Benefits of Speech Analytics for Customer Support Call Centers

Speech analytics is at the forefront of the corporate push to make intelligence gained from Big Data not only valuable but actionable in real-time. Speech analytics offers the ability to create meaningful voice data and interaction trends to help companies improve services, reduce costs, and grow revenue in their contact center and other business areas.

Originally called audio-mining, in which audio files were converted to text to enable searches of specific words or phrases, speech analytics now involves in-depth searches based on phonetics with the ability to detect certain emotions expressed on a phone call as well as trends within a call, such as hold times, silent patches, or agents talking over a caller. With new technologies, such as real-time speech analytics, emotional analytics and AI, contact centers can create better customer experiences. According to an Opus Research Survey, an overwhelming 72% companies believe that speech analytics can lead to improved customer experience, 68% regard it as a cost saving mechanism, 52% respondents trust that speech analytics deployment can lead to revenue enhancement.

Research by DMG Consulting indicates that speech analytics in call centers pays for itself in less than one year, and Techtarget reports that it pays for itself in as little as three months. So it’s no surprise that businesses are adopting speech analytics at a healthy rate. In fact, the market has grown from a mere 24 customers in 2003 to more than 3.5 million in 2015—around 20% of businesses that have contact centers. And adoption is increasing as technology improves, with up to 36% of businesses that do not use speech analytics saying they plan to implement it in the near future.

Benefits of Speech Analytics Contact Centers

Speech analytics is particularly relevant and useful to businesses operating call centers because they enable them to extract crucial information out of unstructured data from customer interactions, identify patterns and take action to improve what they are selling or the way they are selling it.

Improve the Customer Experience

Improving the customer experience is one of the main reasons companies deploy speech analytics technology in the first place. Speech analytics software helps mine and analyze audio data, detecting things like emotion, tone and stress in a customer’s voice; the reason for the call; satisfaction; the products mentioned; and more. Speech analytics tools can also identify if a customer is getting upset or frustrated. Users can quickly identify a customer’s needs, wants and expectations, and gauge how to best address any issues.

Cost Savings

Broadly speaking, speech analytics projects can deliver return on investment via a variety of contributions that reduce costs and increase revenue. ContactBabel has listed the following in their The Inner Circle Guide to Speech Analytics’:

  • Reduction in headcount from automation of call monitoring and compliance checking.
  • Avoidance of fines and damages for non-compliance.
  • Reduction in call volumes after understanding why customers are calling, and acting to optimize any broken processes elsewhere in the organization (e.g. website, marketing, distribution, etc.) that are causing these calls.
  • Reduction in cost of unnecessary callbacks after improving first-call resolution rates.
  • Avoidance of live calls that can be handled by better IVR or website self-service.
  • Reduced cost of quality assurance and monitoring.
  • Lower cost per call through shortened handle times and fewer transfers.
  • Lower new staff attrition rates and recruitment costs through early identification of specific training requirements.

Revenue Enhancement – Identify Upsell/Cross-Sell Opportunities

Another benefit to delivering immediate feedback is that it can provide agents with a distinct advantage in cross and up-sell efforts. As outlined in the Aberdeen research, agents can “leverage customer data captured during a call to identify a specific product or service they can offer to the same client during the call, which allows them to deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time.” By analyzing which conversations lead to more sales and what makes your top sellers so successful, it is possible to find the most effective patterns to close a deal and develop a coaching program to improve your agents’ selling techniques as well as reduce missed opportunities.

It helps in increase in revenue through:

  • Increase in sales conversion rates and values based on dissemination of best practice.
  • Increase in promise-to-pay ratios (debt collection).
  • Optimized marketing messages through instant customer evaluation.
  • Reduced customer churn through dynamic screen-pop and real-time analytics tailoring calls to the customer.
  • Quicker response to new competitor and pricing information.

Improvement in Operations

It brings improvements in the operating performance of a department, reduced Average Handle Time, call deflection, first call resolution, transfers, etc. Implementing an analytics system can actually help to reinvigorate stagnant operations through an emphasis on improved performance.

