Customer experience analytics: Separating hype from fact

SearchCRM expert Donna Fluss compares the latest types of customer experience analytics applications.

Analytics and cloud-based or hosted offerings are the buzzwords of the day in the IT world. Vendors promote their offerings by claiming that they fall into one or both of these categories. While it’s good to know that an option is available in the cloud, it doesn’t have anything to do with the capabilities of the application, just the delivery mechanism. And if all offerings provide customer experience analytics, as now seems to be the case, it’s difficult to differentiate one from another.

The contact center technology sector is suffering from “analytics-itis"; so much so that it’s challenging for enterprise and contact center leaders and managers to figure out what they need to improve the performance of their departments, since the messaging from the various vendors sounds so similar.

There are significant functional and usability differences among many (but not all) of the customer experience analytics options that have been introduced into the market during the past five years, even if vendors are not doing a great job of communicating the differentiators. Companies also need to appreciate that a vendor’s experience, know-how and best practices are critical in helping organizations realize the benefits from these applications. How users avail themselves of these resources generally explains why one company’s implementation succeeds while a similar one fails.

Here is a list of some of the customer experience analytics applications that have been introduced during the last few years to help companies improve the customer experience and how they should be used. 

High-value analytics applications for improving the customer experience

Application Description Benefits Functional Users Comments
Speech analytics Captures, structures, analyzes and identifies customer insights, needs and wants in conversations Identifies product, operational, system and procedural issues Customer service, contact center, marketing, sales, product development, IT, manufacturing, risk management Must be combined with change management programs
Text analytics Captures, structures, analyzes and identifies customer insights, needs and wants in written documents Identifies product, operational, system and procedural issues Customer service, contact center, marketing, sales, product development, IT, manufacturing, risk management Highly beneficial when used with social media interaction monitoring and participation
Desktop analytics Tracks desktop activity and system performance for 100% of staff interactions Monitors agent and system performance, assists workflow, and provides real-time guidance Front- and back-office operating groups that want to improve the performance of their employees, processes and systems Desktop analytics goes far beyond screen capture
Cross-channel analytics Identifies and evaluates the various channels that customers use to interact with an organization Helps organizations determine the channels to use to optimize interactions with their customers Sales and marketing Usually uses input from other analytics applications (e.g., speech, text and desktop analytics)
Self-service analytics Evaluates the customer experience in all self-service channels, primarily Web and interactive voice response, to determine what is and is not working well Identifies ways to improve self-service applications to eliminate issues that annoy customers and discourage the use of cost-effective self-service tools Customer service, contact center, marketing and sales  
Predictive analytics Identifies the most effective approaches for communicating with customers to optimize sales, service and collections interactions Improves the customer experience while increasing sales and collections revenue and reducing average handle time and operating expenses Customer service, contact center, sales and marketing  


While worldwide economic challenges over the next 12 to 24 months will likely drive companies to hunker down and reduce IT investments, DMG recommends that organizations consider investing in one or two of these applications to help them survive and possibly even thrive. Keep in mind that during troubled times, customers want to be reassured by their service providers, especially those in financial services, health care, insurance and telecom. These industries need to prepare for an increase in traffic from customers, prospects and the general public. They should also anticipate changes in how the interactions arrive, as social media is going to have a growing impact on their organizations during the next five years (see DMG’s Benchmark Study on the impact of social media on customer service).

Next steps

Customer experience analytics applications are capable of making major contributions to contact center management and enterprise performance. Companies should use this list to identify two or three customer experience analytics applications that have the most potential to help them improve profitability while enhancing the customer experience. What should be clear from this list is that, while many of these applications are sold to contact centers, their benefits are much farther reaching, and they should be viewed as enterprise applications.



Donna Fluss is president of DMG Consulting LLC. For 28 years, she helped organizations build contact centers and enhance back-office operations and assisted vendors to deliver competitive offerings. She is a speaker, author and source for numerous industry and business publications. Donna can be reached at [email protected]

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