Using Watson Analytics To Improve Call Center Protocol and Management

Watson Analytics is a cloud-based application that uses big data processing to transform data into a format used to communicate and collaborate around the data. It incorporates sophisticated analytics to predict outcomes in a form of intelligence that is useful in many business applications.

When the application is utilized in real-time call center dialogue, via Watson’s cognitive and emotional analytics, its utility is remarkable. It provides an entirely new approach to call center management for customer service and sales functions.

According to the researcher Global Industry Analytics, call centers are instrumental in creating high-quality service. The research went on to say that companies are ferreting out ways to make the call center more productive and effective. In their study they state that call centers are at the “forefront of customer satisfaction and support playing a key role in enhancing customer value and maintaining customer loyalty. A call center also plays a key role in customer retention during the customer lifecycle, especially when a customer is rethinking the value proposition offered by the company’s products and services.”

How can a call center build best practices to capitalize on customer engagement?

Timbergrove recently utilized IBM’s Watson Analytics (more specifically, cognitive and emotional analytics) to allow call center management to soar to new highs.

Based on the analytics, the call center is able to have a dashboard that a supervisor monitors during normal operations. The supervisor has a heat map that indicates problem calls – all based on the analytics of the dialogue taking place.

For example, certain speech patterns and conversational exchange predicts trouble. The dashboard indicates situations where customers are, or are likely to become defensive or irate. The analytics know which words, expressions and customer service approaches resonate best with customers in a variety of given situations. This triggers the supervisor to intervene before things get out of hand.

In addition, the same analytics may be utilized in call center sales. The underlying analytics can predict in a short amount of time whether a sale is likely, and what will be required to close the sale. This will allow a representative and supervisor to take all the proper steps to seize upon opportunities that the application is signaling them about. They now know, based on Watson and its application, that a sale is likely and statistically there are actions to take.

The predictive ability afforded by such technology is remarkable, according to Ian Uriate, CEO of Timbergrove. Thanks to computing power, based on Watson Analytics we’re able to delicately take preemptive action when customers have specific needs, demands and objections. This is a game changer when it comes to call center management and the use of predictive analytics that can help develop training programs and manage call center personnel to be most effective.

A Game Changer for Call Centers?

Timbergrove’s findings and analytics may be combined with best practices already known about the dynamics of call center discourse with customers.

For example, when the Marchex Institute researched call centers and reported their findings, America’s Call Centers revealed that they validated what most call center managers already know: that a warm, friendly voice pays dividends.

They also found that consumer phone calls that resulted in a purchase were answered with a warm greeting 63% of the time, compared with 41% of calls that did not result in a purchase. For a large call center, a warm greeting can equate to $20 million in additional revenue annually. Add to the market research, the science of big data and cognitive and emotional analtyics.

“This is going to shape a new standard in call center management in the years to come,” says Uriate. He says that correct protocols in call center dialogue will not be based on assumptions, but more so on science and historical findings. This is something that has not been exploited in the past, and he expects companies seeking a significant boost their call center operations to embrace the use of analytics – in the same way he has employed IBM and Watson Analytics.

Qubole, a big data analytics solutions provider reported in their blog that today’s customer call centers are experiencing a massive influx of structured and unstructured customer data. And the insights gained through customer data analysis can help companies create the kind of customer service experience that attracts new customers, drives customer retention and advocacy, and creates competitive edge.

As they put it, “calls between customers and call center agents are brimming with information that, with the aid of speech analytics, can yield valuable insights that organizations can use to improve the customer experience.”

For Timbergrove and their use of Watson Analytics for this need, customer call centers may experience higher levels of customer service and an increase in sales closing rates.

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