Speech analytics truly represents a revolution in the field of quality monitoring for contact centers. It improves upon all areas of manual monitoring, particularly those that carry with them inherent deficiencies. Analytics evaluators review all calls against a well-defined set of employee skills, producing unbiased actionable information that management and Quality Management teams can then use to identify opportunities where overall performance can be improved to produce higher customer satisfaction rates and significant as well as near-immediate revenue increases.

Promoting Customer Loyalty & Retention

Identifying and reducing the number of at-risk customers. Speech analytics can detect trends based on programmed key words, phrases, requests, even emotions, in real time or by sifting through a library of past calls. It can tell you which agents are talking over the customers, thereby not really listening to the customer, and it can tell you – frequently in real time – what issues are popping up in the call center. But as far as listening to the customer, you can go back and search all those calls for certain words, products, services, locations, discussions of price, discussions of quality – you can literally hear what your customers are saying about the topics that you need actionable business intelligence on.

Speech analytics truly represents a revolution in the field of quality monitoring for contact centers. It improves upon all areas of manual monitoring, particularly those that carry with them inherent deficiencies. Analytics evaluators review all calls against a well-defined set of employee skills, producing unbiased actionable information that management and Quality Management teams can then use to identify opportunities where overall performance can be improved to produce higher customer satisfaction rates and significant as well as near-immediate revenue increases.

Identify Compliance & Risk Issues

Speech Analytics can automatically score every single call against your compliance criteria in real time and can analyse and score all calls for selling opportunities achieved and missed. It also allows for greater learning opportunities for your agents as immediate feedback can be requested following a flagged call for poor performance or compliance risk. Speech Analytics can reduce compliance costs significantly by focusing your compliance team on the high risk or low quality calls in the business rather than spending time looking for those needles in haystacks. Because you subscribe to high ethical standards and understand the value of customer relationships, in all likelihood your business rules and training procedures are already in compliance with federal laws and regulations. However, that does not mean that there won’t be individual transgressions. Individual agents, under pressure to meet productivity goals or inattention to training sessions, may inadvertently fail to make necessary disclosures or reveal protected private information. Violations can be costly. Beyond financial penalties damaged corporate reputations may result in longer lasting harm. Speech Analytics will identify calls that may represent potential violations. You will then listen to these calls to identify specific issues. The results will be used as training tools to help assure that agents are completely familiar with requirements, fine-tune scripts so they are easier to recite over the phone, and program your e-learning system to provide prompts to help assure that agents provide the required disclosures.

For example, in the Asset Recovery Market (ARM), during debt collection calls agents are required to read a “mini Miranda” paragraph to called parties or voice messaging systems. Failure to do so can result in fines and lawsuits. With Speech Analytics, companies can now listen to all calls for compliance and aggregate that data in an analytics environment.

KPIs That Can Be Improved Using Speech Analytics Data

Speech Analytics impacts Key Performance Indicators in the contact center by recognizing patterns that might lead to best practices. It helps answer the overarching question, “Where is the real intelligence coming from?” On every call, there are key moments for key content, regardless of the length of each call. By searching content at those special moments, Speech Analytics helps achieve true “Customer Insight.

Average Handle Time

Average handle time is the time from when an agent answers a call until the agent disconnects. It is one of the most commonly analyzed KPIs in the call center industry as it is directly related to caller satisfaction. Long calls can add to costs in the contact center. If they are justified, such as when agents with typically longer calls produce higher revenue per call, that is fine. However, sometimes longer calls result from agents having poor attitudes or perhaps lacking sufficient knowledge. Similarly, short AHTs also might indicate agents are more concerned with handling calls quickly and are not taking the time to handle the transaction properly or solve the customer’s issue, which has a direct impact on the Customer Experience. Speech Analytics can also determine if a proliferation of calls with short AHTs might be a result of customers calling in with simple requests or transactions that might be better served through a self-service option. In essence, Speech Analytics categorizes each type of call, and through root-cause analysis, can determine what a reasonable length of time might be for each call category. Speech Analytics also can compare current call durations to those that have taken place historically, thus identifying salient issues and reasons for disparities. Ultimately, the calls that are resolved in an efficient manner and timeframe might provide the training department with examples of best practice.

