Operationalizing Customer Intelligence in the Contact Center

(or: If you had Customer Intelligence, what would you do with it?)


Most customer service executives spend a considerable amount of time thinking about the need to change the nature of their contact center from a cost/service oriented operation to a profit/loyalty oriented operation.  A key capability in this migration will be the center’s ability to act on customer intelligence.  A recent survey of over 750 Fortune 1000 executives regarding their customer intelligence (CI) efforts and found operationalizing customer insights to consistently be the weakest of the three CI capabilities (customer information integration, customer insights, and customer insight operationalization.)  Sixty-nine percent of respondents have not yet made customer insights available to their customer facing personnel.  Fifty-four percent do not differentiate service to their “best” customers and 70% do not have defined business rules in place when customers present a supportable need outside traditional sales and service situations. 


Most contact center managers still repeat the same tired metrics to their executives:  service level, average handle time (AHT), number of interactions, and abandon rate.  No wonder senior management yawns and acts like customer service is a cost center.  This article describes the actions that should be taken in the contact center to prepare for CI operationalization and those initiatives customer service executives should champion to ensure success of the contact center in CI execution.  This will enable the contact center manager to discuss metrics like customer defection saves, service to sales conversions, and cross- and up-sell ratios with management, and talk about what the center is doing to increase the loyalty of the company’s most valuable customers.

Operationalizing Customer Intelligence in the Contact Center


Customer Intelligence Maturity Model

This article originally appeared in Business Communications Review , December 2007

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