Most organizations now understand that to unlock the 99% of intelligence locked in their customer conversations, they need to leverage speech analytics.
The technology has become a “must-have” solution for organizations looking to support robust compliance and risk mitigation strategies, improve agent performance, and strengthen customer experience and loyalty.
While there’s no doubt that when fully up and running, speech analytics programs can transform businesses, it’s clear that many still struggle with how to get there. It can be difficult to know where to start, with adoption, implementation, and scaling all presenting their challenges.
Below we cover the key steps to effectively launch a speech analytics program that yields a positive return for your entire organization.
1. Build your team
Having the right people in place for the implementation and ongoing administration of your speech analytics program is key to success. The main roles to consider are:
Executive Sponsor/Influencer – The primary driver of the program. Provides oversight, direction, and leadership and helps create the culture around speech analytics. These are the individuals who secure resources (both headcount and budget), receive reports, and determine ROI success criteria. This role is crucial for launching and maintaining program momentum.
Program Manager – Takes their lead from the Executive Sponsor regarding use cases and KPI focus needed to render ROI. Guides the operational focus of the program including day-to-day activities and status.
Analyst – This individual will be responsible for ongoing evaluation of the program’s success by creating reports and distributing intelligence appropriately.
Operations – The hands-on part of the team, acting on data and reports received to keep the program machine oiled and the wheels turning.
2. Determine the strategic vision
Without proper planning, poor execution is sure to follow. Creating a strategic vision based on clear intended use cases, KPIs, and enterprise opportunities will provide the focus needed to accomplish desired outcomes and create a culture around the tool.
Don’t try to boil the ocean. Prioritize one or two key initiatives to start with and communicate the significance of these metrics to all stakeholders. Use the experience gained during these first pursuits to begin building robust processes.
3. Educate and integrate
There are many misconceptions around what speech analytic is and isn’t for and often these beliefs can affect how your team utilizes it. Operational success will rely on the business understanding what the tool is optimized to achieve and what might be out of reach.
Ensuring a proper understanding of platform features and setting expectations around accuracy levels is critical to achieving good ROI.
It’s also important not to introduce speech analytics as a silo within the business. Successful organizations will integrate their program into their current quality management workflows. This can help to allay fears of those who might think they are being ‘replaced’ by AI and helps to provide uniformity within workgroups.
4. Create a scalable, repeatable process
Developing a continuous improvement cycle is important to ensure that you continue to build on the improvements that speech analytics allows you to make and that your program doesn’t stagnate. A good practice would be to implement the DMAIC data-driven quality improvement process from the Six Sigma methodology.
Define the problem or use case in terms of the target to accomplish, e.g., Reducing Average Handle Time (AHT).
Measure and gather all relevant data about the use case (i.e., Silence %, Current AHT).
Analyze the data that you have gathered and work to determine the root causes that are affecting performance in your chosen area of focus.
Improve upon the status quo by taking action to address the problems that you have uncovered. Think about agent performance management tactics like coaching, training, and product/process improvement.
Establish a system of control that will help to sustain the desired cycle of continuous improvement (i.e., alerts, subscription reports, regular performance meetings, etc.).
5. Create a communication flow
When establishing a speech analytics program, many organizations fail to develop effective communications channels between the speech analytics team and the rest of the business. This can be extremely disruptive. Successful businesses set up open communication flows so that other departments have visibility on the program and know where and how to obtain information or results. It’s equally important to avoid conflict by developing a robust request process with agreed-upon SLAs to avoid differing expectations around what, how, and how quickly the speech analytics team can provide deliverables.
Ultimately, ensuring long-term success and continued return on your investment in speech analytics will be dependent on the vision driven by the leadership team. Defined roles, clear communication, and robust processes that drive continuous improvement are essential.