Speech Analytics Delivers the Insight

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Society’s expectations for more personalized products and services have risen. As a result, vendors need to better understand their customers and prospects to remain competitive in the marketplace. One of the best ways for a company to do this is to spend time examining the interactions between its employees and customers. Speech analytics delivers the insights organizations require to do just that. Analytics provides opportunities to improve the customer experience, enforce compliance and protocol as required by law, and mitigate risk.

The marketplace for speech analytics is a nascent environment, and not all organizations are aware that the technology exists. With the arrival of 2009, a big question remains in the minds of speech analytics vendors: Is this the year that speech analytics adoption will cross the chasm from early adopters to the early majority? 

According to an Aberdeen survey conducted in November and December, 31 percent of best-in-class organizations have implemented speech analytics and 24 percent plan to do so. This compares to only 16 percent of all other companies that have already implemented analytics and 26 percent that plan to do so. What is evident is the low adoption level and continued growth in the near future. 

For speech analytics adoption to continue, it is important to understand why organizations implement it. Aberdeen probed survey respondents to find out what drives them to introduce speech analytics into their contact centers.

An overwhelming percentage (66 percent) of companies indicated that they implemented speech analytics to improve the customer experience. That said, organizations also indicated that improving customer retention (24 percent), reducing costs (24 percent), and improving compliance monitoring efficiency (22 percent) are other important reasons for using speech analytics. 

With the increase in video usage by both consumers (think YouTube) and enterprises (think of that demo video you watched on speech analytics), it is evident that a lot of speech is locked in video. Yet it is difficult to find this information. It is often found using keywords, phrases, and metadata (e.g., title, subject, or person) that identify the video. Speech analytics can provide much-needed access to the information locked within the video itself. This can result in companies saving time and money that is spent creating, for example, the right metadata. 

The benefits reaped by contact center agents can also be realized by users outside the contact center. For example, litigators now have the ability to search hundreds, if not thousands, of documents that in the past would have taken many man-hours to do. Companies in financial services can now closely monitor their businesses across a much larger sample of conversations for regulatory compliance. 

Departments such as marketing, public relations, sales, and engineering, as well as industries such as financial services, insurance, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals, can also benefit from implementing speech analytics. Furthermore, speech analytics should not be considered just a stand-alone application. It is also highly useful as a module that can bring value to users of customer relationship management, e-learning, or business intelligence applications.

Although the adoption level of speech analytics in the contact center is low, there is promise for growth. Moreover, while the initial growth and acceptance of speech analytics is in contact centers, speech analytics is already being adopted in other areas of companies, as well as in a variety of industries.

Stephen Lawrence is a former research associate in Aberdeen’s Customer Management Technologies Group. 

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