Unlocking the Power of Speech Analytics

Mike Miller

UTOPY is one of many businesses practicing Speech Analytics, a fairly new business tool used to decipher information through speech patterns and behavior. Mike Miller, UTOPY's Vice President of Customer Strategy, discusses the hot topic below.

Can you talk a little bit about recent trends you’ve been seeing in Speech Analytics?

A few years ago, Speech Analytics was viewed as a new and promising technology, but it was largely unproven. In just the last year, its value has become increasingly apparent, and companies both large and small are becoming much more interested in it. One of the recent trends that has fueled this surge in interest is the expansion of Speech Analytics into the realm of improving company financial performance. A few years ago, the focus was on searching for keywords in recorded phone calls which lacked a clear tie to improving contact center performance. More recently, there has been a shift toward use- cases that help improve Key Performance Indicators such as Sales Conversion, Customer Satisfaction, and First Call Resolution. Client successes in these areas show that the technology has a major impact. Also, since agent performance (both in aggregate and at the individual agent level) is key to performance in these areas, best in class Speech Analytics vendors are developing applications that support agent development, such as Coaching and Quality Management processes.

What about Speech Analytics in regards to the Collections process? And could you clarify that process for our readers?

Collections is a specialized type of sales application. The skills are different from those used in customer acquisition, up-selling, or customer retention, but the goal is essentially the same: to sell the customer on taking the action desired by the company. While performance in a collections environment is impacted by many factors, individual agent skills are key. Top agents use skills that generate high collection rates and use them more consistently than bottom performing agents. Identifying the skills that improve collection rates, training agents to use those skills, measuring their performance, and using that information for continued agent development can yield a significant improvement in collections revenue. UTOPY has seen its Collections clients increase their collections revenue by as much as 30% by identifying key skills and training agents to use them consistently.

Could you delve into new developments in Speech Analytics technology and UTOPY’s 7.0 release set to launch in September? And how will this technology change the way Speech Analytics is perceived?

Our 7.0 release is a huge leap forward for Speech Analytics. We’ve taken the most powerful Speech Analytics technologies in the market and combined them to offer the highest level of accuracy and detection. To the company’s existing and well proven phrase-driven categorization method, UTOPY is adding advanced search and exploration capabilities which will alert clients to topics that are appearing in calls or increasing in frequency that the client has not already asked the system to report. UTOPY’s approach to search is unique because UTOPY enhances its Speech-to-Text search capabilities with its patented phrase-based technology, increasing the accuracy of search results.

UTOPY is also enhancing its UTOPY Intelligent Coaching product in version 7, and introducing UTOPY Intelligent QM, enabling Coaching and Quality Monitoring which are completely driven by Speech Analytics.

What are some of the biggest perks to Speech Analytics in the current economic climate?

The recent shift to performance enhancement applications creates the opportunity for companies using Speech Analysis to significantly increase revenue by improving sales performance, reducing operating costs, and improving customer satisfaction and retention. While these activities are always valuable, they have particular merit when performance needs to be optimized to fill the gap created by shrinking opportunity. Also, since Speech Analytics can mine 100% of recorded calls, intelligence that would normally be lost using traditional QA sampling techniques (of analyzing 1% of calls or less) is captured, allowing the company to effectively drive change.

Where do you see Speech Analytics going in the future? Any predictions?

Unlike any other technology, Speech Analytics has tremendous power to unlock the mountain of data contained in customer calls and put that information to use, whether it is measuring customer dissatisfaction and linking it to call reasons, identifying key sales skills and whether or not they are being used, or identifying the reasons customers call back two, three, or more times for the same problem.

The accuracy of Speech Analytics has continued to improve as the hardware requirements have fallen. These trends have enticed more companies to invest in the technology. Speech Analytics is on the verge of being seen as a required technology for contact centers. Going forward, the technology will become recognized as essential to optimizing call center performance and it will increasingly be seen as a strategic solution for better understanding and serving customers.