The first call center was likely in the mid-’50s, thanks to the introduction of automatic call distribution systems. The ‘70s saw the centralization of calls to big businesses, and progressive advancements allowed call centers to get bigger and handle more inquiries. Scripts, voice recording and call stats helped managers supervise the call center more effectively. Fast forward to the digital revolution, and the role of the call center has dramatically shifted, with technological advancements helping to fine-tune every interaction through call center voice analytics. Call centers are rapidly becoming contact centers, expanding their role to become an integral part of building long-lasting customer relationships.
What Is Speech Analytics?
To understand call center voice analytics, it’s essential to understand call center speech analytics.
“Call center speech analytics involve analyzing calls to get the information within those calls,” says Elena Kornilova, Product Marketing Manager at Wildix. “Customer-agent interactions are decoded to gain insights into customer sentiments, product feedback, service quality and compliance. Unfortunately, this was traditionally a long and laborious process involving a lot of manual intervention.”
AI, however, has dramatically improved the process. The introduction of advanced systems into contact center software helps managers understand how their employees are performing without having to listen to every single call. Those asking “what is speech analytics” find that it can now become a complex topic rapidly.
What Is Voice Analytics?
With that use of AI in mind, voice analytics allow a much more nuanced insight into every contact.
Voice analytics differ slightly from speech analytics as they focus on the non-verbal cues of the conversation. They can look at tonal variations, pitch, speed and even pauses to see how the customer and agent are feeling, their stress levels and potentially the overall level of customer satisfaction. Essentially, contact center speech analytics are the “what” of the conversation, and voice analytics are the “how” of the conversation.
Integrating the two helps give managers a well-rounded view of every interaction, improving contact center management and making it easier to establish core deliverables.
Evolution of Call Center Analytics
Traditionally, contact centers relied on a variety of quantitative metrics to measure performance. Average handle time, first call resolution and call abandonment rates provide a very surface-level view of efficiency and effectiveness. However, they often miss the mark when it comes to customer-agent interactions and the effectiveness of each agent. Many contact centers fall into the trap of measuring average handle time and allow first call resolution to be marked off by the agent. This encourages short-term fixes over long-term solutions that would actually lead to genuine customer satisfaction.
Modern contact center speech analytics tools now delve further into the what and the why of conversations. This allows businesses to understand customer sentiments, explore why calls may be abandoned or dropped and make it easier to manage overall contact center performance.
“By moving from quantitative analytics to AI-powered qualitative metrics, contact centers get a much better understanding of their overall performance,” notes Elena. “This paves the way for a much more empathetic and responsive customer service approach that allows more human interactions.”
Core Components of Speech Analytics
There are three potential components of speech analytics: speech-to-text analytics, real-time speech analytics and post-call analytics.
Speech-to-text analytics: These use some form of machine learning or AI to convert spoken words into text. Advanced algorithms and linguistic models help ensure accuracy, with noise suppression helping compensate for busy contact center environments. This data can then be mined for keywords, phrases or patterns. This helps to identify common queries, complaints and feedback, and it can also be used to gauge the overall sentiment of the call.
Real-time speech analytics: Live monitoring allows analysis of a conversation as it unfolds. At its simplest, it can send alerts to supervisors if it detects potential issues, such as a conflict or deviation from compliance requirements. More advanced systems can help agents with tiny suggestions and prompts. At its most advanced, it can recognize recurring customers and reference past interactions automatically, whether through voice patterns or drawing from previous text data.
Post-call analytics: Once the call has ended, managers can evaluate the interaction against predefined metrics, anything from the efficiency of issue resolution to script adherence. In addition, overall trends can more easily be identified by aggregating data from numerous calls, and most advanced solutions can register all of this in the CRM. It also offers opportunities for training — managers can gather examples of scenarios where agents excelled or could have done better.
Benefits of Call Center Voice Analytics
Call center voice analytics and speech analytics, of course, come at a small cost — although they are becoming standard on more advanced systems. However, as noted above, they have major benefits — especially when used as part of a multimedia contact center that incorporates voice and text as well as audio.
