Blog
27th March 2017

By Jon Seddon – GCI’s Head of Product Management.

Whilst watching a demo of some clever new speech analytics from Enghouse last week, it got me wondering about how much this type of technology is going to change our workplace, or indeed has already started to change how we interact with businesses. To answer that I did a bit of research…

It’s fair to say that growth is accelerating across the speech and voice recognition marketplaces and it’s being spearheaded by the banking and finance sectors. Last year, several leading banks rolled out technology to drive enhanced ID verification. Barclays introduced voice security for all customers; First Direct launched a new voice recognition system enabling customers to access their accounts by simply speaking… and HSBC too introduced voice and touch ID support to mobile customers.

This approach delivers enhanced security and customer convenience. Yet, it’s really just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ regarding what this technology can deliver. Voice recognition and call recording applications are rapidly evolving into full-blown speech analytics, and this fast-emerging new solution set can help organisations across all sectors to do much more than just identify someone and secure their ID.

Solutions can, for example, support compliance & dispute resolution by helping ensure agents adhere to a script, ensure too that they have delivered all mandatory phrases in every interaction… and that the contract between provider and customer is preserved intact.

In mortgage negotiations, for example, the smallest wording error could potentially invalidate the contract. Speech analytics software can help by ensuring the correct words are used. Moreover, speech recognition software can help in fraud detection by instantly recognising the voices of known fraudsters and escalating calls to an appropriate person. That’s tangible progress!

The latest Real Time Speech Analytics (RTSA) solutions, however, can go beyond this by monitoring and adjusting the emotional content of interactions. They can, for example, identify cross-talking or changes in tone, while gauging the ‘speech ratio balance’, call volumes and stress levels. Data can be examined to see what behaviours align to deliver optimum results, enabling agents to adjust their approach accordingly.

Additionally, RTSA systems offer an onscreen agent checklist for every call and key indicators, providing live warnings that help agents remain compliant. By delivering live feedback, RTSA improves performance while increasing training efficiency by enabling agents to self-coach.

Customers Reaping the Rewards

Customers also gain from the new speech analytics solutions. Most people want to get what they want from an organisation as quickly and easily as possible. This is an area where speech analytics excels.

Not only can it do the easier work (like removing the need for individuals to manually key in their PIN) it can do more complex things like listening in the background and retrieving information. Say, for example, a customer phones a fridge manufacturer to complain that their fridge is not working properly, speech analytics software has the capability to recognise their voice… listen in… hear the customer give their model number, and then quickly pull up support information for the relevant advisor.

Putting it in Context

This new focus on speech analytics is of course only part of the broader digital revolution that’s happening all around us as businesses try to keep up with the power in our wallets. Computers, chat bots, robots, artificial intelligence – in whatever form automated technology is applied, its level of functionality is growing day-by-day.

That’s not to say that the kind of automated future that speech analytics heralds will eliminate the need for any human involvement. Take for example those scenarios that consultancy firm McKinsey calls ‘moments of truth’, those few occasions (for example a lost credit card, a sudden flight cancellation or a damaged delivery) when customers invest high levels of emotional energy in the outcome of the engagement. On theses occasions, many people would still prefer to speak to a live agent (a human) who can better empathise with their predicament and has the emotional intelligence to calm things down… and make life better.

It’s undeniable, however, that while humans will remain crucial to customer service, automated technologies will be increasingly prevalent in supporting their efforts. RTSA is one of the most flexible and versatile of those technologies and I expect it to have a bright future ahead in the contact centre and the broader customer service business arena.

If you want to know more about what these exciting development can do in your organisation, please give us a call and we can arrange a demo. Also look out for or forthcoming Webinar: ‘The Changing Face of the Contact Centre’.