Agents versus robots: part 2 – Return of the Jedi

In a previous blog we talked at length about how robots are infiltrating our world and supposedly solving customer problems, queries and reducing operational costs.

In my humble opinion, most of today’s customer automation is frustratingly poor.

Admittedly, there are scenarios where self-service plays a role in 100 per cent-productised customer journeys, but as soon as there is any complexity, nuance, or anomaly to the request that is outside of the standard operating procedure, things go wrong.

It must be said that humans are amazing. Our ability to listen, assimilate multi-threaded and dependency questions, ascertain emotional dynamics and, ultimately, comprehend is phenomenal. We are a way off seeing a digital service that can fully compete with a human.

Today, there is a new wave of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a shining new lightsaber for agents; the Force that gives businesses an overwhelming financial advantage. We are now entering the world of the Jedi agent, the agent with AI-powered augmented assistance that transforms compliance, first-call resolution (FCR), sales, CX and C-SAT.

What is this Force and how do I get Jedi agents?
The dichotomy for customer service, sales and contact centre OPS professionals for the past five years has been automating customer interaction versus utilising the human service. Finding a balance that delivers on cost, skill, resource, knowledge, customer value, brand and more has been a challenge.

Now enter the trichotomy.

  1.  Automate the customer interaction
  2.  Automate (Jedi) agent assistance
  3.  Pure unassisted human

Number 2 is new, powerful and easy to deploy and truly transformational to service and cost.

Rather than start with what it is, let us consider the use cases and outcomes. We break these down into three areas:

By automating two minutes of post-call wrap-up across 500 agents taking 40 calls each per day, a business could save approximately £3.7 million a year.

If all agents have real-time prompts and advice, FCR can increase by 20 per cent, CX and C-SAT will improve more than 30 per cent. By pre-briefing agents via automated call summary, actions and sentiment from any previous interaction, there will be no non-compliant calls.

How can you achieve this? Well, nothing needs to change. This new technology easily and simply complements the incumbent system, whether that is Genesys, Avaya, Mitel, 8×8, Five9, AWS-Connect.

In short, Agent Assist technology will acquire your customer interactions from your switch, Session Boarder Controller (SBC), chat server or video server, in real time. It will transcribe in high definition so that all brand terms and unique product or service names are captured accurately. Then, it will process the conversations for intent, quality and action and propose real-time prompts or content to the agent who is assisting in the transaction. Auto summarisation will remove work for the agent, distilling a perfect brief for the next interaction. Agent Assist will also track compliance requirements within the call or chat session so that no call is left before the appropriate steps are taken.

It is estimated that more than 70 per cent of automated journeys end up back at the agent. Today’s robot is a glorified music-on-hold, pretending to add value and reduce cost, but negatively impacting CX and C-SAT.

Business justifications for investments of £1 million in older bot technology were that they would save £4 million in staff costs. Realistically, they save £1 million maximum. Breaking even is a long way off and ruined by added customer frustration and eroding service metrics.

Isn’t it time you tried the lightsaber? Available in red, blue or green.

Part 1 of Robot vs humans can be found here.

For more information, please contact contexta360.com

 

3 Reasons your customer service agent’s well-being is broken and how to fix it

Call centre customer engagements tend to follow a set path and process. This runs along the lines of a recommended workflow, opening, discovery, suggestions, summarisation and a customer satisfaction survey.

While some contact centres are adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help them to unify their processes and assist in call handling, there are still many that are plodding along without AI.

Without AI, these contact centres can completely miss interactions of concern that affect an agent’s well-being. These are the types of interactions where the amount of negative sentiment and cross talk, and the number of cancellation risks, are above average.

If we consider that a medium-sized contact centre has potentially more than 3,000 unsatisfied engagements every month, that is more than 3,000 interactions that are difficult to deal with and more than 3,000 potential calls where agents will need to remain calm and communicate in a friendly and positive manner with highly irate customers. This is an extremely challenging situation for agents, who are having to empathise with and educate the customer while trying to elicit positive sentiment and a good resolution.

  1. Empathy is the pathway to trustworthiness

Contact centres use escalation protocols that provide guidelines on managing dissatisfied customers. These are conversational guides to direct and steer agents to better understand the needs of the customer. They also provide handling guidance to help agents to identify needs, resolutions and mea culpa (whose fault).

