The 2019 State of Speech Analytics

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A Look Ahead

In 2019, experts expect speech analytics to continue to penetrate the midsize markets and be used for an increasing number of applications. “Simple interactions such as password resets, account balance checks, etc., will continue to move from agent-assisted calls to self-service,” Minkara says.

With advances from machine learning and artificial intelligence, speech analytics will enable increasingly complex queries to be handled via voice without agent intervention, experts agree. So live phone calls with customer service agents will continue to decrease, reserved for only the most complex interactions. 

“Cognitive learning abilities, autonomic task management, and emotional intelligence are the core components driving the successful adoption of conversational AI in work and business,” Andersen says. “Investments in these technologies will fuel further workplace and business disruptions into 2019 and beyond.”

Those investments will result in a change of some of the standard technologies employed for customer interactions, according to Andersen. “We can expect to see the decline of static and one-dimensional chatbots, as leaders recognize the business value of investing in technologies that can understand human context and respond intelligently through dialogue, rather than listening for keywords.”

He adds that the new wave of conversational AI—in the form of digital colleagues with cognitive AI—will be critical when it comes to handling multiple complex tasks seamlessly while continuously learning from new interactions. 

“This technology will ultimately allow businesses to passively and continuously improve their performance with automated learning,” Andersen says. “This promises massive opportunities for businesses across sectors that are seeking to open and improve upon new communication channels in 2019.”

With the continued evolution of the technology, Minkara expects top companies to use the insights from post-call analysis to uncover hidden customer trends and unmet caller needs, which can increase upselling opportunities.

Voice-enabled search is one area where the technology will see more use this year, according to Collin Holmes, founder and CEO of Chatmeter. With the continued preference for mobile devices as well as voice-enabled capabilities in cars and in various smart applicances, Holmes expects voice-based searches to comprise half of all searches by the end of 2020.

Bernard expects similar advances in audio devices, with hearing aids advancing from a simply static device to more of a feature device. However, firms seeking to employ speech analytics for the first time this year will have to overcome certain challenges, such as lack of personnel to manage speech analytic activities and lack of expertise in deploying and managing the technology, according to Minkara.

While speech analytics capabilities will continue to grow in 2019, Bernard says, the technology behind those capabilities is starting to reach the edge of its potential with current processing hardware. “We’re coming near the end of Moore’s law [the annual doubling of computing power] within the next two to three years,” he says. So Bernard expects to see specialized processing to become more of a focus for speech analytics and other speech technologies. 

Phillip Britt is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area. He can be reached at spenterprises@wowway.com.

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