Speech analytics for improved customer service

October 9, 2008 • Enterprise

The use of speech analytics in a contact centre environment is fairly widespread, but its use in a post-call survey is a new application with important benefits for companies wanting to raise the bar in customer service.

Speech analytics is able to detect a customer’s mood, monitor his/her tone and react to key words (e.g. swear words). “By using speech analytics in a post-call survey, the contact centre can automatically detect how that customer is feeling – not necessarily from the content of their responses, but from the tone”, says Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence’s regional sales director for UK and Africa.

If the contact centre decides that the customer is upset, it can be programmed to transfer the call immediately to a team leader or supervisor who can deal with the problem there and then. This is revolutionary for problem resolution.

Even without speech analytics, post-call surveys have gone a long way to help companies get a realistic view on customer satisfaction levels. A survey of 362 companies conducted by Bain & Company in the US in 2006 revealed a startling incongruity. Companies were asked if they were delivering a superior service, and 80% replied “yes”. Their customers were asked if they were receiving a superior service and 8% replied “yes”.

Over the past few years, contact centres have woken up to the fact that they need to do more to get an accurate view of their customers’ experience of their service. As technology has advanced, companies are choosing post-call surveys over mailed questionnaires and follow-up calls as they have a relatively high response rate – 10-15% versus 2% in mailed surveys – they are cheap to implement, and companies can get the results quickly.

But while post-call surveys enable the company to get a view on service areas that could be improved, as well as input into agent training that may be required, the customer who received the bad service is still leaving the contact centre with a problem.

With the use of speech analytics in a post-call survey, the company still gets the feedback on areas for improvement, and is also empowered to take active steps to change a customer’s experience from a bad one to a good one.

“Another benefit for using speech analytics in post-call surveys is that contact centres can completely customise their post-call survey settings to take an action appropriate to their organisation. Some vendors offer a self-configuration option using a set-up wizard, so it is not necessary for the contact centre to call out a technician every time that want to change their post-call survey”, says Paulding.

For companies wanting to change the dynamics in their customer relations and raise the bar customer satisfaction, speech analytics in post-call surveys is a critical step.

About Dave Paulding

With more than 12 years of enterprise software experience, Dave Paulding serves as Regional Sales Director, UK & Africa for Interactive Intelligence. He joined the company in March 2003 and currently leads the sales operation across South Africa and the emerging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to Interactive Intelligence, Dave was Enterprise Sales Manager for divine Solutions, a leading provider of web based collaboration and contact centre technology.

In addition, Dave has held a number of other executive roles during his career at eShare Technologies and Melita International.

Recognised as an contact centre industry thought leader, Dave frequently contributes articles to leading trade journals and is a regular speaker at industry events.

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