Why the Contact Center 360 Customer View is so Essential

Numbers are the life blood of contact centers, customer care centers and call centers. Most call centers of any size depend heavily on performance metrics to measure how efficiently they are running and how well they are meeting the company's and the customers' needs.

But while call center software produces a slew of key performance indicators, most of them are tactical. The paradox of these measurements is that while they’re useful for managing the call center, they don’t do much to advance the customer relationship or further the purpose of the call center.

The 360 Degree Customer View

It's also important to recognize that a 360 customer view is a prerequisite to properly serve customers. Without accurate and complete customer history the agent is flying blind. What’s more, many of the operational measures produced by call center software are inward facing. The number of calls offered (NCO), Average Handling Time (AHT) and similar metrics are all about efficiency. However, the 360 customer view provides a data source to shift metrics from efficiency to effectiveness and contribute to more outward facing call center metrics.

360 degree customer view

CRM software systems are designed to integrate and merge data from many disparate sources into a shared and central system of record and deliver a real-time, holistic view of the customer relationship to contact center agents or other customer facing staff.

A holistic view of a single customer relationship, as well as visibility into customers grouped by region, type, affinity or other segmentation, permits call centers to track key performance indicators and operational metrics which are much more customer relevant and more in alignment with the company's market, revenue and customer strategy objectives.

Giving the CSR the customer’s complete history for example, not only provides opportunities to better satisfy the customer, it can also substantially reduce the average time per call because the customer doesn't have to bring the CSR up to speed on purchase history, outstanding incidents or prior interactions.

For example, a 360 degree customer view will help in achieving call center metrics such as First Call Resolution Rate (FCRR or FCR). FCRR is the percentage of customer calls resolved successfully in the first interaction. It’s an important factor in customer satisfaction – so much so it’s sometimes used as a stand-in for customer satisfaction. FCRR also helps determine if technology and processes are operating efficiently.

The problem with FCRR as a conventional call center metric is that it’s very hard to measure accurately, especially in the case of a recurring problem that doesn’t occur frequently. This is especially true when the customer contact involves multiple channels. Some companies track this metric manually by comparing network call data and system data relating to process history. This can work but it is time consuming and prone to errors.

This typical business process scenario can be automated and improved by combining CRM system data with call center data and using the complete view of the customer’s contact with the company, not just the call center. This makes it easy to determine if the customer’s problem really was solved on the first call, or if the customer reverted to another communication method or escalated the case by, for example, by contacting a sales person directly.

In the event multiple interactions are necessary or multiple resources are assigned to a case, holistic views provided by CRM solutions can help prevent “call center hell” whereby the customer has to run through the same series of questions and test actions every time he or she calls – no matter how many times the customer calls with the same problem.

How Easy Is It To Achieve Holistic Customer Information?

How easy it is to attain this kind of 360 degree view depends on the customer management software you're using and the customer feedback programs you deploy. If you are using a call center software module in your CRM system, the integration and consolidation of customer data is straightforward.

However, while CRM software easily delivers firmographic and demographic data, capturing environmental data (technographics), behavioral data (digital footprints) and social data will require some extra effort.

Recognize that each additional customer data source will contribute to a more meaningful 360 view, which will better inform the agent, contribute to a better customer experience and ultimately improve contact center metrics.