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Last month, we looked at three ways that you can use historical reports to complement the real-time data that you monitor on a day-to-day basis. Historical reports can give you insights for predicting future activity, which in turn, helps you anticipate the resources you’ll need and adapt your processes for changing trends.

The value you’ll get from historical reports depends on the accuracy of the underlying data and the tools you use to produce them. Our whitepaper Get More Value from Contact Center Performance Metrics discusses findings by Richard Snow, VP and Research Director, Ventana Research, that “the most disturbing insight….is the percentage of companies that still rely on spreadsheets to produce their contact center and customer reports and analysis. Just under two-thirds (62%) of the respondents indicated they use spreadsheets as their primary tool, and 90 percent said they use spreadsheets on very regular basis.”

Reasons to move beyond spreadsheets

Using spreadsheets to collect and analyze your call center data is a manual, time-intensive process. While a small call center may choose to use this method until management is ready to invest in more sophisticated reporting software, there’s no question that this approach is costly in terms of time and effort. More importantly, the more data that you need to manipulate, the higher the risk of introducing data integrity errors.

Out-of-the-box reports

Today’s market offers a variety of options for reporting on contact center activity. In fact, many telephone system vendors offer a set of out-of-the-box reports for their implementations. Unfortunately, to cover a diversity of implementation environments, these reports often address only basic analysis requirements, and don’t provide the flexibility to adapt reports for your call center.

Dedicated contact center reporting software

A better option is reporting software that’s been designed for the contact center environment and that provides the flexibility to adapt reports for your organization.

Here are four important features to look for in a reporting solution for your contact center:

  1. A comprehensive set of standard reports for all contact center resources.
    If you look only at activity and performance for a few resources (such as queues and agents), you may miss insights from the interaction of all resources. For example, poor service levels in one queue may be related to a system issue (such as out-of-service trunks) rather than agent performance.
  2. The flexibility to create report snapshots for various timeframes.
    To focus on activity or performance during a specific period, it’s useful to report on different time intervals, such as fifteen minutes, an hour, a week, or a month.
  3. The ability to customize standard reports to reflect the unique aspects of your contact center.
    For example, every contact center establishes its own service level objectives. In your reporting solution, you’ll want to choose the key performance indicators that measure whether you’re meeting these objectives.
    Similarly, you’ll want to customize reports based on your organizational structures or areas of responsibility. For example, it’s extremely useful to report on queues with similar areas of responsibility as a group. This comparison highlights the level of service that agents in each queue are offering.
  4. The functionality to export and distribute reports in various formats.
    Popular formats are PDF files and spreadsheets. As we’ve already looked at, spreadsheets are problematic for creating reports. However, as a way to distribute information to stakeholders for review and further analysis, they can be invaluable.

Moving away from spreadsheets or out-of-the-box reports may require effort on your part to justify the financial investment in a sophisticated reporting solution to your management team. The benefits of increased data accuracy, better insights into contact center activity and performance, and faster distribution to stakeholders will be important considerations in the evaluation and decision-making process.

See you next month.

Tags: agent activity, budgets, forecasting, KPI, reports, service levels, software, statistics.

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