Thank you for this article, Eliza! It is indeed an interesting question: just because we have certain data, should we make business decisions just based on that data? Or should data always be amended by human intervention? I personally believe that even from a technological point of view (i.e. before we ask what’s right or wrong) we are not at the level of technological sophistication yet to make decisions solely based on data.
We should therefore focus our attention less on decision-making but more on creating better transparency and a better information base. We should continue looking for new approaches and experimenting with new kind of data. On the point around motivation: maybe at some point we’ll be able to analyze recordings of customer-facing employees interaction with customers to understand how motivated they came across to that customer. And then offer better training to employees by showing them what works well and what doesn’t based on that analysis. I believe that we have a lot of opportunities (e.g. through cloud computing and data being more centralized and more data being collected than ever) and we should continue exploring those.
I agree to the points made in the previous comments around the difficulty to measure skill levels. At a client’ contact center operations group, we implemented a “manual” approach, a so called skill matrix. Every contact center agent had a bunch of skills across 3-4 categories that were standardized across the organization. Skills included hard skills (e.g. using Salesforce and other software) and soft skills (e.g. empathy, communication). The agents’ supervisor/manager will rate them based on this skill matrix so that hopefully over time you have a more standardized set of data that you can aggregate and then use for the purposes of people analytics, e.g. an analysis of what set of skills of the contact center agent drive better customer satisfaction scores.