into the mainstream.

Despite all of that, 2015 promises to bring even more technology innovations, especially for network infrastructure. Dan Pickett, CEO of IT networking company infrastructure, shares his top predictions for the Internet of Things and the overall state of networking.



Ten Cool Office Spaces That Go Beyond Tradition


Zappos introduced a UFO-shaped conference room in the center of its courtyard that can be booked for meetings.

home away
HomeAway, an online vacation marketplace headquartered in Austin, Texas, built its own miniature roof with a hammock for working and relaxing.

Starbucks brings Seattle-based employees together with a homey, full-service cafeteria.

Salesforce boasts a colorful kitchen with various sitting areas and coffee and food options.

Hubspot, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., uses modern design to attract its employees to a new lounge.

JustFab, a lifestyle fashion company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., has an in-house photo studio where employees capture images for their online community.

Ogilvy & Mather
Ogilvy & Mather
Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising agency, provides a gym for its employees.

Oracle promotes healthy living with an in-house basketball and volleyball court.

Groupon uses themed spaces, such as a Tiki room, to spark creativity.

Red Door Interactive
Red Door Interactive
Red Door Interactive, a strategic partnering firm, has an open floor plan for employees to work, eat and play.

More and more companies are realizing the benefit of adding unique design and amenities to their office spaces. Custom-themed kitchens, complete gyms and creative meeting spaces can help foster a strong company culture, close-knit teams and even a healthy work-life balance.



The Seven W.A.R.N.I.N.G. Signs of Career Distress

Wavering Self-Confidence

You have put pressure on yourself to succeed as defined by others, but you have never felt completely satisfied in your career choice, instead questioning the benefit you provide. After years of doing something you don’t love, often with unrealistic expectations, you have a diluted sense of worth. In turn, you are uncertain about your value and cautious about finding the career you want.

Tip: Create your own definition of success that highlights your value and the contribution you bring to your organization.

At Sea

You are no longer learning and feeling challenged. In many cases, your career has lulled you into complacency. You have been a good soldier, performing as expected and, thus, allowing others to control your destiny. In doing so, you have not actively managed your career. But when something (such as a significant company change) forces you to finally look around, you discover your job has become something you never wanted it to be.

Tip: Reassess your career goals and ambitions. This may be the time for reinvention by learning new skills or potentially finding a new employer.

Relinquished Control

Scratching and clawing your way to the top can result in losing sight of who you are. Your eagerness to be successful can be blinding. Without a good early role model, you can quickly latch on to how others in status positions behave. You begin to sacrifice yourself in order to fit in and be part of the club.

Tip: Clearly articulate the leader you want to be. What are your beliefs? How do you want to be treated? How do you want to treat others?


Have you ended up in a career or job where you no longer feel as though you have any control over how your job is performed? Do you feel as though you are drifting in the swirl of corporate despair, neglected and shunted to the side by your team, superiors or board? Now, you are struggling to make yourself relevant.

Tip: Get reacquainted with your best assets. List your top five strengths and the key contributions you’ve made in your current position.


Idling is characterized by the inability to make progress on decisions that affect you. You have become emotionally paralyzed and your life feels stuck. It begins when you lose sight of what you want and others become your focus. You feel the weight of every personal decision and the impact on those around you. But a slow simmer is happening inside. The frustration is mounting, and you feel like you are losing bits and pieces of yourself.

Tip: Think of yourself first. Determine what you need for yourself in order to feel fulfilled and energized.

No Focus

You might experience this if you enthusiastically imagine lots of potential career options but, like a kid in a candy store, can’t quite decide which one you want. Ultimately, you are overwhelmed with all the choices and every day you come home with a new exciting possibility. While this is encouraging because you can see the opportunities, it is frustrating for you and those around you because there is a lot of talk and little action.

Tip: Create a checklist of specific criteria for your career. What would you be doing? Why would you be doing it? Who would you be doing it with? How would you be doing it?

Growing Discontent

By all accounts, you have a great job. The title. The money. The office. The prestige of working for a respected company. But still, you are not feeling fulfilled, and it’s wearing you down. During your ascent through the company, you collected all the trinkets of success, but you lost sight of what really gets you excited. Now you know what you want to be doing, but you haven’t yet found the path forward. Something or someone (the organization) is holding you back.

