Speech analytics is the process of analyzing speech to extract useful information within the spoken words. It often includes elements of automatic speech recognition, where the identities of spoken words or phrases are determined. Speech Analytics in contact centers is used to detect business intelligence.
If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were alive today, he would have written a story for Sherlock Holmes that would cause everybody in the world to rethink mystery calling for call center interactions.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Sherlock Holmes. The first was published in 1887. In my opinion, Sherlock Holmes was the first Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). His use of forensic skills and logical reasoning were on the revolutionary edge and were used to solve very difficult cases. Continue reading “Innovations in Mystery Calling would excite Sherlock Holmes” »
I was speaking with someone today that lamented wasting $450,000 on Speech Analytics software that’s now shelfware. When you really think about it, his company wasted far more than $450k, probably closer to $1 million. First he said he spent $350k in seat licenses and $100k in additional servers to support the new software. But what about the training and people costs? And the missed opportunity costs since the shelfware is just sitting? You see, there’s so much more money wasted than just what was initially spent to purchase the software. Continue reading “$1,000,000 wasted on Speech Analytics was avoidable.” »
Like many of you I am frustrated when I make a customer service call and I am asked for my account number (and other information) by the IVR, only to be asked to repeat it when I make it to a live call center agent. We’ve become numb and expect this sort of inefficiency as the norm, so much so that I was shocked when last week I called into my insurance company and found the opposite to be true. When I made it to a live agent she had my account number, my name and the date of the procedure, all there in front of her – just as it should be.
What is the experience for your customers? Do they have to repeat information when they get to one of your call center agents? How much agent time is wasted either a) explaining to the caller why they are asking for the information again, or b) actually taking the information again so the request can be resolved. How big of a deal is this wasted agent time to your call center? Is this wasted step a big deal to your customers?
You probably have a feeling about the answer, but the true impact is difficult to quantify without using Speech Analytics. Most companies we work with have to simply say “I don’t know.” They cannot quantify the impact because they are unable to analyze the whole call – from dial-to-disconnect (not available to all Speech Analytics Software) – to prove where resources are wasted and at what point the customer starts to feel pain.
After a very frustrating call trying to navigate my way through a certain furniture company’s IVR system, I couldn’t help but think, “Who the heck is this IVR system designed for?” The choices didn’t seem to match up with any common problems that might prompt someone to call (assembly instructions, lost shipment, damaged products/returns, etc.) and when you pressed zero to get to an agent, you were met with a ‘good-bye’ and then disconnected.
Far too often our clients design overly complicated IVR systems that aren’t intuitive for the customer and end up causing frustration versus helping route callers correctly. When it comes to the IVR, keeping it simple is the best strategy. Oh, and then put on your customer hat, give yourself a specific problem to solve and then try to use the IVR. If you can’t be impartial about it, ask your spouse or a friend to try it out. Do your agents a favor and try to eliminate this built in frustration that gives them unhappy callers to handle right from the start.
A few weeks ago I had a mishap with an electronic billpay that brought together – and then set apart -three financial institutions. Admittedly, I made a mistake in creating the electronic payment request. My local bank generated a physical check rather than transferring the funds via ACH (Automated Clearing House), and sent it on to institution #2 to process for financial institution #3 located in the United Kingdom. This error took hours of my time over a number of weeks to resolve. When it was finally over, I wanted to blast one financial institution on every social media platform I could find, wrote a thank-you letter to another and felt as indifferent about the third institution as they felt about me.
My local bank, First National Bank of Omaha took an electronic request for the transfer of funds and executed it via paper and then sent it via pony express (kidding, it was US mail), losing the tracking capabilities possible with an ACH. But the moment I called their customer service department, I had their attention and their commitment of assistance. My agent, Tania, conferenced me into First National Bank’s billpay department, inquired about next steps and stayed on the phone with me for over two hours as we made our way through the phone-tree-from-hell and more transfers than I could count at GIANT BANK (not their real name). My local financial institution received a thank-you letter, along with my business for as long as I remain a resident in their coverage area. Continue reading “You vs. your competition, head-to-head, how’d you do?” »
In the call center we are very good at measuring stuff, especially stuff about agents! I’d be hard-pressed to think of another profession where every minute, every word, decision and action is scrutinized. But we do it all for our customers, right?