Ultimately, most of the benefits come through enhanced customer satisfaction. If agents can identify signs of stress and agitation at an earlier stage, they can de-escalate situations more effectively, turning a potential lost customer into a satisfied one. Understanding tone, sentiment and content helps with this, and live prompts provide actions that can help mitigate customer negativity.
“One of the biggest challenges facing contact centers is the identification of core customer pain points,” observes Elena. “Ultimately, a customer who uses a contact center wants to make some sort of change because they have a pain point — whether they are alleviating it through a transaction or want to make a change to a current service. Rapid identification of that pain point through call center voice analytics can only benefit businesses.”
This flows into improved agent performance and training. Real-time feedback allows changes in behavior quickly through rapid automated interventions, and it can prevent small problems from turning into larger ones. The result: improved compliance and quality assurance, as managers can now monitor every call for adherence to standards.
Finally, training is much easier. Contact center staff get a platform that can help them automatically improve, and real-time feedback within the call helps prevent catastrophic mistakes. All this helps improve operational efficiency, reduce staff turnover and ensure that high performers are rewarded.
“Our vision of a contact center is no longer limited to voice calls but extending that functionality to messaging and meetings,” states Elena. “Today’s customers need to interact with businesses in the most suitable way for them and in a language that speaks to them. For instance, with millennials and Gen Z, a voice call is not their preferred way of communication. So with our AI insights and analytics, we cover all kinds of customer interactions, giving a comprehensive view, not leaving anything out.”
Key Features to Look for in Speech Analytics Software
We’ve already covered many of the core features that you should look for in speech analytics software:
- Real-time monitoring
- Real-time alerts
- Voice-to-text call transcriptions
- Prompts and hints through AI
- Integrations with other contact center software
But the most important is to ensure you have detailed reporting and data visualization tools.
“What really differentiates one system from another is often not the underlying solution but how well that solution generates meaningful reports,” says Elena. “These contact center speech analytics reports must be easy to understand, simple to compare and enjoy rapid access — and Wildix reporting tools do just that. You don’t just need to know any one metric; you need a comprehensive view. If reports cannot be made easily, managers will go back to relying on gut instinct, and that can be disastrous for a modern contact center.”
Making the Investment: Deciding on the Right Voice Analytics Software
The right contact center solution for you needs to incorporate a great underlying telephony system. Integrating voice analytics software into that system should be simple — and ideally, it should be already integrated.
“The roadmap for x-bees includes AI-driven prompts,” notes Elena. “These are already being tested and refined to ensure we have a reliable and useful system that can heavily aid call center managers and staff alike. Simple things such as transcriptions, speech analysis and meeting summaries that can be automatically uploaded into a CRM, such as Salesforce or Hubspot, through our integrations help improve efficiency and ensure compliance.”
When it comes to innovative development, Wildix gets it right each time. From being the first to create a full UCaaS solution based on WebRTC to delivering support for the Apple Vision Pro virtual reality headset before any competitor, it’s a beacon of novel solutions that help partners differentiate themselves from other MSPs.
“Using AI to produce powerful call center voice analytics helps make life much more efficient,” concludes Elena. “That efficiency translates to real cost benefits for call centers and can help maintain or even improve reputations for customer service. While you will never be able to please every customer every time, speech analytics tools make it easier to help the swing cases that need careful handling and deliver a reputation for results — creating impressive ROI from the right solution.”
Call Center Voice Analytics Summarized
The role of AI will provide a huge range of benefits for contact centers, and those that do not adopt these technologies will quickly find themselves at a disadvantage. Solutions such as x-bees as a sales communication channel can incorporate advanced technologies through continuous development, and a multifaceted approach to establishing customer contact through voice, text and video humanizes the contact center. These technologies will quickly become mandatory, so both partners and businesses must be ready to embrace them.
If you’re interested in learning more about what you need to look for in a call center, explore our 2018 blog post on increasing call center productivity.
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