What are the benefits of call center speech analytics when managing a remote workforce? Here are our top tips and considerations
Contact centers currently managing their workforces remotely face a myriad of challenges around agent performance, quality, and compliance. When deployed properly and used to its full potential, a speech analytics tool can be incredibly useful, not just in addressing these challenges, but also in creating opportunities to drastically reduce risk, identify and scale best practices, and unlock your calls as an unprecedented source of insight for your business.
What follows are our top tips for how speech analytics can help you to run your virtual contact center more efficiently and effectively, and the main things to consider when choosing a tool.
Table of contents
- What are speech analytics?
- Drastically reduce risk by monitoring all interactions.
- Be alerted to emerging risk, fast.
- Understand call sentiment when you have no managers on the floor
- How are your customers being affected?
- Identify and scale best practices.
- Improve your ability to train and coach agents, even as they are working from home
- Gain invaluable business insights.
- Checklist: Things to consider when choosing a call center speech analytics solution
What are speech analytics?
Speech analytics is a tool that “listens” to and analyzes call center conversations for the purpose of gathering data, improving future interactions and strengthening call center compliance. Delivered as part of a cloud call center software platform, speech analytics can not only identify the words and phrases a customer uses but glean meaning from them.
In many cases, speech analytics software can also determine the sentiment of a conversation, which is helpful in understanding the customer’s state of mind. Real-time speech analysis can be deployed to give agents instant tips for how best to proceed with a call based on the customer’s language and emotions. For example, an agent might engage in some small talk or recommend an upsell for a customer who’s in a positive mood, whereas they might tread more lightly with one who’s impatient or angry.
Another function of speech analytics is to take the raw audio from a recorded phone conversation and use speech to text to turn it into structured, searchable data. This is immensely powerful for quality management purposes, giving you a vast reference pool for future training sessions. Any past conversation can be tracked down by searching for a keyword, just like with a search engine, which gives call centers a massive body of data to use for drawing business insights (more on this below).
The benefits of speech analytics software when managing a remote workforce: Our top tips and considerations
Drastically reduce risk by monitoring all interactions.
Even if you record 100% of your calls, due to sheer volume, it would be impossible to listen to them all. That’s why, on average, around 98% of contact center interactions go unmonitored or unreviewed. Remote work only exacerbates this problem, as managers are unable to walk the floor, listen in on calls, and get a general feel for the quality of interactions taking place in their contact center.
Speech analytics tools allow you to improve upon this rate exponentially, taking you from 2% of calls reviewed to 100%. The basic process with most solutions goes as follows: you upload your calls, they are transcribed by advanced AI and then analyzed based on keywords and phrases chosen by you, to match your business needs. This data is then used by the platform to automatically populate customizable scorecards, though be careful, as some solutions will charge extra for that.
Useful tools will then allow you to create reports; view aggregated data and surface trends using a vast range of data points, from keywords and sentiment to any call metadata you desire. Done well, this will transform your ability to identify and understand performance, quality, and regulatory risks in your organization. And, by understanding these customer interactions you can create effective handling strategies be they self-service workflows or triggered automations.
Be alerted to emerging risk, fast.
Leveling up your quality and risk management processes is, of course, important, but some incidents need to be spotted and addressed immediately. With your workforce all at home, it’s impossible to say what problematic behaviors could occur on unmonitored calls in an uncontrolled environment.
If and when the worst occurs, you want to be informed as quickly as possible. By using the same keyword, phrase, and sentiment recognition technology as the above, the best speech analytics tools can be configured to provide you with custom alerts and notifications. These can be completely customizable by you, set up to notify the most appropriate people on your team, and alert you to risk in close to real-time. Applied to 100% of calls, this is going to reduce the chance of something risky slipping through unnoticed to a fraction of what it was before.
Understand call sentiment when you have no managers on the floor
It’s impossible to replace the value of having an experienced manager walk the contact center floor, listen in on phone calls, and generally get a feel for the team’s morale and performance. However, an advanced speech analytics tool can help you go a long way to filling this void.
The best tools use advanced AI to measure the sentiment of all of your calls accurately. The most obvious and foremost benefit of this is going to be the insight it will give into your customer experience. However, it will also allow you to keep an eye on your team’s morale and how they are dealing with the lockdown, given the potential for stress and feelings of isolation that it represents.
How are your customers being affected?
Of course, while they might be your most immediate concern, your agents are not the only ones being affected by our current situation. With public health, job losses and social isolation being just a few of the issues that we are facing right now, it’s highly likely that the way that your customers need and want to interact with your business has changed.
