West Corporation

Posted on March 19, 2013 by West Corporation 



Data Analysis: The Needle Has a Thread

In our world of big business intelligence, where the size and complexity of our data keeps multiplying before our eyes, it can become an overwhelming task to find the answers we’re looking for. But do we even know what questions to ask or what problems we are trying to solve?

As an example, I received a request for my analytics group a few weeks ago. The requester was in a panic. He asked for a full performance analysis of his IVR application, top to bottom, and needed it in a week. He was in a panic because his client was complaining that “something was wrong” and too many calls were getting transferred to the call center. A full behavioral analysis of the entire application with thousands of data points and millions of monthly calls, if done thoroughly could take several weeks. I grabbed him for a chat, had him take a deep breath and asked him the proverbial question, “What is your true objective, or what problem are you trying to solve?” He had to pause and think about that for a moment.

“Well,” he said, “I want the client to be pleased with our performance. If we are letting too many calls through to the contact center, then we need to fix that.” That’s a pretty broad objective, so I broke it down for him.

Question: Has anything changed recently that would cause more transfers?
Answer: No, there haven’t been any changes in the past quarter.

Question: Through your reports, have you seen or observed increased transfers?
Answer: Yes. Transfers have increased in the past week but for no apparent reason.

Question: So, if nothing has changed in the program, but something has changed in the transfers, did the client change something?

The account manager immediately went back to his desk and called his client and asked the ultimate question. Within an hour he called back with the answer. Unbeknownst to us, a new caller type had been added to the client-side database which feeds in real time to our application. Because our application was not programmed to recognize it, callers of this type were transferred to the contact center by default.

So, the moral of the story is that sometimes we feel as if we need to find the needle in the haystack by sifting through every straw when the solution to the problem may be as simple as tracking the thread back to the first stitch.

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