So, what is missing? Many of these processes are essential and are focused on the annoyance level of customers’ complaints and escalations. Pressure is placed on the agent to recover difficult situations, and this often results in agents working outside of company protocol. These incidents can result in the customer taking to social media with a not-so-factually-accurate post, in a blatant attempt to shame the organisation into giving the customer what they want. Again, unpicking this situation takes human intervention to resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction and can be emotionally draining, particularly if the agent does not feel they are being assisted or protected by company protocol.

The importance of an agent’s holistic wellness is well-documented and impacts their overall health, their outlook and attitude, job satisfaction, motivation and enthusiasm. Therefore, emotional well-being levels should be measured regularly. Knowing and understanding the emotional state of your agents is critical to the health of your business and ensures that your customer-satisfaction levels remain above average. This will ensure your customers trust your organisation.

  1. Onboarding is not an operational instruction manual

Taking care of agent’s emotional well-being really matters. Emotionally healthy agents are able to manage a good work-life balance. They can work within a range of emotions, without losing control, while they operate and interact with all customer types and engage in a positive, friendly and patient manner. This is essential to achieving a great customer experience and NLP Score.

Post lockdown, agents are dealing with customers who are vocalising more-intense negative emotions. This places agents under pressure to satisfy customers’ needs. To protect agents, organisations need to put measures in place to capture the emotional well-being of their agents more quickly. This will protect their human resource investment, keeping agents onside and raising their morale. Many organisations still prioritise the onboarding of new agents over the emotional well-being of incumbent agents. Such organisations have a high agent attrition rate and low NPS score. This practice is counterproductive as the cost of continuously recruiting and onboarding new employees far outweighs the cost of adding agent sentiment analysis to the mix and retaining more of their existing agents.

  1. Engagement well-being is a two-way street

Demanding customer engagements leave negative footprints. Many organisations fall back on measuring sentiment, satisfaction and NPS surveys to rate experience and behaviour  rather than looking at product, processes and people. In many cases, friction or conversation control behaviour can be detected much earlier than post-call surveys. Automated well-being insights measure and monitor agent health via employee insights, fast talk, cross talk, sentiment and frustration. Every agent engagement can be analysed and flagged immediately, which helps agents who need support to deal with the most demanding customers and maintain control of the call.

With AI-driven insights, a customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) improvement culture, which focuses on proactively managing all customer and employee experiences, is possible. It efficiently links 100 per cent of customer contacts to service success. This assists leaders to rapidly and effectively anticipate the needs of the customers or agents who express dissatisfaction or experience excessive friction and effort. This, in turn, contributes to an organisation’s CX strategy and change management success programmes.

For more information, please contact contexta360.com

 

How sentiment and emotional intelligence can help you navigate towards CX success

Many service centres believe they have adequate analytics that span performance, interaction and behaviour insights. Sadly, some of these businesses are not making full use of their analytical capabilities and are missing opportunities to alleviate CX friction and customer engagement issues. Indicators of customer engagement and effort give a business information that can help it to improve first-time contact resolution, handling times and outcomes, and the cost-per-engagement ratio.

Alleviating friction and improving customer engagement will improve customer satisfaction scores and heighten customer loyalty. Many contact centres attempt to gather customer satisfaction insights via the internal escalation process or a postal survey feedback route. Both approaches mainly result in responses at the extreme ends of the spectrum, from 5-star review one-liners such as “great service”, at one end, to the sharing of single engagement frustrations with comments such as “this company is bad” on all social channels, at the other.

Many contact centre leaders overlook emotional intelligence as an insight, or merely have a CX strategy driven by first-hand contentment analysis. However, a customer-centric culture and CX strategy benefits from a broader scope of AI-driven sentiment analysis to define the impact of behaviour and emotion, measuring degrees of emotion from all customer engagements. This involves tailoring experience programmes using comprehensive Customer Engagement Management (CEM) with AI emotional intelligence rather than just people, product and process feedback.

Are customer channels of choice delivering by expectation?

Looking after your customers does not stop with offering omnichannel engagement data that only measures a “first time right” success metric. The way forward is to create an Experience Management Analysis hub as an AI CX-centric insight overlay across channels. This will consistently measure customer success without the need for calibration across various platform data sources or the alignment of insight methodologies.

Many customer engagement platforms already have reporting and dashboard capabilities that measure performance figures, but they lack a complete customer-centric journey view. This restricts them to developing an all-channel CX-insight methodology to enable a consistent means of measuring of satisfaction and loyalty.