Check and Mend Service Level

This metric is crucial for effectively managing your call center and to deliver good customer experience. It is defined as the percentage of calls answered within a specified number of seconds. Call center managers should ensure that they track this call center KPI very closely as it measures how well you let the customers get in to your contact center and how you handle him/her so that it leads to long-lasting customer satisfaction and loyalty. The automation and acceleration of the process of scanning recorded call content (100 percent of calls can be quickly mined and relevant information extracted), is a key benefit. Many executives are looking for just such a solution that enables them to manage an often daunting influx of data while extracting key insights and intelligence from the data onrush. Using the right technology, companies can access the hidden intelligence and insights from large volumes of data, find critical areas of agent performance issues, and tap into the “actual voice” of their customers. Speech analytics help organizations to identify the reason behind customer’s dissatisfaction and to utilize the opportunity to make necessary changes for improving the repeat customer rate. Also, the improved service quality will result in happy customers giving them fewer reasons for defection.

First-Call Resolution

Speech Analytics also has helped ascertain that wherever organizations have identified repeat calls as a problem, being more specific with customers can help agents bring about better results. For example, if analysis uncovers an issue originating in the back office, agents can take that information and help decrease the number of call-backs by establishing the proper expectations with customers. Or perhaps an automated message could be added to an IVR that helps reduce the number of calls coming to agents in the first place. Through the identification of repeat callers, and the subsequent resolution of the triggers to those calls, First-Call Resolution can be improved. Many companies that incorporated speech analytics as part of their FCR strategies have reported improvements of 8 to 10 percent simply by correcting how their agents respond. In fact, just the awareness of speech analytics can change agent behavior. Prior to deployment, one organization’s customer callback rate was nearly 8 percent. Once agents knew that all their interactions were being monitored and evaluated through speech analytics, the rate dropped closer to 3 percent.

Contact Quality

It is usually measured by recording and monitoring the calls answered by the agents. Call center managers evaluate the calls on the quality of interaction an agent had with the customer. It basically checks:

  • If the agent greeted the customer properly
  • How courteous or professional the agent was during the call
  • If the agent captured key customer data
  • If the customer was provided with correct and relevant information

Script Compliance or Improvement

One business objective that speech analytics provides insights for is ensuring script compliance. Especially in highly regulated industries, call center agents must be very meticulous and adhere to the approved script when dealing with sensitive information. By utilizing a speech analytics solution, managers are able to mine calls to ensure that agents are properly following the script and performing at a high level.

While ensuring script compliance is often a top priority, call center managers can take it one step further and use the data to also improve call center scripts.

Reduced Repeat Calls

Speech analytics help in reducing costs by giving organizations the insight to reduce repeat call volume. Reducing repeat calls not only reduces overall call volume but at the same time leads to greater customer satisfaction. Through speech analytics, the data captured can be used towards providing first call resolution. With this, the total count of repeat callers will decrease leading to improvement in efficiency levels and reduction in cost per call.

Effective Training Program

Call center managers can use speech analytics to monitor the conversation between customers and call center agents. Speech analytics is a powerful tool to unlock insights as it allows managers to understand the behaviour of top performers to the laggards. The insights can be used in building strategies for coaching agents towards providing first call resolution with improved levels of satisfaction.

Seamless Customer Journey

The data gathered through speech analytics can be utilized to derive specific conclusions regarding customers’ feelings and the required actions to be taken at the time of call. Also routing customers to the right department is one of the major factors behind customer retention as the chances of getting resolution in the first call increases. These real-time triggers can help the contact center run more efficiently and improve information workflows.


According to industry experts, speech analytics is one of the fastest growing areas of the contact centre technology market, and with good reasons. Right now, recorded phone conversation is probably the #1 Most Underused Resource companies have in studying the customer experience and using what they learn to improve customer loyalty. Using speech analytics, you can zero in on your top business concerns, find out what customers’ top concerns are, what’s making them mad, what’s causing them to leave, and do something about it. In an extremely competitive world, the future doesn’t necessarily belong to the businesses shouting loudest, but perhaps to those that can truly listen to their customers and learn from it to deliver outstanding service. Entering its second technology generation, speech analytics is the most mature of the analytical applications used in contact centers. It is helping enterprise leaders appreciate the value that contact centers bring to the entire organization. Companies that have put in place processes that enable them to apply the findings from speech analytics on a timely basis are realizing great returns.


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