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NICE Takes Big Data and Improves Customer Experience, Agent Efficiency

October 23, 2012

Big data is bringing together multiple sources of information that are ever-increasing for most organizations and consolidating that in such a way that can provide value. Big data is sometimes referred to as the four Vs—volume, variety, velocity and value.

The value of big data is all about answering the big question, “Why bring this information together?” That’s where NICE steps in – big data up to this point has been about managing, collecting and pulling it together to understand it. NICE, a provider of intent-based solutions that capture and analyze interactions and transactions, realize intent and extract and leverage insights to deliver impact in real-time, has been doing a version of that by putting that information into the hands of the employees and customer service to take action. NICE pulls this huge volume of information from a variety of sources together to deliver value at the decisive moment.

NICE recently announced its integrated big data solution that will enable organizations to improve the customer experience by enhancing their analytics-based customer service applications. This solution helps companies leverage, in real-time, big data gathered from customer interactions that take place across multiple communication channels, such as voice, e-mail, chat and Web, to maximize the business value of each interaction.

Data volumes are growing exponentially amid an unprecedented change in computing driven by cloud, social and mobile technologies. The integrated solution addresses this, providing organizations with a comprehensive view of the entire customer experience as well as the ability to impact the interaction in real-time.

The challenges of big data in many cases are technology related. The technologies from IBM (News - Alert) that leverage technology, such as Hadoop, are the types of technologies that allow the velocity and variety of data to be scalable so you have an infrastructure that’s able to take it beyond traditional methods of analysis.

“We have customers that are looking to their IT organizations and saying, ‘Are we prepared with our infrastructure to be able to handle some of the volume of information that we want to use in the contact center?’ We want that answer to be yes,” said Matthew Storm (News - Alert), director of Innovation and Solutions, NICE, in a TMCnet interview. “That answer is yes for a lot of organizations already investing in IBM technology to do that for other projects.”

NICE’s solution incorporates IBM’s big data analytics software, including InfoSphere BigInsights, which supports the collection, integration, and transformation of large volumes of data, with data structures ranging from simple to highly complex. InfoSphere BigInsights uses Hadoop technology, which stores the data on a distributed file system (HDFS), utilizing commodity servers that provide linearly scalable and reliable storage at a lower cost.

“Businesses in all industries are looking for new ways to get started with big data,” said Robert Thomas, IBM vice president of big data alliances, in a statement. “The combination of NICE and IBM software provides clients with a comprehensive view of customer data and interactions, which is essential to achieving key business objectives, such as enhancing customer experience and improving operational efficiency.”

The most common uses for the solution are in the areas of first contact resolution and next call prevention. FCR in the past has been more about coaching and encouraging our agents in the contact center to handle things right the first time. At the end of a phone call, when agents ask, “Did I resolve your issue? Is there anything else I can do for you?” that’s an attempt to guess that an agent is resolving an issue. That’s where a lot of FCR is in the hands of what the customer might think.

Instead of just asking the customer if the issue is resolved, big data looks at all the info from past interactions and actually shapes those interactions in real-time. An example of this is if whenever a specific device is ordered, data shows that within 48 hours 70 percent of customers call back and have problems finding a power cord.

“Why not put that in the hands of the agent so when that device is ordered in that specific way, the agents are guided in real-time to say, ‘By the way, just to let you know, when you open the box the power cord can be found under the manual,’” said Storm. “Giving advice like that is more next-call prevention.”

NICE’s big data solution can help with improved customer experience, revenue and agent efficiency. FCR and next-call prevention add to the efficiencies that are gained by analyzing this information.

“Big data is often seen as a challenge, instead of an opportunity,” said Yochai Rozenblat, president of the Enterprise Group at NICE. “We seek to empower businesses to use technology to address the vast amounts of data they collect to better understand the customer, their operations, and identify market trends – ultimately turning that wealth of information into an important asset.”

NICE is a gold sponsor of IBM Information On Demand 2012, a conference happening now until Oct. 25 in Las Vegas. To find out more about its big data solution and its analytics solutions that can be laid ontop of the technologies by IBM, visit NICE’s booth at the event.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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