Market for Speech Analytics Still Growing, Says Verint

Despite the widening recession and the slowdown of various economic sectors worldwide, Verint Systems claimed yesterday that it is seeing an uptick in interest for the speech analytics components of its Impact 360 workforce optimization solution.

Citing financial regulations, Verint declined to give internal numbers, but claims they are significant and increasing.

Ryan Hollenbeck, senior vice president of marketing, asserts that the climb is being driven by the recession itself, with enterprises looking to cut costs without scaling back on service.

“It would take you hours and hours, and you don’t, in this kind of economy, have the resources to go back and listen to tens of thousands of calls [manually] to figure out what’s going on in your business,” he says. “If you can buy software that can do that for you automatically, and especially if it can do it proactively, then it can help get to the root cause of what’s going on in your business.”

Impact 360’s analytics records and stores each call that it gets. The system then processes, retains, and mines the entire call content—not just predefined keywords/phrases—and with its data mining engine, analyzes and exposes key circumstances that positively and negatively impact business performance. Additionally, by rooting through, looking for repeated words and phrases, it identifies customer perceptions and business outcomes, competitive threats and market opportunities, and trends that might not otherwise be detected without listening to thousands of call recordings. 

Hollenbeck says that an enterprise using Impact 360’s full solution (its speech analysis and back-office solutions working in tandem) could see as much as a 300 percent increase in return on investment. He attributes the lion’s share of these savings to cost cutting through restructuring the layout of employment. While he is quick to point out that an enterprise shouldn’t necessarily look to lay off workers outright, he claims that Impact 360 may help to optimize profits by reducing the need for a large number of full-time employees.

Using Verint’s back end, employees could be trained to get a high level of efficiency without having to work the call center 40 hours a week. Rather, an enterprise could move much of its workforce to part-time and even pick up additional part-time workers, increasing the net employment numbers while also cutting costs.

“If you just go in and reduce staff, that’s not going to get it done,” Hollenbeck says. “That’s going to save you money, but it’s not going to be efficient and get to the root cause of the problem—what’s driving calls into the call center in the first place,”

Likewise, the analytics solution can be used to replace the bulk of manual call monitoring, letting the system handle the first pass and proactively addressing trend problems. This doesn’t mean eliminating manual monitoring altogether, but reducing the manpower required because the checking can be more sporadic.

According to Hollenbeck, an enterprise could expect to see those kinds of results in six to 12 months.

Analysis may also provide higher revenue returns. At an airline booking contact center, for instance, an agent may be asked to say, Would you like to rent a car? but may not do so consistently. The automated analysis featured in Impact 360 can be used to make sure she is saying it every time.

In this same airline booking scenario, the system could discover competitive trends. Callers, in response to the agent’s question, may say Is this cheaper than X rental company? often enough that a trend emerges. The enterprise could then move to make price adjustments based on those findings to increase revenues.

Where it doesn’t increase revenues, Hollenbeck, adds, analytics can be used to make sure that agents are consistent and efficient, helping to retain existing customers.


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