Analytics to Become a Broader Business Tool
Recent analysis in the Frost & Sullivan report Speech Analytics in Contact Centers – Market Insight considers ways enterprises might most successfully deploy speech analytics within the contact center environment. According to senior analyst Keith Dawson, because of the increasing multimodality of customer interactions that includes not only phones but chat, email, and web data, enterprises need to think beyond the call center in order to maximize the benefits of a speech analytics solution.
Within the contact center environment, speech analytics distills meaning from unstructured audio data using speech recognition and business intelligence practices. Ideally, it gathers information from the contact center and provides it to individuals in other parts of the organization, who can then take measures to optimize customer relations.
For instance, enterprises can use speech analytics to mine audio recordings of customer interactions and can tell conditions that might lead customers to defect. "You can use the speech analytics system to know that when a customer mentions a certain word, like the name of a competitor, that you should step in and take action," says Frost & Sullivan senior analyst Keith Dawson. "That’s a tangible benefit."
But because contact centers are traditionally isolated from a company’s strategic business-decision process, enterprises don’t always reap the full benefits of speech analytics. That means understanding that speech analytics is merely one component within a larger framework of contact center tools.
"(Speech analytics) seems to work very well when it’s integrated with a lot of tools that generate that data," says Dawson. "So you’ve got a system that combines workforce management applications and the data it throws off with quality monitoring and call recording. You apply speech analytics to that system, you’ve got some really interesting stuff."
Dawson speculates that companies deploying speech analytics "in a way that knits the contact center into the rest of the organization" will be able to respond swiftly to the changing business landscape and will therefore have a competitive advantage.
However, a problem that Dawson continues to see is that while ROI is very real and demonstrable for speech analytics, it’s not always clear to the individuals overseeing contact centers. That’s because contact centers take an agents-first approach in making decisions, such as how many agents are necessary to retain or how best to optimize agent productivity. From that standpoint, it’s harder to make the benefits case of a more customer-focused solution like speech analytics.
Thus, while vendors package their application for call centers, Dawson believes they’ll have an easier time selling to a part of the enterprise that actually handles business processes. "I don’t see the main benefits (of speech analytics) as being able to fix the contact center, I see its main benefits as being able to fix the customer interaction overall as it relates to the company," says Dawson. "But the contact center is a mechanism. It’s the machine, not the driver."