The Value of Speech Analytics for Call Centers

Customers have ever-growing expectations of receiving stellar service, and insights from speech analytics have been found to be powerful assets for improving the customer experience and boosting sales. Many organizations are leveraging call center and contact center speech analytics to gain a more complete picture of customer frustrations and preferences — and to make life easier for customers by reducing those frustrations. Here's how companies are using speech data insights to drive growth and stay competitive.

Illustration of a woman sitting in front of an oversized laptop. On the screen is a dashboard showing a range of emojis, from a sad face to a smiley face, representing different levels of customer satisfaction.

What Is Speech Analytics?

Speech analytics uses technology to capture and analyze customer conversations. The process can pick out meaningful words and analyze audio patterns to detect emotions, weigh how your agents are performing, and assess call quality. Plus AI can weigh massive amounts of data, far more than humans could handle.

What’s more, you can combine speech analytics with text analytics to get even broader and deeper insights into your customers, improving real-time customer interactions as well as those down the road.

(The terms call center and contact center are often used interchangeably; both provide customer service and outreach. But the channels they use differ — at their simplest, call centers use one channel, the phone, while contact centers use additional channels beyond voice. While speech analytics apply to both solutions, for the purposes of this article, we'll focus on call centers.)

Different Types of Speech Analytics

Speech analytics falls into two basic categories — during the call and after the call has taken place.

In-call speech analytics lets managers know, based on an ongoing conversation, whether the time is right to prompt the agent to take a particular action or to offer certain products, or if the agent needs some support. The result is a better experience for both agents and customers.

Post-call speech analytics can reveal trends like commonly used phrases, as well as uncover the issues that cause customers to reach out to customer service in the first place. In this way, companies can improve their customer experience, increase satisfaction rates, and even begin to develop new products or services.

What Can Speech Analytics Do for Your Call Center?

While many customers are engaging with businesses via chat and text messaging, a good portion of them still would like to have a conversation with a fellow human being on the phone when they have a tricky question or urgently need help. That’s where speech analytics comes into play. Here are just a few of the areas where analytics can benefit a call center.

Better Understand Your Customers

Speech analytics can help businesses get a handle on what their customers need or expect from a product or service. You can discover what interests your customers the most and what factors drive their purchasing decisions — and then develop new features that meet those drivers. Speech analytics can also help predict future customer needs, so you can boost sales and better target your promotions. Plus, new advances in AI and natural language processing make this process even easier and more effective.

Coach Up Your Agents

Are your agents doing the best job possible to resolve customer issues? Speech analytics can help answer that question, allowing you to monitor and enhance agent performance. For example, you can highlight areas where a particular agent needs additional training.

Insights can also help you get the most out of your talented workforce by escalating certain types of calls to specific reps who have the right experience and knowledge. You can spot trends among top-performing agents to develop best practices for other team members to follow. With access to this information in a dashboard, a supervisor can provide hands-on guidance to new agents or optimize workforce strategies that further enhance the call center's capabilities.

With deep insights into every customer call an agent handles, leaders can create custom coaching sessions for individual agents and supervisors, raising customer-satisfaction levels.

Add a Personal Touch

Speech analytics — especially when combined with a data management system — can give companies the ability to take huge amounts of data and turn it into personalized communications. You get to know your customers on a deeper level — what they want, their motivations — to then deliver personalized offers, maximize sales opportunities by upselling or cross-selling products, resolve concerns faster, and more. At the same time, your agents will develop a stronger rapport with your customers.

With speech analytics, businesses can assess whether a customer is satisfied or becoming unhappy by gauging pitch and tone during the call. The technology can also define specific keywords and phrases that may indicate a customer interaction is going particularly well — or heading for trouble. Using the insights gained, the company can shorten call handling time — a major customer pain point — improve first-call resolution, and better its self-service offerings.

Ease Compliance and Mitigate Risk

Many call centers around the world must adhere to a variety of operational regulations and guidelines. Using speech analytics tools can help detect if your agents are compliant with such guidelines while on sales calls or during other customer interactions. They can also detect script deviations, possible data leaks, and other factors that increase business risks, notifying you promptly and letting you eliminate these problems before they get out of hand.

Save Money

By letting you focus your efforts more accurately, speech analytics tools can help you reduce unnecessary costs and make your products or services and your selling approach more effective — and likely more successful. Monitoring and reporting 100% of the conversations within your call center offers critical insights that would be almost impossible to gain otherwise. Converting speech into raw data and organizing and analyzing it saves you time and a great deal of effort. The result: improved agent productivity, customer satisfaction, and service efficiency — all of which are pivotal in enhancing consumer experience and profit margin.

Taking Customer Experience to the Next Level

Of course, understanding customer needs and improving call center performance are priorities for any organization today. But businesses can also leverage the insights they gain from utilizing analytics to improve their business processes, products, and services at an even higher level. For example, analytics can enable businesses to spot common issues that prompt customer calls and improve their products accordingly. Trends may highlight the need to optimize business processes and marketing channels that feed into the call center, such as the website. 

Businesses are also increasingly turning toward advanced call and contact centers to gain a complete, 360-degree view of the customer experience. Reps can start an interaction on one channel and seamlessly move it to another, meeting the customer on the channel of their choice and engaging with them far more flexibly than they could in the past.

Should You Be Using Speech Analytics for Your Call Center?

The short answer is yes, if you want to gain real, relevant insights into what your customers think, want, and expect.

By better understanding your customers, you can enjoy improved customer retention, bottom line growth, better workforce optimization — even insights into opportunities for product and service enhancement. Any business seeking a competitive edge in today's marketplace will find those advantages worth investigating.

With companies facing increased expectations to deliver high quality service to their customers at every turn, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of call center speech analytics. Learn more about how Vonage’s speech analytics solutions can easily turn raw voice data into actionable insights.

Scott Rigdon bio
By Scott Rigdon Technology Writer

Scott creates effective and engaging blog articles, web pages, email sequences, and other content for Vonage. His journalism degree, editing experience, and advertising background give him a unique perspective on content structure and strategy. When he's not working, Scott enjoys reading, movies, and helping his wife restore their mid-century home. Oh, and sandwiches.

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