While we can make assumptions about these effects, to truly understand this dynamic takes data and insight. This is where speech analytics comes in. You’ll be not only able to gauge overall sentiment but also use intelligent search, word clouds, and trend data from hundreds of thousands of calls to uncover your customers’ specific concerns and what they need from your business. The insights are not only going to help you provide a great customer experience but will also help to inform the operational, marketing, and coaching strategies needed to adapt to these extraordinary circumstances.
Identify and scale best practices.
Of course, more insight often leads to more questions, and the next layer to peel back once you have identified your customer’s current concerns is understanding how your agents are dealing with this. Depending on the function of your business, it could be very likely that they’re having a much higher volume of sensitive conversations than they were under normal circumstances.
For the sake of your business’s reputation and customer and client retention, these conversations must be handled appropriately and effectively. With speech analytics, not only can you monitor effectively for this, but you can also far more easily identify the best examples of high-performing agents doing it well.
That’s also one of the main benefits of speech analytics more generally. With the ability to analyze both the linguistic details and overall sentiment of 100% of your calls, you are far more empowered to uncover the best practices that already exist in your organization.
Improve your ability to train and coach agents, even as they are working from home
Most speech analytics tools will allow you to uncover not only agent best practice but also the other side of the coin – poor performance. However, only the best tools have built-in functionality to allow you to translate this insight directly into training and coaching strategies. That means being able to search and retrieve the most important calls, manually review them while adding notes and tagging specific parts of the audio, and then distributing these to teams or individuals as coaching resources – all while working remotely.
These capabilities will allow you to provide detailed, objective, targeted feedback to your agents wherever they are, whether you are looking to support underperformers, or scale the talents of a shining star across your whole team.
Gain invaluable business insights.
The best source material for making improvements to your business is real data from your agents and customers. When everyone’s working remotely, though, you lack that finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your office and with your customers. Think of speech analytics as your personal barometer for how things are going and what needs your attention.
Call center speech analytics can help you find out:
- Why do customers call? By identifying the top five or ten reasons people make contact, you can develop self-service resources to divert calls away from live agents and better prepare agents to deal with those issues that are more complex.
- Which agents are excelling and which are falling short. These findings may be surprisingly different from those of your regular QA program and can help you identify additional coaching opportunities.
- What types of coaching are needed. Not all agents who are struggling need help with the same thing. Speech analytics can identify who needs more training with the technical side of things versus who could use some more coaching on how to deal with challenging callers.
- The reason for holds and transfers. You’ll likely see some patterns for why customers are being made to wait, which can help you figure out where agents need better coaching, where your workflows are falling short or where gaps exist in how your agents collaborate.
Checklist: Things to consider when choosing a call center speech analytics solution
Ease of implementation and ongoing use
Now might not be the time for a lengthy integration project to adopt new technology – something that could lead to both financial and logistical challenges. Nor is it necessarily a good time to be hiring new data analysts and call center speech analytics experts.
When you are reviewing your options for a speech analytics tool, think about these things:
- Will it require on-premises technology, or is it cloud-based?
- How long and complicated is the implementation process?
- How easily will it integrate with my existing platform and processes?
- Will I require in-house analyst expertise to use the tool and access insights?
All contact centers have security concerns, especially if they are taking payments, and scattering of agents to private locations has only magnified these. The main two things to consider with regards to speech analytics in this area are:
- Are calls being uploaded via a secure FTP to a PCI compliant platform?
- Is the transcription AI sophisticated enough to redact sensitive data from the call transcripts automatically?
Speed to insight
Things move fast and alerts and notifications, particularly, are only as effective as the speed with which they can be received.
It’s worth finding out how fast the process of upload, processing, analysis, and feedback will take. The best tools will provide this intraday, but some companies will charge extra for this service.
Speed is not the only thing that some companies charge extra for. Think hard about what capabilities speech analytics can offer, and which of these are going to be most valuable for your business. Then consider that some companies will charge extra for things like:
- Automated scorecards
- Call tagging
- Data exports
- Speaker separation
- Sensitive data redaction
- Ongoing support and consultation
So, hopefully, we have demonstrated that, while there is a lot to consider when choosing a call center speech analytics solution, deployed well, it can offer a vast range of benefits – especially in the context of managing your operation remotely.
At its core, it’s about being able to unlock the potential of hundreds of thousands of your business’s interactions as a source of data for your business, and then having the tools you need to turn that data into insight-led strategies. Done well, it can transform your customer and agent experience, drastically reduce risk, and allow you to introduce operational efficiencies that will drive your bottom line.
More Resources for Speech Analytics
Speech Analytics FAQs
Speech analytics is a tool that “listens” to and analyzes call center conversations for the purpose of gathering data, improving future interactions and strengthening call center compliance.