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|Data and the Art of Analytics

Data and the Art of Analytics

Organizations are waking up to the power of data as a core strategic business asset. However, it’s impossible to truly unlock the potential of analytics and insights without the right partner.

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by Cris Kuehl January 27, 2021 - 5 MIN READ

Organizations are waking up to the power of data as a core strategic business asset. However, it’s impossible to truly unlock the potential of analytics and insights without the right partner.  

For me, the two biggest and most positive takeaways from EmpowerCX are:

  1. How the power of data is dawning on so many organizations, across all of the industries we serve
  2. That a partnership, not off-the-shelf tools, is the only way to really harness the true business potential of analytics

We didn’t arrive at this point overnight. For several years, as a data professional, I’ve been happy to see the C-suite gaining awareness and increasing their levels of investment in data-fueled analytics and insights. But until now, those investments were often focused on addressing an individual issue or solving a single problem.

A Tipping Point

COVID-19 was a tipping point where the value of data insights and analytics have been pushed to the fore. Applications that in other circumstances may have taken a year to realize were stood up in a matter of weeks.

For instance, I’m particularly proud of how we helped a number of our financial services clients to devise and deploy solutions that through interaction analytics and customer persona data quickly identified the common COVID-19-related contact drivers that not only fed into developing agent scripts and self-service solutions, but that also combatted fraud.

Because of the wealth of actionable data that was at our disposal, not simply within this vertical, but across our client portfolio we were able to protect the businesses we partner with from attempts at social engineering.

Through the application of speech analytics for monitoring 100% of customer interactions, we could identify, flag and isolate any conversation that deviated from a script or where customer sentiment didn’t mesh with the topic of conversation. We reduced authentication errors by 30%, cut the time to authentication by 25% and, crucially, reduced fraud losses by 54%.

Accelerating Investment

Further, in seeing how these rapid deployments can bring value to the business and, bring it quickly, our clients now want to go further. The pandemic has helped instill confidence in channeling more investment towards unlocking and operationalizing their data. 

For instance, during EmpowerCX I was approached (virtually of course) by one of our clients who had petabytes of data in its data centers that was only flowing into and informing isolated internal business processes.

Now, they understood that all of this information is a phenomenal strategic asset that could be core to how they operate the entirety of their business and so wanted to partner with Sitel Group® on a digital business transformation. 

A Big Step Toward Digitalization

When these levels of data are unlocked as part of a wider move towards digitalization, insights become actionable, decision-making is backed by analytics and, in terms of customer experience (CX), frontline CX employees are empowered to create, build and maintain customer relationships.

Because, let’s face it, CX is in a very fluid state at the moment. Freeing the flow of data through the enterprise is the key to being proactive, rather than constantly scrambling to respond to changing customer behavior and expectations.

Data Tells a Story

But, and it’s a big but – even if silos are removed, even if data is operationalized for greater business benefit, organizations need to recognize that there is a huge difference between understanding data and understanding the story of the data.

A good example of how this misunderstanding can create confusion is remote working. One organization that transitioned its employees to working from home because of the pandemic noticed a drop in CSAT compared with the levels that were being achieved on-site pre-COVID-19. Taking that data on face value, managers decided the drop in performance was due to employees not sitting at their desks. But this is confusing correlation with causation. When they looked at all available data and viewed it from the customer’s perspective, the reality was COVID-19 was the cause. Customers were stressed, in emotionally delicate states, they were looking to resolve issues or get answers to questions that were new, where there was no existing script or entry in the knowledgebase. By acting on these findings and addressing any shortcomings, CSAT leveled out and eventually increased past pre-COVID-19 levels.

The Art of Understanding Data

Data is a science. But it is also an art and in the rush to draw insights, organizations can forget this fact.

To use an athletics analogy, the late, great Kobe Bryant must have taken over 1 million free throws in practice. However, the reason why he made 83.7% of his professional free throw attempts wasn’t because he was thinking about geometry, physics and opposing forces. It’s because, over time, he developed a natural feel for what he was doing.

The more data you have and the more familiar you are with genuinely interpreting it, the greater the feel you develop. And it’s this feel for data that is going to be the biggest differentiator for any organization that really wants to embrace insights and analytics.

Configuring Analytics to Your Brand

This feel is why real analytics isn’t an off-the-shelf tool. Every brand has a unique promise and a unique voice that have to be configured into their data; otherwise you don’t know if the brand is being showcased correctly or if customers are perceiving the brand and its voice the way they’re perceived internally. Flipping a switch won’t provide those answers.

However, identifying and working with an expert partner will answer those questions and much more.

Every year the amount of data at organizations’ fingertips grows exponentially and this includes those organizations who are creating the systems and tools for understanding that data.

New Breakthroughs

This means that the field of data analytics and insights is growing fast.

Today we can accurately map customer emotion and sentiment to the point where analytics become predictive and you can give the customer what he or she wants or needs, before they’ve articulated it. In fact we are potentially just months away from being able to digitally determine if a British customer is being sarcastic!

Even five years ago, this wasn’t possible, and now it is. But again, it underlines the fact that to really unlock the power of data and to really create an optimum CX, you first have to create a partnership with an organization that understands your brand, understands the potential of analytics and the breakthroughs on the horizon, but can also demonstrate the art of data.

Picking the Right Partner

And a partnership is about more than hosting a beauty pageant and picking the contestant with the best résumé. It’s about trust. And trust is vital when dealing with something as delicate as data.

Considering the unprecedented events of 2020 for companies and customers alike, trust must be a priority for organizations as we progress through this decade. People are paying more and more attention to their personal data and how it’s used.

Therefore in the search to find the right data partner, start by looking at their approach to data protection, security and their code of ethics surrounding technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Because just like a genuine feel for data, trust isn’t something you can buy off the shelf.

Cris Kuehl headshot
written by Cris Kuehl VP, Analytics and Client Insights at Sitel Group
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