In today’s business environment, organizations are focused more on the consumer’s experience than ever before. With access to countless social media platforms and review sites, consumers have more in their arsenal to combat negative experiences – and cause companies reputational damage – than ever before.
Bad reviews can easily gain momentum and go viral, causing potentially serious disruption to businesses. Conversely, keeping customers happy, and loyal, has been proven time and time again to be the most effective and efficient way for organizations to generate more revenue.
Why Speech Analytics?
As a result of this, more and more businesses have looked to technology to help them scale their understanding of the experience consumers are having with them. Taking effective action to improve something requires that you first develop a proper understanding of it – otherwise, you are flying blind.
Improvements in speech analytics technology over the last decade have seen it grow as a tool that can be incredibly effective at helping businesses to develop that understanding. Better transcription, the ability to analyze conversation sentiment as well as the ability to analyze speech and text, real-time attributes, and AI capabilities have all added up to make speech analytics a tool that can truly reveal the voice and experience of the consumer.
That’s what’s driving its growth in the contact center industry – according to a recent report the global speech analytics market is currently worth $1.5 Billion, forecast to grow to 3.8 Billion by 2025.
So that’s the big picture, but it’s worth diving a little deeper to take a look at what’s going on at an operational level, to see the ways today’s businesses are leveraging this powerful technology to help them succeed in a CX-driven economy.
Realize the potential of 100% interaction auditing
On average, contact centers without speech analytics are monitoring only around 1-2% of their agent-consumer interactions (and they are likely only monitoring voice interactions). The other 98-99% remain essentially inaccessible and most likely contain within them a lot of risky interaction and a huge amount of unrealized opportunity.
Through speech analytics, contact centers can not only monitor, but analyze and understand 100% of the interactions that they have with customers. Many organizations are already using this to drastically reduce their risk exposure, and unlock transformative insights not just for their contact center, but for their whole company.
Here are a few of the main applications.
Augment quality management capabilities
Building on the benefits of 100% call auditing, many speech analytics vendors now offer integrated quality management tools. The most notable of these are automated scorecards. This functionality allows organizations to create custom scorecards that can then be applied to specific campaigns or every call and are completed by the speech analytics platform’s AI.
This gives much more detailed insight into agent performance, but it can also be a game-changer for the entire quality department. Rather than using this functionality to reduce quality assurance staff, many companies are using it to empower them – helping them to identify the most important calls to listen to and to free more time to coach agents 1-2-1.
Transform agent performance
When utilizing speech analytics effectively in a quality management environment, not only do managers have more time for coaching agents, they also have a much richer pool of insights to draw from.
Firstly, they will have been able to listen to calls that are truly indicative of agent performance, rather than just a random sample. That’s because they will have been able to use things like sentiment scores and silent time analysis (powered by speech analytics) alongside more traditional metrics like average handle time (AHT) and conversation rate to pick calls that are far more likely to contain agent performance issues.
Then, when coaching the agent, they can draw from scores and data that represent 100% of an agent’s performance history for a given period – not just a tiny sample. This is not only going to be a better way to identify and work on weaknesses but also lends a great deal of objectivity when trying to convince the agent they have room to improve.
And, conversely, the factors driving good performance can go from being mercurial to something that is grounded in hard data. For example, companies have had success analyzing, in-depth, the language used on successful sales calls, and then reflecting this in training and scripts, improving conversion rates across teams.
Improving agent performance has a direct correlation with improvement in customer experience (CX). Contact Centers are utilizing speech analytics to identify what separates strong performers from weaker ones. Some of the common attributes include:
- Sentiment analysis
- Average Handle Time (AHT)
- Silence %
- Script adherence
- Sales conversions based on the dissemination of best practices.
Many contact centers are utilizing speech to increase revenue opportunities through enhanced agent performance. This can be identified through visibility into the language used by top sellers or collectors as it relates to promise-to-pay ratios, upsell/cross-sell, and asking for the sale. Additionally, improving agent performance can help reduce new hire attrition and agent churn through early identification of training gaps and targeted coaching opportunities.
Understand customer intent
This is a relatively new development for speech analytics tools, but a huge one. Call intent reports use AI to analyze every inbound customer contact and then discern the reason (or reasons) that the customer got in touch. They then distill this information down into accessible summary reports and dashboards.
In the contact center, this is far more accurate than agent-led dispositioning and is exactly the insight needed to create effective self-service solutions for their customers, through things like IVR and virtual agents. But, it doesn’t stop there: To a customer-centric business, understanding consumer wants, needs, intents, and pain points to this previously impossible level of detail and scale can deliver strategic value cross-departmentally.
Reduce risk and strengthen compliance strategies
As a result of strengthening consumer protection laws and regulatory bodies such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), contact centers are held more accountable than ever for their conduct. Noncompliance can result in heavy penalties including fines, lawsuits, and other regulatory actions.
With speech analytics, companies can utilize hits for certain categories of words, alerts, and real-time analysis to ensure their agents are saying the things they are obligated to – like mandatory legal disclosures – properly. They can also quickly identify and flag consumer escalations and phrases that might indicate risk – think things like ‘Better Business Bureau’ and ‘District Attorney’.
There’s so much more to come
These few examples are, to excuse the cliche, just the tip of the iceberg. Boiled down to a fundamental concept, speech analytics is a tool that allows the marriage of two vital components of modern business strategy. The first, customer-centricity, the second, data-driven innovation. That’s because it transforms customer conversations into another accessible, actionable data point.
As vendors create more accurate solutions and companies continue to innovate, that data is going to become more detailed and the extent to which companies can access and utilize it is only going to increase.