Tip: Clearly and succinctly articulate how a change for you would also be a positive change for your company. Identify a champion or mentor who can help support and navigate this change.

If your current situation is not working for you, you do not have to accept it as your fate. You can set forth a new vision. It takes not only awareness of where you are today but self discipline to start taking a series of small action steps to initiate the change you want in your career and life.

According to certified executive coach and author Peter C. Diamond, midlife is supposed to be the time when we should have it all. In actuality it’s more like, “My life is more complicated than I ever imagined and my career is not turning out as I had hoped. I’m at a crossroads.”

Perhaps the most difficult part about finding your career in flux is that this is the time when you have the most to give. And yet, you are feeling the most vulnerable grappling with knowing if your company considers you valuable, someone who will continue to be rewarded and given challenging assignments. And whether this is consistent with how you rate your contributions and value to the company.

To dig out of your doldrums, start by bringing awareness to your current circumstances and the truths that exist. To create awareness, you have to have the ability and presence of mind to step back and see your current situation for what it is. While everyone’s situation is highly personal, some common themes are consistent with what most people experience. This slideshow features what Diamond refers to as the seven W.A.R.N.I.N.G. signs of distress.



Public Clouds Still Looking for the Enterprise Sweet Spot

The enterprise seems to be developing a love/hate relationship with the public cloud. On the one hand, the prospect of virtually limitless resources seems ready to take on any processing or storage load that comes along. On the other, issues of security, availability and portability threaten to inhibit productivity unless sophisticated new management layers are introduced.

Nevertheless, enterprise deployment of public cloud resources is on the rise, if the data from the provider community is to be believed. Gigaom Research, for one, estimates that public cloud infrastructure is nearly deployed or already in place at more than half of large enterprises, most of which are looking to provide the underpinnings of broad scale-out architectures to support Big Data analytics. This trend cuts across a wide swath of industry verticals, including manufacturing, tech firms, finance and ecommerce, with specific applications ranging from real-time workload and batch processing to app development and social media.

Clearly, this is good news for the large public cloud providers, and at the moment there is none larger than Amazon. At its AWS re:Invent show last week, the company claimed no less than one million active customers who are driving revenue growth to about 40 percent per year. Gartner estimates that AWS offers about five times the capacity as the next 14 cloud competitors combined.

If size was all that mattered, however, it would be game-over for anyone else thinking about providing public cloud resources. Offering commodity resources at ultra-low prices is a good way to draw consumers, but enterprise customers generally need a higher degree of hand-holding. This is where rivals like Microsoft and Rackspace hope to make their marks, by offering cloud support for popular business tools like Office and SharePoint that can integrate directly with legacy platforms and provide multiple premium levels of service that enterprises are willing to support, even at higher cost.

Amazon has made some moves in this direction, with new database support and various PaaS offerings, but most of its higher-level services come from third-party providers like GitHub. The company recently launched a new version of its GitHub Enterprise dev/ops platform that features direct integration with AWS. Success for this kind of venture is a bit, well, cloudy; however, consider that one of the primary reasons for the success of the on-premises version of the GitHub software is developers’ reticence in trusting potentially highly valuable code to the public sphere. But with AWS’s heightened support for leading compliance standards like HIPAA and FEDRAMP, both companies hope to overcome those concerns.

Still another concern is that distribution of enterprise infrastructure across multiple clouds will lead to the same kind of data isolation that afflicts traditional resource silos. But on that score, it seems that on-premises platforms could in fact produce greater federation across the cloud. NetApp’s latest Data Ontap release, for example, offers clustering capabilities that provide consistent data functionality between the enterprise and AWS. The company is working with Microsoft, Verizon and other providers to bring them into the fold as well. At the same time, the OnCommand management suite offers a single pane of glass to oversee both public and private cloud environments.

The cloud, then, is an apt metaphor for the data infrastructure that is emerging both inside and outside the enterprise. On good days, it will be a peaceful environment with data flowing smoothly from place to place, but on bad days it can become highly chaotic with rapid shifts of resources and sudden bursts of energy that can greatly affect life on the ground.

If there is one overriding principle to devising public, private and hybrid infrastructure then, it is not to prevent storms from happening but to learn to cope with them as they arise.

Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata, Carpathia and NetMagic.