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Analytics in the call center


IBM announced an interesting new analytic product today – RAMP or Real-time Analytic Matching Platform. The idea behind this is to improve on the approaches currently used to route calls which typically rely on an availability-based approach to connect customers to agents. This doesn’t take an agent’s focus or availability nor what a customer is interested in.

Instead of being put into a queue and connected FIFO style, this new product uses analytics. The system analyzes you as a customer, up to and including what you say you are interested in. They summarize this with a score to see how good a customer you are and then do the same thing on the agents – how good is this agent at solving the issue you have. Analytics match you to an agent in real time considering these scores, availability/wait time v taking you to someone less optimal etc.

Surprisingly enough IBM finds that companies do have the data they need for these analytics, albeit stored in lots of different sources. The system also supports explicit rules to constrain choices but they prefer to “let the data speak” having found that call centers are often very dynamic with rapid changes in staffing/skills/effectiveness getting out of synch with the rules. They do use rules to handle things like SLAs for wait time etc. A dashboard also allows managers to “move levers for overflow/short agent staffing”.

I find this product fascinating. Those of you who have heard me speak no that dumb IVR/call center systems are one of my pet peeves and the idea of using analytics in this way is great. Interestingly this is a “matching platform” and could be used not just for agents but also to drive an IVR for example.

IBM says it has successfully deployed this new approach at Assurant. Assurant is a specialized provider of insurance products that says:

Assurant Solutions has been using an analytics-based routing approach to increase call center profitability and enhance the customer experience in its call centers for more than seven years, increasing retention revenue by 37% and sales revenue by 29% within the first year of implementation

IBM has posted an animation that explains how RAMP works on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibL2rpNHXmo.


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