Today’s contact center has the ability to capture a vast and invaluable amount of customer and performance-based data. Sounds awesome, but if the center doesn’t have a formal and effective process in place for structuring, analyzing and strategically acting on the data, then who cares?

We continuously hear about the power of “Big Data” these days. And it’s true – there is a lot of potential power in the millions of pieces of information and intelligence flying around the contact center stratosphere. In order to turn that potential power into real results, however, you have to tame the Big Data beast of contact center metrics.

It’s something many contact centers are struggling with. In a survey recently conducted by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) and sponsored by White Pages, more than one in four contact center professionals indicated that they’re experiencing data overload. And more than three in five said that their contact center metrics aren’t able to provide key customer information proactively to agents.

Taming the Big Data beast doesn’t need to be a Herculean task. Following are a handful of ways that leading customer care organizations are turning the data monster it into their friend.

Embrace speech and text analytics. Top contact centers invest in powerful speech and text analytics solutions designed to analyze every part of every customer call, email, chat, self-service interaction and social post and clearly identify customer insights, preferences and expectations. Such solutions enable the contact center to spot and act on emerging trends, common customer issues, sales opportunities, and specific customers at risk of defecting due to a poor experience.

Tap the power of desktop analytics. Today’s desktop analytics solutions track and report on all agent desktop activity (e.g., how agents navigate through screens, access applications, input information, et. al.) during customer interactions. Such a solution can help a contact center really drill down and identify what’s causing roadblocks and where agent knowledge gaps exist. The center can use such actionable intelligence to improve agent coaching and training, simplify scripts and workflows, enhance systems and applications – all of which can organically shorten handle times, increase first-contact resolution and vastly enhance the customer (and the agent) experience.

Measure the metrics that matter most. Taming the Big Data beast isn’t all about tapping state-of-the-art technology. A big part of it is having a clear vision and direction. Unfortunately, many contact centers measure ‘everything that moves’ simply because they have systems that enable them to do just that. This results in a glut of metrics and data that overwhelms managers and hinders their ability to pinpoint – and take action on – essential items. According to the aforementioned ICMI/White Pages study, nearly half of contact centers (48%) consistently collect and report on metrics they don’t even use.

In contrast, the best centers have a well-defined performance measurement strategy and a streamlined set of contact center metrics and objectives. They focus on metrics that truly drive positive customer experiences and revenue (e.g., Contact Quality, First-Contact Resolution, C-Sat, Cost per Contact) and don’t allow themselves to drown in the dangerous sea of performance-related data that floods so many other centers.