Interaction Analytics: What’s Driving Adoption
Interaction (speech and text) analytics removes the mystery from customer conversations and gives companies access to what customers are talking (or writing) about. These increasingly sophisticated analytics solutions have evolved from basic keyword search applications that helped companies understand call reasons to advanced business intelligence (BI) offerings that provide insights along with an appreciation of customer sentiment and empathy. The more advanced interaction analytics (IA) offerings have expanded their capabilities and benefits far beyond their initial contact center audience, but vendors have not yet figured out how to convince executives of these solutions’ value to sales, marketing, and other enterprise functions.
The Passive Approach to Gathering Customer Feedback
The current generation of IA offerings use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide passive voice-of-the-customer (VoC) findings and insights, minimizing the need to survey customers frequently. The more advanced IA solutions come with customer journey analytics (CJA) that provide omnichannel insights into each customer’s experience as they interact across an organization and pivot between channels. While more work needs to be done to enhance emerging CJA functionality, IA solutions are the most effective tool available in most enterprises for identifying issues and bottlenecks that prevent companies from delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX), as well as decreasing service costs.
Real Time Adds an Essential Dynamic for Improving CX
Real-time guidance is another important and emerging use for IA solutions. A real-time speech analytics solution listens to (or reads) what customers are saying/writing in real time and uses this information to guide agents in how to best help customers. While real-time IA capabilities are just finding their way into the market, they have great potential and should be adopted as part of an enterprise digital transformation. Real-time guidance is clearly useful in enabling contact center agents to personalize a service experience and can be very helpful in improving sales, marketing, and collections interactions.
Starter Packages Speed Adoption
IA vendors have responded quickly and responsibly to the needs of their enterprise customers during the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, a number of IA vendors offered free lexicons to help users quickly gain insights into healthcare-related issues. Other vendors offered free, though limited, capabilities to help companies obtain insights into call reasons. IA vendors were also effective in helping existing and new customers quickly implement and apply their solutions to identify issues unique to work-at-home employees, everything from quality of service problems to ensuring that it was the employee and not a different family member who was handling the calls. Providing lexicons and call reasons as part of the starter package for IA solutions has proven to be an effective method for increasing adoption of these essential solutions.
Adoption of Text Analytics Is Slowly Emerging
Calls remain the primary use for IA, but more organizations are starting to apply these solutions to text-based interactions, which is a necessity now that digital customer service has grown in importance. As digital support is in its early days in many organizations, gaining timely insights into how these channels are being used and their challenges is very helpful for companies that want to deliver an outstanding customer experience cost-effectively.
AQM to Replace Traditional Quality Management
Analytics-enabled quality management (AQM) is expected to be one of the next big things in the IA market. AQM has been talked about for at least 12 years and has been available to some degree for 10 of them. But it’s only in the past 18 months that AQM solutions are seeing significant adoption, due to innovations in AI as well as more realistic pricing. The market is starting to experience a transition from traditional QM to AQM, and DMG Consulting expects this to pick up momentum in the next few years, as there are proven benefits and substantial cost savings from this migration.
The pandemic reinvigorated interest in IA—adoption of which was strong in contact centers pre-COVID—and has given the market some enterprise-wide and executive visibility. IA can capture and analyze the voice of the customer and voice of employees, helping to improve company performance and the customer journey in all channels and touchpoints. For these reasons and many others, vendors are continuing to invest heavily in research and development to enhance their IA solutions. During the next few years, DMG expects investments to be focused on developing practical AI-based capabilities.
Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, is highly regarded as one of the foremost experts on contact centers and the back office and specializes in digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and automation. With 30 years of experience helping organizations build highly effective operating environments and assisting vendors to deliver competitive solutions, Fluss created DMG Consulting to deliver unparalleled and unbiased research, analysis, and consulting services. Fluss is a renowned speaker, author, and source for industry and business publications. She can be reached at Donna.Fluss@dmgconsult.com.