Using an AI CX-insight overlay model moves away from having several embedded platform reporting outlooks that feel a bit like marking your own homework. Autonomous AI data-driven insights that visualise journey data enable the CX transformation programme across all channels and vastly improves the customer’s experience.

Is risk mitigation part of your success strategy?

Customer experience management is a data-driven exercise that keeps a CX radar on measurable performance and satisfaction indicators. These are the things that you need to know about to identify if something needs your attention. Many of these insights are focused on a daily operation model and based upon experiences you expect to happen or have previously seen as part of your services and business procedures.

Operationally, this approach often lacks a more flexible satisfaction strategy to deal with customer service emergencies. Using AI-driven technology enables deeper layers of insights about upcoming events, rising discontentment, or campaign launch successes. Automatically finding these patterns will be an essential part of steering satisfaction results.

Creating a mechanism that can mitigate business risks as soon as they occur will have a significant impact on damage limitation. Creating awareness of upcoming or new patterns provides robust CEM with lasting impact, especially when the interaction is due to a negative customer experience. This is absolutely something you need to know about every time it occurs within your service centre operations.

With AI-driven insights, you can realise a CX improvement culture that focuses on proactively managing all customer experiences and linking them to the desired success output. By paying active and effective attention, anticipating more quickly which customers express dissatisfaction or experience unnecessary friction and effort, you will gain insights that will help your business to continuously monitor and improve its CX strategy.

For more information about how Contexta360 can help you improve your CX, please contact us.

Five signs you have a broken process and what to do about it

The contact centre is customers’ main doorway to an organisation – and it is often presented as a giving a great customer experience, with the brand promise of caring and friendly staff, and an open and transparent philosophy. Sadly, for many, the customer experience doesn’t match the hype. This is where broken processes are letting businesses down badly.

It never ceases to surprise me how many businesses fail to recognise broken processes. While many are easy to spot, there are other broken processes that are much more subtle and more difficult to identify. It is no wonder that many contact centres are not aware that they even have them. I often speculate about how many revenue, customer and staff losses are attributed to hidden broken processes.

In this blog, I highlight five examples of broken processes in the contact centre.

1. Inconsistent data records

This is generally brought about by data and workflows not being integrated. Basically, the information gained is not being propagated to process management. This is a big danger area for many contact centres. Warning: this is one that will come back to bite you later.

Here is an example: a customer calls in to say that their parcel did not arrive, which gets dealt with by a member of staff in isolation. The problem gets resolved, but there is little or no understanding of why the problem occurred and no feedback loop to prevent it happening again. The solution is to have a well-documented and automated process for updating systems of record with newly obtained information, this will provide consistent levels of information throughout the business.

2. Long call-queue times

Long queue times are one of the biggest areas of concern in the contact centre and can be a huge contributor to customer frustration and churn. Identifying the root cause is almost certain to show that you have one or more broken processes. Are your staffing levels adequate? Are your staff properly trained? By analysing conversational data, combined with workforce and knowledge management, you will gain valuable insights into what is causing your long queue times.

3. Repeat callers

Your organisation may have spent time and effort to document processes and make that documentation available to your agents in a knowledge base. In theory, the knowledge base is intended to guide your agents through every customer call so that every issue is handled consistently. Unfortunately, this is often a manual process that can be slow. Every time an agent goes to the knowledge base, they must search for the information they need, read through the instructions and interpret how best to proceed, and usually while the customer waits on hold. Even the most comprehensive knowledge bases are inefficient and increase the likelihood for error. By automating your knowledge-base searches based on the conversation, you can deliver the relevant knowledge to steer your agents in real time, resulting in a more efficient, faster and more consistent delivery of information. Getting your customers the right information, first time, will significantly reduce the need for them to call back.

4. Manual processes

Businesses have a lot of manual processes, whether in customer service, fulfilment or logistics. We still use a pen and paper to take notes and write down instructions or even solutions to the problems that we have just resolved. However, what do we do with those pieces of paper? How do we get what we have just learnt, or maybe even fixed, back into the knowledge base? We can get all our pieces of paper together at the end of the day and manually update our systems of record, but we often do not. There is rarely time during the working day to do that and when the day is done so are we, resulting in everything we have learnt going nowhere. Automated conversational transcription or summary can be used to automatically document some or all the conversations and insert that summary or transcription into your CRM or system of record, meaning the information is available in the future. It can also be used to update your process management system, enabling processes to be automatically updated.

