Customer Interactions: Beyond the ‘ATM Approach’

 Lately I’ve been seeing a significant amount of coverage in the news about personal finance. Startlingly, it seems a large number of people have begun to manage their spending based on a decision-making process that I call the “ATM Approach.” If the withdrawal or purchase goes through, they spend. If not, they walk away. This easy approach to spending involves very little effort on the part of the consumer and always provides an immediate answer: yes or no, approved or declined, sufficient or insufficient. A few clicks on the screen provide the guidance for a day of financial indulgence—or abstinence—ahead.

In today’s contact centers, dashboards, overview reports and wall-boards serve a similar role, providing immediate data with which to manage the center. Roll-up values for sales, support tickets, service level, calls waiting and average speed of answer are valuable high-level metrics used in center operations. Yet, often these values are used without the detailed analysis behind the numbers. Just as opening your bank statement each month and analyzing your spending over time is important to a consumer, so is opening the detailed analysis behind the dashboard each month to uncover trends on service levels, abandonment, customer satisfaction, schedule adherence and much more.

Most workforce optimization applications provide both types of analysis—the high-level overview and granular detail, recognizing that different parts of organizations place unique and varying value on one or the other. Through advanced speech analytics, fine-grained information derived from customer interactions can provide the evidence to support sweeping changes in training, pricing or marketing campaigns. But without a high-level overview, there is no “big picture,” no strategy or focus. The overview summarizes results, while the detailed analysis is the change-agent (no pun intended) for pinpoint accuracy.

If your contact center is selling a product or service, the perfect place to start taking a more balanced approach is by inviting your marketing counterparts to the contact center for a presentation of the detail you could provide through powerful interaction analytics. And if you’re in marketing, share your broad-based customer loyalty and marketing research with the contact center so you can work together to drive more business.

Whether you’re managing your personal finances or a corporate contact center, you can’t always let the ATM Approach guide your decision-making. Too often, there’s too much at stake to risk that kind of uncertainty. Let this remind you that in life and at work, no matter how big or small a figure the “check your balance” function may reveal, the devil’s in the details.

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