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July 31, 2020

Using speech analytics to improve customer experience and boost cross-selling

At this point, cross-selling itself is well-documented as a no-brainer, being probably the simplest thing that a business can do to significantly increase revenue. Its strategic importance, particularly for financial institutions, has only grown in recent years.

In simple terms, you have a wildly higher chance of converting existing customers when compared to new prospects – the American Banking Journal puts it at about a 60-70% chance for the former vs. a 5-20% chance for the latter. The potential for a strong ROI, therefore, is clear.  

Your contact center can play a critical role in seizing this opportunity. Customer interactions remain an underutilized source of market insight and a prime opportunity to cross-sell.

But, while using your contact center to aid cross-selling is conceptually very straightforward, actually implementing an effective strategy to get it done is not. 

Challenges to overcome:

1. Technology and platform limitations 

While many platforms exist to facilitate impactful strategies (think CRMs, customer engagement solutions, performance analytics tools, and quality assurance processes), many organizations find themselves unable to utilize them. That’s because too many are stuck in a tangled web of legacy systems that have been hastily woven together during periods of growth and acquisition. This makes accessing the data and insights needed to identify and act on cross-sell opportunities incredibly challenging. 

2. Customer experience issues

If your customers are unhappy with the service you are providing they will buy from someone else, or worse still, leave altogether. 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of bad service. Conversely, customers that are happy with your service convert better – research by Gallup shows that those who feel that their primary bank is looking after them consume 25% more products. So, developing a satisfied customer base is a necessary prerequisite to implementing a successful cross-selling strategy.

3. Agent’s ability to drive sales

For effective cross-selling, your frontline agents need to be able to spot and nurture warm leads during a customer interaction. Agents need to assess the customer quickly, pinpoint their needs, and recognize when the door to suggestion swings open. Taking these sales opportunities may not be first nature for many agents, especially if they were hired and trained for a primary customer service focused role.

It’s in addressing these challenges that a good speech analytics solution can be transformative, helping you to:

  • Completely transform your understanding of customer experience
  • Drive strategies to improve the customer experience
  • Unlock your contact center as a central sales channel for your organization.

Before we go into detail on these points, it’s important to say that speech analytics is not the answer to all of your cross-sell prayers. A robust CRM, omnichannel communications capabilities, a performance analytics suite, and effective quality management processes are all going to be important if you want to take a comprehensive approach. 

However, speech analytics does represent an important and unique part of the puzzle. It can supplement and strengthen all of these things as well as providing you with powerful new capabilities. And, if you are struggling with an ongoing integration headache, it can function as a powerful standalone tool that cuts through this noise – all you need is the interactions themselves. This can be either in the form of call recordings for voice, or digital interaction transcripts.

1. Use speech analytics to transform your understanding of customer experience.

It’s worth repeating the central value of speech analytics, from which all of its various capabilities and use cases hang: It unlocks the conversations you have with your customers as an unprecedented and almost limitless source of insight for your business. That’s because it allows you to analyze 100% of your calls (and digital interactions if you choose a leading product) for keywords, phrases, and overall sentiment. In short, you will know what is being said, and how your customers are feeling, in every conversation that your agents are having.

CSAT surveys and manual call-review are a good place to start when you are trying to understand the customer experience, but they are both limited in many ways – particularly in terms of volume. CSAT surveys are only going to give you a limited amount of information from a limited number of respondents, and on average, only about 1% of calls actually ended up being manually reviewed by managers. 

Speech analytics stands out here because of two things; firstly, the volume of information it can help you to gather and, secondly, its objectivity.
Because you can easily create your own lists of keywords and phrases that are bespoke to the needs of your business, the ways in which you can apply this ability are essentially limitless. However, to paint the picture a little, here are simple things that you can do on day one:

Identify process outliers – The goal of this is to identify, and therefore be able to fix, processes that are not going well for your customers. This could be with your website, app, email correspondences, or anything. Set up a keyword list that alerts you to phrases like:

  • I didn’t get that email
  • Your app gave me an error message
  • I can’t log in
  • It crashed when I got to that points

Figure out what’s causing escalation – This is important not only for mitigating risk but also being able to identify disgruntled or angry customers quickly and effectively so that you can begin to put the work in to make things right. A keyword list could look like this:

  • I want to speak to your manager/supervisor
  • I could sue
  • I want to file a complaint
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Attorney general.

Understand customer effort pain points – Here you can look at where your customers are feeling that they are having to do too much of the heavy lifting for you. Look out for words like:

  • Difficult
  • Complicated
  • Ridiculous
  • Crazy
  • Stupid
  • Hard.

This information is gold when it comes to informing your customer experience strategy. So set up some custom notifications to ensure that you are alerted to the most pressing concerns, and then use visualizations like word clouds and trend graphs to understand the bigger picture.

One final thing: To help you take things a step further, advanced speech analytics tools will allow you to not only understand what is being said but also how your customers are feeling. A customer might be annoyed or angry, without ever saying a word to indicate it. That’s why it’s useful to roll in sentiment scores, separated by agent and customer, into any analysis that you carry out.

2. Build a platform for cross-selling by creating great customer experience strategies

Once you have all of this rich information, it’s time to do something about it. So, smooth out clunky processes, fix disjointed customer journeys and address the underlying reasons for escalation – whatever it is that you need to do.

