Big Data seems to be running in a pretty tight race on the media-scope with virtualization, right behind Cloud (my previous post). What is Big Data? Put rather simply, it’s a collection of data that is too large and too complex to be housed in or processed by a data base management system. Typically, Big Data is a combination of existing data sources that are somehow related. The task of analytically processing the Big Data is to discover latent or unobvious relationships between sets of data, to discover ‘business truths’ if you will.
Big Data is not only structured, record-like data, but unstructured data as well. Consider all of a company’s emails in it’s email management system. There may well be important relationships and suppositions one can make if all of the emails could be read and understood. Fortunately, tools are now available that allow an enterprise to consider such a task. Without software tools, the task could take untold resources and time in a large enterprise, and the return on the intelligence gained is likely to pale in comparison to the cost.
We clearly have a large amount of unstructured data generated within the contact center. Chat transcripts, emails, ticket documentation, and voice recordings. Data and voice analytics software is now available to allow the contact center organization to discover much more about the company’s customers than nearly any other organization within the company, probably the only exception being POS (point-of-sale) data. But even POS data does not capture product likes and dislikes, and brand sentiment like contact center data. And, powerful as these sources are by themselves, bringing together the POS and contact center data can lead to further discoveries, ‘business truths’ and ‘customer truths’.
I made the case in an earlier post (http://bit.ly/SUMVkl) that instead of call or contact shedding to cut costs, the contact center should be encouraging customers and potential customers to call or make contact via chat, email, SMS text or otherwise. Where are we shedding to? An IVR? Self-service on the web or a self-service mobile app? How much valuable data is being lost when we do so? Let’s consider that the contact center agents are frequently one of the least paid groups of staff you have; how much more expensive is it for marketing to have these customer conversations? I contend the more data you have from your customer, the more intelligence you have about the customer, the more ‘truths’ you can discover. An IVR is mostly a one-way conversation, and how many call centers are recording the IVR interactions? Web self-service can give you clicks and potentially point out shortcomings in the self-service process and information. However, you are left guessing about sentiment, likes and dislikes.
Big Data right now is a key competitive differentiator as few know what it is and how to use it to best discover ‘truths’. Are you going to be a leader or a follower?