I feel the need, the need for speech (analytics)

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As Shakespeare said in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”. While professional Hollywood actors win acclaim and awards for their skills, including subtle changes in speech, tone and facial expressions in order to convey genuine emotion, customers instead expect to be similarly understood and listened to by brands, every single day.

With the contact centre largely removing the need for a face-to-face element, really listening to the customer has consistently been a challenge for customer experience managers. Expensive, unwieldy, on-premises call recording and speech analytics software has in the past offered some solutions for specific needs which still benefit organisations today, such as word spotting, evaluation of customer sentiment and compliance.

The ability to now deploy speech analytics tools via a cloud-based platform has extended the benefits for the contact centre and the wider customer engagement strategy of the organisation. Also, developments in speech recognition technology, thanks to the innovation and developments around voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri, make a world of difference when it comes to the ability of speech analytics to extract valuable customer information and demonstrate great ROI in many operational areas of the contact centre.

For customer experience managers, the influence of speech analytics upon a self-service strategy is not to be underestimated. Advances in cloud-based, automated, omni-channel self-service technology capabilities mean that great customer experiences can now be delivered for less, while boosting customer satisfaction and diverting expensive agent-assisted voice calls away. According to Pelorous Associates, around 60% of callers will attempt to connect with an operator upon first encountering a traditional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system when calling a contact centre, with the belief that an IVR is almost always unlikely to be able to answer their query. With the right use of speech analytics, customer experience managers can easily identify trends in frequently asked questions or popular topics from customers, enabling the full and flexible customisation of self-service menus, as often as required.

Speech analytics has also enabled contact centres to perform even better and more inclusive quality management. While manual processes (such as listening in on agent calls to check for compliance, or to coach newbies through the probation period) are labour intensive and can only snatch a small amount of interactions in reality, automated quality management via speech analytics gets 100% of all communications. When powered by the cloud, speech analytics also delivers a substantial operational cost saving since you only use what is needed, and no human intervention is required. It also gives a great boost to agent engagement since desktop dashboards can give employees their performance ratings, KPIs, and metrics in near real-time.

Other benefits of speech analytics today include reduced agent stress, thanks to the ability to spot stress inducers from contact centre data, improved productivity, derived from identifying common time wasting situations during interactions, and reduced on-boarding costs with new agents.

The positive fiscal impact of speech analytics is also clear: according to Aberdeen Group, 15% of contact centres are currently using speech analytics technology, but that number is likely to grow rapidly due to these advances. The Group also states that speech analytics users show higher annual improvement in profit margins compared to non-users – as much as eight times higher.

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