And, you will have identified issues within the contact center itself. Here, you can double down on your use of speech analytics to drive a new customer experience strategy. What this looks like will depend on the specific nature of your business, but, at its core, it’s about educating and empowering your agents to continually raise the standards of the customer experiences that they are delivering.
Speech analytics can help with this in a couple of very powerful ways:

Set new standards with automated scorecards

Firstly, through automated call scoring. If you uncover cracks in the way that you’re communicating with customers that aren’t being picked up by your current quality management processes, then a change needs to be made. With speech analytics, you can quickly set new standards and requirements by creating scorecards. These can be set up easily, and as soon as they are, you will be scoring 100% of your calls and interactions for 100% of your agents in a way that directly addresses customer pain.

Take a new approach to agent coaching

Just setting new standards will not ensure that they are adhered to. Agents will need new guidance. That’s where the second speech analytics function comes in.
Many organizations, including some of our own LiveVox partners, have found speech analytics to be an incredibly powerful tool for agent training and coaching. 

Firstly, there’s the objective nature of the call scoring. Agent performance isn’t just being judged on a few calls by a supervisor that they may perceive to be biased – they are being scored on 100% of their calls by powerful AI. 

Secondly, there is the scale of the data. Our partner, leading BPO TheOfficeGurus, have found great success using aggregate conversational data to educate and coach their agents. These reports show what techniques and keywords are driving call success and can be highly persuasive – it’s difficult to argue with hard data. As we will see, this idea also has clear applications for improving cross-sell conversion rates.

3. Speech analytics for sales

It might seem like we took a while to get here, but, when it comes to cross-selling, you can’t build a house on shaky foundations. Ensuring your customers are happy with the service you are providing and that you are communicating with them effectively is going to be critical if you are planning on convincing them to put more trust in your organization and part with their money.

Drive conversions

The first and most obvious application for speech analytics is in driving sales call success. Taking the conversation rate as your success metric, you can use conversational analytics and keyword data to understand what factors are getting people over the line. 
If you break down what is happening on successful calls to its foundational elements, then sales success goes from being something mercurial to something that is grounded in data.

Again, our partner TheOfficeGurus has seen real success with this. Working in sales on behalf of a leading home warranty company, they were able to identify what specific agent rebuttal language was driving the best sales conversion rate. In a short time frame, they were able to apply these learnings to new automated scorecards and agent coaching. They saw the sales conversion rate increase by 12.7% in just a few weeks from starting the initiative.

Never miss a lead

With thousands of conversations going on in your contact center daily, it’s inevitable that many, many sales opportunities are slipping through the net. Maybe you have a complicated product portfolio or an agent is having an off day. For whatever reason, customers are saying things during interactions that indicate a sales opportunity, but it simply isn’t being picked up on.

Once the conversations are over, that opportunity could be gone for good.

Speech analytics can completely change this. By setting up custom reports and alerts mapped to relevant keywords and phrases, you can use it as a safety net to ensure that those sales opportunities do not slip through.

We’ll revisit, once more, our friends at TheOfficeGurus. Working with their client, a personal injury law firm, they identified that many potentially high-value cases were not getting picked up on by agents. In most cases, people were calling in for a different reason that, in itself, did not represent a good opportunity and was, therefore, not pursued by the agent. However, other things mentioned in the conversation did represent a potentially lucrative claim, but, agents simply did not have the breadth of legal knowledge to identify the opportunity.

All it took was a simple keyword list to remedy this, alert TheOfficeGurus to these conversations, and set up a simple follow up call to these individuals so as not to miss the opportunity.

They also found that sharing this information with agents on the campaign resulted in them being gradually educated on these potential claims, therefore, making them less likely to miss them on the first pass in the future.

Gain another source of competitive insight

We’ll leave you with one final thought. 

A huge blocker to sales is, of course, the competition – so make sure you are using speech analytics to find out more about them.

Here you can set up a slightly more sophisticated report that lasers in on mentions of your competitors, but then analyzes the keywords, phrases, and concepts that surround these mentions. You can start to understand, at scale, what is differentiating them. Is it price? Features? Customer Service?
This insight is going to be one more weapon in your arsenal when it comes to making decisions about your products and services’ design, pricing, positioning, etc.

And, breathe…

So there’s our brief take on speech analytics, customer experience, and cross-selling – but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. The nature of the technology means that its applications are limitless. Every business will have specific use cases and new creative approaches. We learn from our partners every day. The amount of information available from these tools can be overwhelming, so start small, learn what you can, and build from there.

About LiveVox

LiveVox is a next-generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion interactions a year. We seamlessly integrate omnichannel communications, CRM, and WFO capabilities to deliver an exceptional agent and customer experience, while reducing compliance risk.  Our reliable, easy-to-use technology enables effective engagement strategies on communication channels of choice to drive performance in your contact center. Our battle-tested risk mitigation and security tools help clients maximize their potential in an ever-changing business environment.  With 20 years of pure cloud expertise, LiveVox is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Our more than 450 global employees are headquartered in San Francisco; with offices in Atlanta; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India.

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About LiveVox

LiveVox is the only one-stop-shop for true omnichannel engagement that unifies modern channels, CRM, and WFO functionality into a single cloud customer engagement platform. Facilitating over 14B interactions annually, LiveVox makes omnichannel easy by unifying all conversations and interactions in one place. Founded in 2000, LiveVox is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, St. Louis, Colombia, and Bangalore.

To learn more, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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