Can Speech Analytics Deliver a Payback and Benefits?
By Donna Fluss
Speech analytics is one of the most exciting and valuable applications to be introduced into contact centers in the past 15 years. It is the only application that converts phone conversations into transcripts, insights and actions. (Text analytics does the same thing for written communications like emails, free-form feedback from surveys, chat/SMS sessions and social media interactions.) With the right best practices, contact centers can use the findings from speech analytics to identify which agents need coaching and the areas where they need improvement; which competitors are winning away customers and the reasons why; what products are or are not satisfying customers; recommendations for new products and services; and a whole lot more.
The challenge with speech analytics is that it is a sophisticated analytics application, unlike most of the systems used in contact centers. Its findings typically apply to many areas of the enterprise. So for companies to realize optimal benefits from speech analytics, they need to approach this tool differently from most contact center solutions. This sounds easy, but has proven to be very difficult.
Here are a few best practices to help companies use speech analytics effectively:
- Create an enterprise speech analytics program – Form a team that includes participants from all departments that could be impacted by speech analytics findings. This should be a cross-functional team with the ability to make changes throughout the organization, and which reports to the head of operations or chief operating officer.
- Treat speech analytics as an enterprise analytics solution – Assign at least 2 highly experienced business analysts to oversee the speech analytics process. (Depending on the number of contact centers within the company, the number of resources may be substantially larger.) The speech analytics resources should report to the enterprise team, not to one of the operating departments.
- Add speech analytics findings to the executive dashboard – Executives want to know what their customers and prospects are saying and thinking. Create a new category on the enterprise/corporate performance management dashboard that lists top customer/prospect issues; the results should be presented to the CEO and other enterprise executives on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Reward departments for applying speech analytics findings – It’s not enough to identify issues and opportunities; to get managers to apply the findings, tie a percentage of their bonus to the positive outcomes they achieve.
Speech analytics solutions identify opportunities for companies. In many organizations, the problem is that these findings are shared and used only within contact centers, which limits their impact. Speech analytics can make substantial, quantifiable contributions to contact centers, but this is only one of the many use cases for this highly flexible and effective application. A properly implemented speech analytics solution should pay for itself in 3 to 6 months, with broad contributions across the enterprise.