I work with a number of business partners who are in the enviable position to have agents performing at such consistently high levels that the only thing I can say when I meet with them to review their monthly results is “good job” and “maintain, maintain, maintain” before switching gears and saying “now let’s talk about what you should be doing for your customers!” These organizations have worked hard, but they’re not perfect. These organizations have mastered one aspect of service, arguably the smaller part of the service “equation.” According to Dr. W. Edwards Deming, 80% of a worker’s effectiveness is determined by the environment (created by you, the management) and only 20% is impacted by a worker’s skills. Continue reading “Stop focusing on the wrong things in your call center.” »
In addition to reading this blog, you should also check out the video series Speech Analytics Best Practices. Our Chief Spokesman, Jim Rembach, discusses the importance of identifying the key personnel required for a successful Business Intelligence implementation and the traits or attributes of these personnel:
1. Analytic / math skills,
2. Project management skills,
3. Persuasive story-telling ability (art), and
Imagine this scenario: Some time ago you purchased an electronic gizmo and its product protection plan at a national retail chain. Now your gizmo is acting all goofy and you want it fixed and quickly (you’ve become rather attached to your gizmo)! You call the toll-free number, successfully navigate the IVR the first time around, wait a little over two minutes to reach a call center agent … who can’t seem to find your contract in the system. Your call gets escalated to a manager who you waited about 5 more minutes talk to so she can attempt to pull up your contract by your phone number, date of purchase, credit card number and all likely mis-spellings of your name. And nada. Still no contract to be found. You are then ushered off to yet a third human being who puts you on hold while he calls the store where you made your purchase. Contract number in hand, you are then transferred back to the general customer service queue where you started and receive instructions on how to get your gizmo repaired. Hopefully you weren’t planning to eat during your lunch hour. Continue reading “The whole IS greater then the sum of its call center parts” »
When reviewing customer feedback of any kind, it is easy at first glance to take customer comments at face value…the customer IS always right, right? Customers are very skilled at identifying the existence of a problem, but less adept and determining the root cause. It is natural for the customer to place blame on call center agents for making mistakes because these are the employees within the organization they interact with the most. But as we all know, there many other departments that significantly affect the customer experience. In general, customers are likely to not consider these departments because they do not interface with them and do not understand your back office. Any one of these departments could make a mistake on a transaction to cause a customer to contact the call center and be quite angry. While we as call center industry professionals know this, the problem still needs to be identified (and quantified) in order for changes to be made within the entire process. Continue reading “Is the customer really always right?” »
When our CEO says, “I can’t see the whole picture.” I know she is feeling a lot of anxiety about making the wrong decision. An incorrect decision made today is much worse and harder to recover from than a wrong decision just a few years ago. Every call center is operating more lean and the loss of anything (time, money, people) from a wrong decision can be disastrous. So the insights you depend upon must be comprehensive and cannot fail you.
Picture this: I recently was experiencing slow speeds with my DSL connection at home. After rebooting my modem, router and PC, I called my service provider because the connection was still slow. Oh, how painful it was waiting (and waiting) for web pages to load. Continue reading “Is Dial to Disconnect Causing Your Speech Analytics Insights to Fail?” »
The speech analytics software market is growing rapidly, even in this recessionary market. Despite this fact, many organizations are not launching speech analytics programs. Even though they greatly desire the publicized benefits of:
- Improving First Call Resolution Rates
- Eliminating agent-handled volume
- Reducing talk times
- Reducing hold-time
- Reducing transfers
- Overall cost to operate reductions
- Improving the Customer Experience
- Improving Sales Performance
So why are they sitting this one out? When I have conversations with call center managers and call center directors, the same three reasons are heard over and again. The top three barriers I hear are: Continue reading “Can Free Speech Analytics Software Overcome the 3 Barriers to Adoption?” »