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The 2016 Speech Industry Star Performers: NICE

By Paul Korzeniowski - Posted Aug 1, 2016
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NICE Understands Consumer Behavior and Identifies Compliance and Fraud Risks

What does the customer really want? NICE’s Total Voice of the Customer (TVOC) portfolio is designed to answer that question. The solution collects information from a variety of sources (customer surveys, call center interactions, and social media) and tries to create a complete picture of the interaction. Through internal development and outside acquisitions, the vendor recently filled missing pieces in that picture and thus earned a Speech Technology Star Performer award.

Garnering a comprehensive understanding of customer interactions has long been businesses’ holy grail. Firms generate information at various customer touch points: They conduct surveys at different points in the customer journey; they solicit feedback via email surveys; and they collect data from social networking sites.

Traditionally, that information was housed in application silos, each one guarding its own data. “Corporations had access to a lot of numbers indicating a customer’s feelings but lacked the insight into what actions created those feelings,” notes Aviad Abiri, vice president of portfolio sales enablement at NICE. The vendor has been trying to break down those barriers and provide organizations with clear connections between their actions and consumers’ positive and negative responses.

TVOC consolidates voice recordings, social engagement, chat logs, other digital channels, and multichannel surveys. Speech recognition is a key element in building the customer profile. Organizations collect reams of captured data, and traditionally, sifting through that information and drawing straight lines from responses to actionable insights have been difficult.

One challenge has been the sheer volume of information—large organizations generate millions of hours of conversations each month. Also, these systems create both direct and indirect customer feedback. Vendors need to correctly understand the nuances involved when consumers talk with contact center agents or complete survey forms.

To help address those issues, NICE paid $135 million for Nexidia, which develops speech analytics solutions. Nexidia’s analytic products rely on patented phonetic indexing and search capabilities, and its grid-based architecture and ability to run both transcription and phonetics indexing can help organizations better understand consumer behavior. When combined with NICE’s contact center solutions, these products offer firms the potential to reduce churn, improve marketing campaign effectiveness, and optimize sales.

In addition, NICE partnered with Microsoft to bring recording and compliance features for financial services to Skype for Business. The NICE communication surveillance solution identifies compliance and fraud risks across multiple communication channels. This feature monitors and pinpoints potentially damaging exchanges in peer-to-peer voice sessions, conference calls, email, chat, the audio of Skype calls, and mobile communications.

The cloud is one more area of growing interest. Market research firm MarketsandMarkets projects that the global cloud contact center market will grow from $4.7 billion in 2015 to $14.7 billion by 2020, which represents a healthy compound annual growth rate of 25.7 percent.

Recognizing that opportunity, NICE is in the process of closing a deal where it will pay approximately $940 million for inContact, a cloud contact center software company with a speech-enabled IVR solution. “Corporations have often been in catch-up mode in terms of servicing the customer because they spend a lot of time allocating the needed computer resources,” NICE’s Abiri notes. “Cloud enables them to provide such resources much more quickly.”

The vendor is integrating inContact’s cloud contact center solutions with NICE’s contact center, workforce optimization, and analytics solutions. “This unprecedented integration is at the core of our vision for the transformation of the legacy contact center into the new era of the Experience Center,” stated Barak Eilam, NICE’s CEO, in a statement. “I am excited about this landmark acquisition and about NICE’s unique leadership position in writing the next chapter in customer service.” 

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