You have already tested the power of speech analytics.
You know that computers can understand our words because you’ve spoken to Alexa, Siri, Bixby or Cortana.
Now that this voice recognition software is so effective, it is creating new opportunities for contact centres.
But why are companies so eager to implement speech analytics? What are the use cases and benefits of speech analytics?
Ultimately, speech analytics is about unveiling information that has previously been obscured. With speech analytics you can turn thousands of hours of call recordings into actionable insights. Instead of laboriously listening to calls and scoring interactions, you can instantly count instances of phrases, search for anomalies and identify your top-performing agents.
There are hundreds of use cases for speech analytics. All of them (probably) fit into four categories. You can use speech analytics to support your:
- Customer experience
- Employee experience
How can you improve the customer experience if you don’t know what the customer experience is? Speech analytics is a powerful way to quantify the customer experience, both in terms of your successes and your challenges.
1: Improve first call resolution rates. Customers who have to call twice, or more, to resolve a query, may not remain customers for long. Speech analytics can help you identify customers who call more than once so you can investigate the reasons why they didn’t resolve their query the first time.
2: Improve customer loyalty. People frequently abandon suppliers who fail to meet expectations. And your contact centre is a key part of this value equation. Speech analytics can help you resolve the problems and failings that cause customers to walk away.
3: Pinpoint broken processes. You can search for phrases that indicate a complaint or a mention of another channel.
4: Identify customer communications issues. Are your automated customer emails including broken links? Or do your invoices include a phone support number that has been replaced? These kinds of customer communication issues often come through to the contact centre, so can be easily identified and remedied with speech analytics.
5: Keep customers contained in one channel. Few things are more frustrating than having to switch channels and repeat the details of your query – especially if the customer is struggling with a complex problem. With speech analytics you can easily find the issues that are forcing customers to cross channels.
6: Escalation drivers. What makes customers demand a supervisor? Can these kinds of issues be anticipated? Or is it possible to eliminate the cause?
7: Simplify customer journeys. Search for words and phrases that indicate frustration, repeated steps or unnecessary actions. This is the evidence you need to determine which stages of the customer journey can be simplified or streamlined.
8: Improve your IVR containment. Your interactive voice response (IVR) system can do an incredible job of saving you time and money, but only if it performs well, and manages to completely meet customer needs. Of course, you will always have some customers who struggle to navigate the IVR system (or don’t want to) but any improvement in your IVR containment rate will reduce demand on agents and help to control costs. Speech analytics can help you identify the moments when customers abandon the IVR system so you can address the causes.
After years of obsessing about customer experience, business leaders are recognising the importance of the employee experience; you can’t have a world-class customer experience if your employees are unhappy, untrained or underappreciated.
Focusing on the employee experience often highlights issues that, if left unresolved, will have a detrimental affect on the customer experience. Speech analytics can help you improve the employee experience in a number of ways:
9: Reduce stress on agents. Using speech analytics to optimise your communications, customer journeys and contact channels will all contribute to happier customers, which in turn reduces the pressure on agents. Instead of fielding complex queries from frustrated customers, your agents are more likely to face problems they can solve – and customers who are calm and collected.
10: Automatic call scoring. Before speech analytics came along, most contact centre agents were appraised on the basis of a random sampling of calls, which were then reviewed by their line manager, or another individual. This means that the agent’s performance may be judged harshly (or favourably) on the basis of an unlucky sampling – or a reviewer in a bad mood. There are also issues with different standards applied by different supervisors and line managers.
With speech analytics, calls can be scored according to fixed rules applied by software. This removes bias from the process and ensures a fair appraisal for all agents. Agents are more likely to feel positive about the appraisal process and satisfied with outcomes.
11: Score all calls. The power and speed of speech analytics means that you can score all calls for a number of different metrics. Instead of judging an agent’s performance on their worst day, you can have a complete view of their performance over time, and identify any trends.
12: Coach colleagues more effectively. As noted above, speech analytics gives you a clear view of an agent’s performance. This means that coaching and training can be more accurately tied to their genuine needs, which in turn makes for happier and more productive agents – and a better return on your investment in training.
13: Classify calls accurately. Many contact centres experience the same challenge with call dispositioning: agents rush to quickly assign a disposition code, and many calls are not correctly attributed. Another common issue is calls being attributed to an ‘other’ category – and effectively not categorised at all. This means that reviews of calls and outcomes are based on incorrect data.
With speech analytics, calls can be automatically assigned to the most appropriate disposition code. This saves agent time and also improves the relevance of reporting.
14: Enhance your recruitment processes. Dealing with customers is a tough job. And some people just don’t enjoy spending lots of time on the phone. A common problem for contact centres is that people don’t know they hate contact centre work until they get started. And by that time they’ve consumed hundreds or thousands of pounds of onboarding training and other resources.
Speech analytics gives you a bias-free way to evaluate new candidates and test them with realistic simulations of actual calls.
Improving employee retention rates isn’t just good for your bottom line; it’s also a good way to improve your corporate culture and reduce the disruption on other colleagues (which also improves their experience of work).
15: Identify development opportunities. Your colleagues want to learn. With speech analytics, you can easily discover the learning priorities for every agent in your contact centre.
Speech analytics can make your compliance operation more stringent and more effective:
16: Compliance monitoring. Compliance is usually managed by monitoring a selection of calls and hoping the sample is representative of all calls. Speech analytics makes it easy and affordable to monitor compliance across your entire call history.
17: Compliance training. Identify training needs based on compliance issues.
18: Identify and manage compliance issues. Do your recordings contain sensitive customer data, or payment information? Speech analytics makes it easy to identify non-compliant recordings and manage the deletion process.
Speech analytics can help you perform more effectively as an organisation, both in terms of delivering a better customer experience, and in terms of achieving more sales.
19: Cross-sell and up-sell. Some of your agents are probably better at selling than others. You can use speech analytics to identify the most effective phrases, actions and approaches to close deals and convert prospects into customers.
20: Competitive intelligence. How do you compare to competitors? Your customers may be leaving clues during calls. Search for your competitor brand names to pinpoint moments when customers draw comparisons – whether positive or negative.
21: Improve collection rates. Are your contact centre agents tasked with collecting payments? Speech analytics gives you a fast, simple way to analyse the performance of your agents. You can identify the patterns, tone and language used by your most successful agents, and compare it to the performance of those agents who are less successful.
Want to know more about speech analytics?
As you can see, there are countless practical applications for speech analytics. The technology effectively gives you a window into a world that was previously hard to quantify.
The cumulative sum of your contact centre activity is now as easy to scan and analyse as a web page. Voice interactions can be assessed and scored as easily as email communications.
If you would like to know how voice analytics can support your contact centre operations and strategy, and how utilising speech analytics can help unlock customer insights, watch our vlog, by IPI’s Head of Consulting, Craig Farley.