5. Survey results

Increasingly, businesses are turning to surveys to try to gauge how well they are doing, as well as highlighting areas for improvement. These may be collected traditionally or via social media sites. Information received could be gleaned from questions and answers or from frustrated comments. This can certainly indicate when something is not working. Being able to harness this information in real time or near real time will enable you to gain understanding and make fast changes before matters escalate, and will allow you to optimise your processes.

In summary, while I could continue with another 50 broken processes that businesses are missing, I hope that these will provide clues to where to target and probe a little deeper to uncover your broken processes.

Contexta360 is a broken-process expert. Our aim is to help businesses navigate and build better processes through conversational intelligence and AI-fuelled analytics.

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more.

10 signs you are in control of your customer service strategy

 

To be in control of a customer service strategy, you must measure how successful your customer service is.

The good news is that most businesses do measure their customer service success: from Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to Customer Satisfaction (C-SAT); from First Call Resolution (FCR) to Customer Effort Scores (CES); as well as churn and full-blown Customer Experience (CX) surveys. Good news then, we must be in control of our respective customer service strategies. Let us give ourselves pat on the back all around.

But hold on. In many cases I see customer service strategy being used as an umbrella term, when in fact any measurement being done is only a review of a small subset of the whole customer experience. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked to rate an agent or bot service with questions about timeliness, politeness and did they understand my question or concern, all of which are regularly 10/10. But were they able to solve my problem or answer my question? No, rating: 1/10.

It is a bit like my taxi driver asking me if his car is comfortable, smooth and the air is the right temperature, but taking me around the block in circles for an hour when I need to get to the airport. He needs to: 1. turn up on time, 2. in a suitable vehicle, 3. drive well and safely and, critically, 4. know where I want to go and how to get there. Measuring one part of the supply chain is somewhat pointless and damaging.

True customer service strategy is a big deal and complex. It must be integrated into the whole product or services that you provide. This could be a major career opportunity for you if you are dealing with fractional customer service. Owners of service strategy need to have a seat at the corporate strategy table and the data to back up any strategic changes that are needed.

Service strategy metrics differ greatly in pre-sales, service and support scenarios and, depending on your business sector, you are highly likely to need independent customer service strategy metrics for each scenario to track performance accurately and automatically. Again, all of these will be (should be) tied back to corporate business strategies and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Objective and Key Results (OKRs).

Another critical indicator is how you capture and process data. I see so many engagements where that data is flawed at source. Critical service moments are moments that matter: escalations, churn moments and up-sell moments. We must get the raw data right throughout the supply chain. So many systems of record have out-of-date drop-down options, and IVRs and IVAs that are out of date. Additionally, agents who perform manual data entry may start the day with good intentions to use the right categories/topics/call reasons but, by the end of the day, the quality erodes. Furthermore, much data is not captured at all, for example surveys may capture only 20 per cent of the interactions (the top 10 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent) or capture in free text fields but not as part of any customer strategy data.

In conclusion, to gain control of your service strategy, you should follow these 10 best practices:

  1. Measure the complete whole-product service
  2. Measure 100 per cent of all customer interactions automatically
  3. Link conversational intelligence to transactional records
  4. Have regular interlocks with product management
  5. Automatically detect and track unknown topic detection
  6. Automatically detect broken processes
  7. Automatically track Customer Friction Scores (CFS) across all channels
  8. Measure service impact to revenue
  9. Automate the C-SAT score without a survey
  10. Monitor FCR based on conversational intelligence and AI

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch.

 

Eight actionable CX insights to increase customer success

 

The benefits of speech analytics in customer service are widely documented, but which elements of speech analytics make a difference to customer success?

From the outset, contact centre success needs to be measured correctly. This can be a bone of contention within an organisation when every stakeholder has their own view of what those measures are. While this may appear complex, there are several factors that can provide reliable customer satisfaction, friction and effort ratings. These insights strike a healthy balance between self-service and personal attention. Checks should always be made to ensure that there are no risks or unacceptable behaviours that jeopardise your brand’s reputation. It is important to understand what skills your teams need to build a plan that you can execute consistently and confidently.                                         

Remember that you should use AI analyses that are applicable immediately and that map customer success and contact efficiency to create a strategic CX program.

Here are the questions you need to ask to gain the insights that make your contact centre cost-effectiveness, customer satisfaction and risks manageable.

