Speech Compliance Branches Out from the Contact Center into the Enterprise

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Merriam Webster defines compliance as “conformity in fulfilling official requirements.” In the corporate world, the list of such mandates has grown longer as government and industry associations have tried to ensure consistency and integrity in business transactions. As a result, enterprises have been constantly searching for tools to ensure that their employees are in lockstep with regulations. Increasingly, speech recognition and speech analytics have become integral in businesses’ quest for adherence. 

Speech’s potential to enforce compliance has been evident in the contact center for years. Many enterprises want to ensure that their service agents follow company scripts and present information to customers in a consistent manner. Historically, managers recorded and spot-checked customer interactions: picking out a few conversations, examining them, and then deducing how well agents comply with company guidelines.

However, such work was cumbersome, time-consuming, and often ineffective. “Managers can only look at a few interactions, and consequently often did not get a complete picture of an agent’s performance,” says Donna Fluss, president of market research firm DMG Consulting LLC.

Speech recognition, teamed with speech analytics, enables organizations to monitor more—as much as 100%—of the conversations. The speech engine captures the interactions and translates them into data. Speech analytics evaluates each exchange, looks for key phrases, and kicks out any potential missteps for review and possible action. After evaluating the data, managers use the information to improve agent performance. Because of the potential benefits, numerous enterprises are deploying speech analytic solutions: DMG’s 2018 Speech Analytics Product and Market Report projects that contact center speech analytics revenue will increase by at least 10% annually from 2017 through 2021.

New Uses of Speech Technology

The lines between the contact center department’s responsibilities and those of other departments have blurred as businesses have focused on improving customer interactions. “The contact center has to take the lead in the recording piece of compliance and work with other departments to leverage those capabilities,” explains Dick Bucci, principal at Pelorus Associates. Consequently, speech tool metrics have been spreading beyond agent performance to other types of internal monitoring.

As firms adopt cloud computing, the running of their computer infrastructure moves from the internal information technology team to a third party. Such contracts often include a service level agreement (SLA), where vendors need to meet predefined system availability metrics. Business process outsourcers must monitor how well their agents respond to customer SLA inquiries, and speech recognition and analytics enable them to take that step.

Telecommunications service providers use speech technology in a few ways, according to D. Daniel Ziv, vice president of customer analytics at Verint. Churn, where customers move from one service to another, is a big challenge. Oftentimes, customers feel that their carriers are not responsive to their needs. With speech recognition and speech analytics, organizations gain a better understanding of customer issues and respond more effectively to complaints. Ideally, the system identifies customers who are ready to switch so that carriers can offer them incentives to stay on. Speech analytics also helps carriers prevent fraud in areas like roaming services, instances where a customer travels outside of their home area. The system flags an individual who was in, say, New York in the morning and in Sydney mid-morning as a possible case of fraud.

Compliance Regulations Expand

The number of compliance regulations has been growing, and organizations have been searching for tools to ensure adherence. The eGRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) market is expected to grow from $22.14 billion in 2017 to $43.87 billion in 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 14.7%, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

Sales are a company’s lifeblood and are playing a bigger role in the contact center. “Contact centers place a number of outbound and inbound sales calls,” Bucci says. 

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