Top Menu

Speech Analytics Benefits

Speech Analytics Benefits

In this edition of The Real-Time Contact Center Newsletter, we’ll explore an emerging technology called speech analytics. For years, speech analytics has been used worldwide by security organizations to help government agencies identify potential threats. In the past two years, contact centers have also begun to use speech analytics applications to capture and structure customer communications. The applications then analyze the structured data to identify customer trends and insights for the purpose of improving service quality and customer satisfaction and generating new revenue.

Speech Analytics Benefits

The potential benefits of speech analytics applications go far beyond the boundaries of the contact center. Structured data is valuable for all customer-facing departments, operations and even senior executives. Anyone interacting with customers needs to know what they want and need.

Today, more than 95% of the customer communications that flow through contact centers go to waste because enterprises do not have tools for capturing, analyzing and using this information. The opportunity costs for companies are huge – customers are not shy about sharing their thoughts on product improvements, competitors and new product ideas. Customers also frequently tell contact center representatives about things they want to buy. And customers tell companies (the ones willing to listen) when they are unhappy and about to jump ship.

Agents sometimes try to pass this information on to their immediate supervisors, but even if they do, few contact centers have formal processes for making use of customer insights at all, no less on a timely basis. Besides, it’s one thing to reflect the thoughts of one or two customers, which is all an agent can do; it’s another to have a system that collects, analyzes and identifies a broad range of trends that impact the entire enterprise.

Speech Analytics Applications are Maturing

Now, I’m not suggesting that speech analytics applications are perfect. The applications are new and are improving with use. Speech analytics is an emerging technology and its recognition capabilities are still maturing. The accuracy of speech analytics improves as the size of the underlying data sets increases.

There are two categories of vendors selling speech analytics applications to contact centers. The first are the stand-alone vendors: CallMiner, Inc., Nexidia and Utopy. The second are quality management/liability recording vendors that have integrated speech analytics as a component of their suites. All of the vendors in the latter category are using technology developed by a third party. These vendors include: Dictaphone, Envision, etalk, Magnetic North, Mercom, NICE Systems, Verint Systems, Voice Print International, Inc. and Witness Systems.

During the next few years, speech analytics will play a critical role in opening up contact centers by structuring customer communications and sharing this enriched information with relevant decision makers throughout the enterprise. The projected payback from speech analytics is 6 to 9 months but the benefits are more than the sum of the financial gains. Enterprises that implement best practices to accompany their speech analytics initiative will realize enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty, improved productivity and agent satisfaction and increased sales and profitability.

Ask the Experts

I’ve been struggling with the following issue for some time. We’re receiving a lot of ‘how to’ questions through the tech support call center and the higher-ups believe these questions don’t fall under the tech support contract; thus we should charge the customers for these specific types of questions per call.

I would like to find out exactly how many of these questions are coming in, why they are coming in and what the exact subjects are to identify a pattern. Unfortunately, I’ve been asked to move straight to the ‘how do we charge them’ item. I’ve looked into a lot of companies and I have yet to locate a company that actually has both ‘umbrella contracts’ and ‘per incident contracts’. I have a lot of red flags flapping around my head in implementing this (i.e. the poor customer service that could occur when a rep says “So sorry, I know the answer to that but in order for me to help you do that simple ‘how-to’ task, you must give me your cc number). Regardless, I’ve been assigned the task and need to find the solution.

Do you know of any companies that are offering both types of contracts or can you give me any advice on how to design this type of contract separation?

– Anonymous
You’ve raised a number of issues.

Question 1: How do you identify call reasons and volumes?

Answer 1: There are multiple ways to identify the reasons why people call. If your company has a quality management (QM) program, ask your QM specialists to list the reasons why people are calling. A second approach, which doesn’t require the use of QM, is to hold a focus group with your agents. (If you’re too busy to hold a focus group during business hours, pay your staff an hour of overtime and hold the focus group before or after the shift. You may need to meet more than once.) Your agents will be able to share information with you about the types of calls they are receiving. Once they do, I suggest that you create a tick sheet (which can either be automated or paper-based) and then distribute it to all agents and ask them to log all calls.

If you have a wrap up capability on your ACD, then you can also track the call categories and volumes that way. Lastly, you can use speech analytics to track customer trends and insights.

DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at