Posted by Les Blacker
I’m often asked what makes for an award winning customer service operation and my answer has been the same every single time – it is a marriage of the right technology, people and processes. I have seen first-hand, how these facets have been shamefully laid to waste in many businesses, and at the same time have witnessed it being utilized skilfully to deliver on customer service objectives.
A technology that has been revolutionizing training and development of the contact center workforce is speech analytics. And when combined with efficient work flow processes and inspired management, it can unlock revenue streams, boost agent productivity and deliver substantial cost benefits.
What is Speech Analytics, anyway?
In simple words, speech analytics is a technology that recognizes speech and converts it into data, which can be analysed for insights. Typically, the solution comprises of a speech engine that converts speech to data; an indexing layer that makes it searchable; a query and search user interface to allow the user to define requirements and carry out searches; and reporting applications to present the analytics, often in graphical form.
How does it deliver change?
In a contact center environment, speech analytics enables precision based training, which targets pain points in service delivery, creating empowered agents and happier customers. In fast paced industries like Telecom where market conditions, products, pricing and promotions change on a daily basis, the need for coaching which constantly adapts to changing customer needs, assumes paramount importance. A training and development program with speech analytics at its heart can help deliver change in a multitude of ways:
- Understand patterns behind why customers are calling in
- Identify churn trends and roots of customer dissatisfaction
- Create more opportunities to cross sell and upsell through linking call drivers and outcomes
- Get a handle on competitor offers and positioning
At HGS, we’ve used this technology to great success to rejuvenate our coaching and training programs. Speech analytics based training is central to the operating rhythm of several of our campaigns and impacts every aspect of operation through:
Transforming agent performance: Based on campaign objectives, calls are placed into specific categories based on call drivers. Analysed in-depth, each call category can yield rich insights into why customers are dissatisfied, or which conversations lead to more sales or why customers are turning to competitor offers. Bespoke coaching modules can then be built to specifically address those churn drivers. Such tailored coaching also help agents refine their selling techniques and reduce missed sales opportunities. Through analyzing reports, managers can identify what makes the top performers tick and build coaching around these successful behaviors.
Driving operational efficiency and reducing cost to serve: Speech analytics doesn’t just improve agent performance – it helps drive out costs through accelerating contact avoidance. Insights from calls can streamline processes and encourage automation, where possible. For customer facing teams working in heavily regulated industries, it can offer that much-needed lifeline for compliance adherence. Usually dreaded by agents, non-compliance issues cause organisations millions of pounds of talk time. Through skills-based workshops, managers can coach staff to ensure they are saying the right things on a call, preventing future follow ups. Non-adherence can result in companies getting penalized. With the advent of real-time analytics, staff can be notified in real-time to ensure adherence to regulations, and prevent any such instances.
Informing incentive and remuneration plans: Analytics reports feed into individual and team performances and help managers allocate agent bonuses accordingly.
As with most transformational solutions, adoption of speech analytics requires considerable investment in time, money and enterprise-wide change management. However, when done the right way, the possibilities are limitless - it can reinvigorate training and development, boost agent morale, create an effective performance management culture and even galvanize your front line teams into high performing salesmen. Just make sure your processes and people are aligned around this technology to enable success of this venture.