 

CX insight 1: identify and understand contact reasons

What questions do my customers have? Do customers contact me for reasons I expect? Which contact moments have different questions or interests, and how many of the contact moments do not belong within a (my) service point?

Understanding customer contact reasons will help you to monitor contact centre costs and emerging trends that drain your customer service. You should know precisely what call volumes to expect and be able to intervene fast when the service becomes overloaded or service levels are compromised.

 

CX insight 2: create a framework for efficient handling and resolution

Which of my customers experience resistance while handling their questions? Which customers indicate that they have already been in contact several times? How many of my customers say they want to leave? How many of my employees cannot convince the customer to continue to do business with the company?

By creating a framework for efficient customer handling and contact resolution, you can ensure a smooth customer satisfaction experience, reduce repeat traffic, monitor customer loss, and understand how service teams improve customer retention.

 

CX insight 3: ensure consistent handling within teams

Which interactions with my customers follow the correct procedures? In which interactions is the ID verification performed correctly? Which of my employees refer to the condition and acceptance requirement? How many of my customers do not receive the desired handling conditions for their contact?

Understanding the content of and monitoring every call will help to ensure quality and consistent handling for your customers, guarantee all necessary questions are asked, prevent complaints and procedural errors, and quickly identify where risks or handling procedures are not followed.

 

CX insight 4: monitor customer satisfaction, and act on the underlying causes

Which of your customers express some form of dissatisfaction? Which subjects or events are most often connected to this dissatisfaction? How often does an employee check satisfaction at the end of the call? Which aspects of handling determine a good NPS valuation? How many of my employees use a friendly approach with an active listening ear?

Understanding why dissatisfaction occurs will help you to improve customer satisfaction. Monitoring customer satisfaction will help you to recognise patterns that lead to the best possible balance between efficient trading and personal attention. You can also gain and use insights to take customer appreciation as an NPS to a higher level.

 

CX insight 5: eliminate all effort and friction from your touchpoints and procedures

Discover the causes of longer handling times. What is the underlying reason for (too) long silences during an interaction? How many of your customers indicate that promises made have not been fulfilled? Which customers indicate that a procedure request was unsuccessful or not accepted?

By eliminating effort and friction from your touchpoints, you can make customer service more efficient. You not only need to understand which handling aspects lead to longer talk times, but you should gain insights into which knowledge or application use influences smoother handling of customer questions and interests.

 

CX insight 6: create a culture of first contact resolution

Take a look at which questions are unclear on the website and end up in the service centre. How many customers wait for an expected promise and call back? Which customers report having called before? How many employees ask to be contacted another time or to call another department? How many customers did not get any further with the auto-bot handling and do not feel they have been helped immediately?

By monitoring every customer call and contact, you can see when promises are made and not followed and find ways to enable your employees/customer contact channels to resolve issues on first contact. By ensuring that more customers get the service they need on their first contact, you not only improve customer satisfaction, but you can also reduce the number of calls your contact centre receives, reducing work pressure for your employees.

 

CX insight 7: (auto) evaluate consistently and pay attention to talent coaching

How many of my employees need my direct attention? Which skills are decisive for creating success? Which employees indicate that they have problems with company applications or work-from-home set-ups? How is emotional intelligence used to aid customer retention and good NPS ratings? How can I spend my time more efficiently, and what is the impact of my coaching and education on the business results?

Consistent evaluation will allow you to coach your service talent in the right focus areas and help you to better understand what your top talent does differently. This will enable you to tailor your coaching plan based on a proven result.

 

CX insight 8: eliminate any business and reputation damage and monitor trends

Which risks to your business arise during customer contacts? Which topics do my customers say they find unacceptable? In which conversations do customers indicate that they do not trust the authenticity of the information? Which of the interactions can cause damage to the brand’s reputation?

By monitoring and following trends closely, you can protect your organisation and corporate culture from any form of mistrust, negative social media, or fraud attempts. It will enable you to recognise patterns and stay informed if your customers or employees indicate they do not trust something.

 

Conclusion

With AI-driven insights, you can achieve a CX improvement culture that focuses on managing all customer experiences and linking them to the desired success bandwidth. By paying attention, you can react more quickly and effectively to customers who express dissatisfaction or experience unnecessary friction and effort. These insights should help you continue to monitor and improve your CX strategy and achieve customer success.

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch.

 

 

The future of AI-powered speech analytics: 6 considerations to gain maximum business impact

 

AI-fuelled speech analytics has been around for the past 18 years. Initially, speech analytics was popular with enterprises, who were early adopters of this new technology.

The mid-market businesses followed, with more cost-effective speech analytics platforms that made their way into the stack in contact centres across the globe. Speech analytics today is mainstream, AI-fuelled and feature rich, with businesses seeking to further utilise and extend the use of their platforms to release the many business benefits.

Ultimately, the objective will always be to improve the financials, for example increase the top line, reduce costs and improve profitability.

Today, the business impact of AI-powered speech, chat and text, often called interaction analytics, should not be underestimated. Speech analytics can bring financial improvement if businesses make the most of what it offers. There are six questions you need to ask to ensure AI-powered speech analytics is benefiting your business.

  1. Are you following your Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and is this automated?
  2. Are you finding new insights and opportunities that should amend your SOP and is this automated?
  3. Are you detecting broken processes and is this automated?
  4. Are you augmenting the workload of your staff and is this automated?
  5. Can you truly automate customer interaction without damaging CX/C-SAT/revenue?
  6. Are you mitigating and automating risk, compliance and maximising trust?

Are you following your SOP?

Every company or organisation has a defined SOP process for selling, serving, or supporting its customers or prospects. Some are heavily defined, some less so, but we all have them. One of the challenges is gaining a uniform standard of operations: the height of procedural excellence that covers knowledge, soft skills, process and a myriad of other dynamics. Speech analytics plays a critical role in this field as other data capture mechanisms are either gamed, incomplete, wrongly categorised or just not collected in the first place. Speech analytics and interaction analytics can give you an impartial view of the real voice of the customer and cover 100 per cent of all interactions. This delivers a phenomenal baseline and true visibility in a simple red, amber and green format of how the business functions across all channels whether they are answered by a human or a bot.

Are you finding new insights?

It is a fact of life that humans do not always get it right and the world changes at an alarming pace so, whatever your SOP, you should always be open to changing it. You should have the ability to automatically detect changes to your internal environment (for example product change) or external environment (competitor change) and be notified that this insight changes your SOP. You should know if you are no longer optimised, you are missing sales opportunities or incurring unnecessary costs. Advanced AI-powered speech analytics can automatically unearth unknown and new topics of conversation that do not fit into the drop-down field options and are not part of the defined knowledge set.

Are you detecting broken processes?

This can be lined up with identifying new insights but can also stem from systems failing or integrations and or knowledge not being in sync: the web says X but the IVR routes to Y. This is actually a great example. I recently asked a company what percentage of their calls were routed correctly. They said 93 per cent, which is high, but where did they get this understanding? They said that they extracted the switch CRD record and tracked all transferred call records. There were very few calls transferred. What they did not know was their agents were saying: “You have come through to the wrong department. I could transfer you but trust me it would be quicker if you redial and press 5.” The call was closed, with no transfer, and it was recorded as first call resolved (as far as the agent was concerned, they had solved the problem as the customer was talking to the wrong department).

Are you augmenting the workload?

The workload is not only increasing, but it is also getting more complex and more dependent on real-time solutions. Competitive challenges, pricing, packaging and super-complex delivery supply chains are dramatically impacting businesses. Additionally, we know automation is just scratching the surface in relieving the high-value, high-complexity issues and opportunities, and many of the simple interactions fail and end up with our human agents. Augmentation is a key asset in supporting the agent in high-pressure workload environments. Speech analytics assists in automating call classification, auto-summarising actions, customer intent, questions or issues, as well as prompting best next actions or ideas to assist the speedy resolution of a call.

Can you truly automate customer interaction?

Automation is clearly the future. It has such a direct impact on costs and, in many cases, convenience for the customer if it is done correctly. Today, we know that there is a massive failure rate, with frustration and damage being done in this area. This topic requires a blogpost all of its own as it is such a massive topic that spans into areas such as joining up the human-to-human analytics to capture failed automated experiences and updating knowledge, process or areas of service. Going further, we see a need to go beyond decision-tree automation – the press 1 for credit card, 2 for mortgage and so on – to a truly conversational experience, with the same level of understanding as a human agent.

Are you mitigating and automating risk, compliance and maximising trust?

This one does not need much explaining. It can cost organisations dearly, in money but also in reputation and trust. Add all these together and we arrive back at financial transformation. Closing the loop is essential.

If you would like to know more about Contexta360 and how we have helped businesses of all sizes navigate interaction analytics, please feel free to contact us.

 

How the relationship between quality management and speech analytics maximizes CX impact

 

Quality management has evolved over time: from the days of telephone operators and supervisors walking the floor, to random recorded calls being sent to team leaders and supervisors, to something of a more intelligent and automated offering.

Today, the contact centre is regarded as the centre of excellence for most businesses. Quality management (QM) is viewed as the main way to understand how your business is performing, what improvements can be made and if you are remaining compliant with the mass of processes and legislation.

Contact centres must implement a constructive process and workflow that focuses primarily on knowledge gained from customers and conversations, not just from internal performance criteria and metrics. The knowledge gained from customers must be the primary driver for your performance measurement, the employee development actions that take place, and to help you understand why your customers really contact you.

Traditional QM is based on manual evaluations. It relies on team leaders and supervisors to listen to calls and score them according to fixed criteria. It provides accurate, consistent and measurable analysis of agent performance over time, and it can be used to direct coaching and training efforts.

Add speech analytics, which is rapidly becoming a mainstream technology, and you open up a host of opportunities for contact centres, with technologies that can process 100 per cent of calls while identifying other key metrics such as sentiment, empathy, and insights into why your customers are calling.

Speech analytics enables users to systematically collect data from a large sample of interactions, but data is nothing unless it can be turned into information. Combining speech analytics with QM can help to turn that data into actionable information. Using the speech analytics tool to determine key issues that require a deeper understanding, and then combining that with targeted human listening to analyse the interactions for meaningful insights, root cause analysis and behavioural correlations, will create richer and more actionable outcomes.

Furthermore, the combined power of a speech analytics and a QM tool can identify calls that contain specific words or phrases, or even highlight areas of interest that you hadn’t considered. This is paramount when trying to pinpoint conversations that require escalation or immediate attention. The business can then leverage the outputs to focus on agent coaching opportunities – evaluating them for specific agent behavioural trends, identifying agent behaviours that need improvement, and providing actionable feedback to the supervisors for coaching and training purposes.

Add this value to other stakeholders, and suddenly you can link your conversational data right across your business. This includes correlating data right through to customer experience measures such as customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Scores and customer effort, as well as sales and operational KPIs, CRM data, complaint data and agent HR data. By integrating QM results with other key data points, business leaders can identify and address the true root causes of issues such as dissatisfaction, customer attrition and many other problems that can affect the health of the business.

By combining the power of QM and speech analytics as an integrated solution, you can fulfil the whole of your organisation’s needs in a compelling way. Speech analytics can collect data on both the conversational and transactional part of a customer interaction, and it can be used easily and effectively for compliance and automation to increase efficiency. However, without the integration of QM, the next-level insights that truly affect the whole customer experience are not identified or resolved.

To find out more why not what a short pre-recorded demonstration.

How to unlock the top five capabilities that will deliver quality management and speech analytics benefits

 

Let us get straight to the point. The convergence of speech analytics technologies and the QM process is transforming the contact centre.

The benefits include a dramatic reduction in costs, time savings for both leadership and agent, an exponentially improved service to the customer, a shot in the arm for employee experience, and a new stream of business efficiency.

The QM function is absolutely critical. It may vary slightly from organisation to organisation, but the fundamental pillars are usually quite similar. We want to ensure a great service as well as security and compliance. We want to ensure our teams consistently follow a defined Standard Operating Procedure, that they have excellent communication skills, with strong product/service and process knowledge, aligned to the culture or brand of the organisation, as well as remaining compliant.

Phew! It is quite a job, but one that is critical as QM gives us the edge in a hyper-competitive, fickle and high-churn marketplace. If QM and speech analytics are used effectively, you will gain the following five capabilities:

  1. The ability to automatically measure results not just actions
  2. The ability to automatically focus your attention where it is needed
  3. The ability to automatically discover shortfalls in what matters
  4. The ability to automatically monitor ongoing performance
  5. The ability to automate the sharing of best practice

But how do you unlock them?

1. Measure results and not just actions

A typical QM process identifies an area that may need improvement. This is logged and, where possible, a remediation process is initiated. This may range from asking for more attention to the matter, through to sharing learning modules or structured training. A review of the data may be set to investigate whether the agent believes they have improved: did they read the book, watch the YouTube video or attend the course? The real issue is the onus is on the team lead/QM manager to scan calls randomly for indicators of areas where improvement is needed. They may be lucky and find some. The agent may be lucky and the managers don’t find any. It is all incredibly unfocused and lacking in rigour.

The convergence of speech analytics and QM allows the QM leads to set metrics relating to the improvement areas. They can digitally monitor this by analysing 100 per cent of all the interactions across all channels and set red /amber/green thresholds to alert them to the right output.

2. Focus your attention where it is needed

You will have defined areas of interest. These may include first call resolution (FCR), average call handle time (AHT), customer experience (CX), customer satisfaction (C-SAT), product knowledge, soft skills and so on. Monitoring all the things that matter to the QM lead is a monumental task and impossible to do without a helping hand from technology. In addition, some of the datapoints that are available come from the system of record (i.e. what the agent entered) and may not be a true reflection of FCR or CX.

If you build a stack of metrics that are important to you, then use speech and chat analytics to scan 100 per cent of all calls and chat sessions, you gain an executive eye-in-the-sky dashboard that shows you where your attention should be focused. In most cases, we see 60 to70 per cent of staff do not need QM attention, yet they are regularly processed in the same way as those who do. Speech analytics and QM can enable you to allocate 80 per cent of your attention to the 20 per cent who most need it.

3. Discover shortfalls in what matters

As the QM metrics are now conversational queries, we are  able to set thresholds on all the metrics you need to monitor. Additionally, these monitor 100 per cent of all interactions, across all channels. QM leaders no longer need to spend hours looking for examples of deviation from the master plan, the system will find the proverbial needle in the haystack across millions of interactions instantly.

4. Monitor ongoing performance

If the system does find a potential area for improvement, this needs to be tracked and monitored. The convergence of QM into speech and chat analytics allows QM leaders to automatically set improvement tasks, review dates and attach snippets of the call that has been detected with that area of interest. You can not only track and monitor until a training note has been read or a video is watched, but you can automatically continue to monitor the performance of the QM metric.

5. Automate the sharing of best practice

Don’t just get the system to look for the bad examples. As you are analysing 100 per cent of all channels, it is easy to find brilliant examples of customer handling: from sales objection handling, to customer service empathy; and from advanced listening skills to great examples of call summary of actions taken. Then you can use the power of these platforms to share the examples or add them to your showcase library.

Next-gen QM; phew, what a relief.

How speech analytics is vital to improving Voice of the Customer programmes

 

Contact centre leaders have always been under pressure to listen, adapt and respond to customers to grow their business and retain their customers.

 

Today, events have accelerated and businesses are struggling to keep apace of constantly changing customer needs, choices and behaviours. Listening, adapting and responding to customer expectations is highly challenging for many contact centres as they strive for Customer Experience (CX) excellence and precious Net Promotor Scores (NPS).

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes are still at the heart of understanding customers, and customer surveys are the backbone of capturing customers’ needs and feedback for customer service organisations. However, many companies are experiencing the law of diminishing returns as customers hit survey saturation point. The knock-on effect is a lower survey feedback response that impacts insights into customer needs and experiences.

Innovative leaders are therefore looking to the latest technology to offer new products and solutions that expand their VoC programmes and give them deeper real-time insights. This is where agnostic, AI speech analytics has come into its own and is set to grow by 60 per cent among companies with VoC programmes in 2025. Capturing indirect and inferred customer data throughout the customer journey provides the most accurate customer insights. It helps leaders to gain greater understanding from every customer conversation – whether human or automated – and uncovers deeper business insights and identifies failure demand across communications channels.

Speech analytics mines unstructured data and discovers the nuances of conversations through all channels and across tens of thousands of records in seconds. It helps leaders to develop relevant customer-focused strategies and support customer-related decisions. It brings trends and patterns within the business to the surface and uncovers customer behaviours.

When speech analytics is rolled out across the whole of the business it helps the lines of business answer some of their most pressing questions. For example, within business transformation, speech analytics will pinpoint where implementing automation will be most effective. It will integrate conversational and transitional data for deeper insights and understanding. Combined speech analytics and quality management allows operations managers to understand and improve business service levels, identify and fix broken processes, and set and manage business KPIs.

In summary, incorporating speech analytics into the VoC programme provides organisations with the ability to analyse every conversation, detect more insights, reduce costs, identify churn and provide a more in-depth understanding of the end-to-end customer journey.

Connect with Contexta360 and see AI-powered speech analytics in action.