Demystifying Speech Analytics


Everybody likes a good mystery but not when it comes to operating a contact center – and speech analytics software continues to be a mystery to many contact center decision-makers despite the fact that it has proven to be an extremely valuable workforce optimization tool.  A recent study by Aberdeen shows that 76% of contact centers without speech analytics have not implemented it because either they don’t understand speech analytics or don’t know how it can improve their performance.  Speech analytics technology is certainly not elementary, indeed stretching the knowledge boundaries of most contact center administrators and IT staff.  Without a doubt, its enigmatic nature has limited its acceptance as a common WFO tool.  As of this writing, only about 26% of contact centers use speech analytics, and that’s a crime because any contact center can reap widespread benefits from this powerful technology.

Few would argue that the speech recognition technology used in speech analytics is quite complex — and potential users are still a bit skeptical because of their personal experiences with Siri, Alexa, Cortana and other speech-based personal assistants.  Of course, the jobs of these personal assistants are more challenging than speech analytics because they must also extract the actual semantics of the spoken word, and that introduces another level of error into the equation.  Even so, the process for converting the spoken word into an accurate stream of text that can be indexed, sorted, and analyzed is a complex one.   How many buyers can testify to the importance of Large Vocabulary Continuous Speech Recognition (LVCSR) vs. phonetic systems?  You might find it surprising, but most people don’t know what a phoneme is.  It’s not surprising that speech analytics as a whole is not well understood.  Buyers can’t even get past the fundamentals.  How do they explain it to the CFO?Speech analytics

But contact centers that have invested the extra time to get clued into the technology and its value are seeing barn-burning improvement over contact centers that don’t.  The Aberdeen report provides compelling evidence.  Their research shows Y-o-Y improvement in Customer Satisfaction is about twice as high for speech analytics users compared to non-users (9.9% vs. 5.5%).  Where else could you turn to double your CSAT improvement?  Speech analytics users also enjoy more than double the Y-o-Y improvement in both Customer Retention improvement and Customer Lifetime value improvement.  Speech analytics is remarkable technology, but it’s shrouded in a cloak of mystery because the technology itself is quite complicated and difficult to explain to users and their management.

How does this technology achieve these startling improvements cited in the Aberdeen report?  By driving better performance pretty much across the board especially in major contact center objectives like reduced operating cost, increased revenue, improved productivity and better quality, consistency, and compliance:

  • Reduced Operating Costs: Contact centers can reduce operating costs by using analytics to optimize how contacts are handled. By analyzing the volume, content, and outcomes of all contacts across all channels (calls, emails, messaging chats, etc.), organizations can redirect flow more efficiently, maintain contact center staffing at optimal levels, identify recurring operational challenges and enhance the customer journey across channels
  • Increased Revenue: Analytics makes it easier to identify successful selling techniques and customer objections. Organizations can then use these insights to target their offers, sales presentations and agent training to better address leading objections
  • Improved Productivity: Speech analytics allows supervisors to recognize recurring periods of silence, which when reduced through training, translate into increased productivity for agents. Speech analytics also improves productivity by helping shorten training time and by making training more effective, enabling organizations to maintain higher agent-to-supervisor ratios
  • Better Quality, Consistency and Compliance: Analytics not only helps companies improve quality by monitoring 100% of calls, it also enables them to measure and report quality in meaningful ways. The ability to monitor, grade and record every contact creates a tremendous amount of valuable data for quality analysis and reporting. Also, textual versions of agent conversations are extremely useful for defending against complaints and preparing for audits.

If you would like to further investigate  how speech analytics is improving contact center performance across the board, click here to download a complimentary copy of this recent Aberdeen report entitled Speech Analytics: Maximizing the Value of Voice Conversations.


Mike Bourke, SVP & GM Workforce Optimization

Mike Bourke is Aspect’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Workforce Optimization. Mike is responsible for charting the strategic direction, and continuing the momentum of Aspect’s global workforce optimization suite and continuing the solution’s availability in the Aspect Cloud.

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