For many people making changes is very difficult. This is especially true when the edict is to be “out with the old, in with the new.” People too often feel that the status quo is fine; as long as things are working there should be no reason to change.
When it comes to real-time reporting in the contact center environment, unfortunately, managers who resist changing from creating reports manually to an automated real-time reporting solution will be missing out on a plethora of benefits.
Certainly anyone who creates manual reports recognizes that call center data have great value to the center’s operation. That may make it easier to make the change to real-time automated reporting when the added benefits are revealed.
The Time Factor
First, managers who create manual reports realize that it is a very time-consuming task. This, of course, takes managers away from doing other pressing work, and, most will be honest enough to admit, the time factor can sometimes mean the reports don’t get done.
If a manager is more diligent than simply not doing the reporting, when it’s crunch time, he or she may delegate the task to another individual in the center who may not be as astute and therefore, valuable data may be overlooked or reported incorrectly.
With real-time automated reporting, the reports are created automatically and then delivered to the appropriate stakeholders on a schedule. This means the contact center manager can make better use of his or her time and still benefit from the knowledge in the reports, and in a more consistent time frame.
Data Access Complexities
Not only will the automation of real-time reports mean scheduled delivery of information, it also means that no data are left out of the reports, which frequently happens with manual reporting. Of course no one wants to produce incomplete reports, but it happens because gaining access to certain data is often complex and may be beyond the manager’s capabilities. Therefore, no matter how much value he or she believes that data holds, it is not included in the report, which could affect the contact center’s efficiency.
Limited Reporting Scope
When manually reporting, a manager may rely too heavily on a single data source, such as the ACD, to the detriment of the myriad other data sources that could produce a more valid and/or complete picture of what is occurring in the contact center. Here again, time and complexity are factors.
With automated real-time reporting, on the other hand, data from a host of sources would be available in the reports. For instance, schedule adherence and absenteeism would be reported from workforce management, revenue, quotes and sales detail data could be obtained from the CRM application, while ticketing KPIs would come from the help desk application. Reports could also include information on quality scores and survey results. Clearly, having all of this data in a regularly scheduled report would allow the contact center team to operate more effectively.
When creating a report manually, a manager will no doubt only be able to produce a single version of the report for every recipient, no matter the recipients’ role in the contact center. Time and confidentiality play a role in this drawback of manual reporting.
With automated reporting, reports can be customized so people at all levels of responsibility can be kept informed with the report information that is appropriate and of concern to them. For example, agents can see report information on their current status, while team leaders and managers can be provided real-time as well as historical data on both agents and the group. That real-time and historical data can be infused with critical business data that may be proprietary for senior management as well.
Proactive not Reactive
It would be virtually impossible for a manager to continually stay on top of and report on real-time situations that impact the quality of the contact center operation. With automated real-time reporting, if a threshold is exceeded, for example, the system will alert the call center and managers immediately when something can be done about it, not at the end of the day when a manual report is typically produced. In other words, real-time automated reporting is proactive not reactive, which allows critical issues to be remedied before they become big problems.
Making the Change
As much as any manager may be comfortable with the manual approach to contact center reporting, the benefits of real-time automated reporting are clear. And since many of those benefits mean more time for managers to perform more rewarding functions, making the change should be welcomed.
Linda Dobel is a TMCnet Contributor. She has been an editor in the contact center space for more than 25 years, and has the distinction of being the founding editor of Customer Inter@ction Solutions (CIS) magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf