Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience: Analyzing More than “Customer Effort” for Meaningful Insight


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A 2010 Harvard Business Review paper entitled, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers,” has triggered a debate of sorts in the customer care industry. The authors of the HBR piece, Dixon, Freeman, and Toman, assert that the key to effective customer service is keeping “Customer Effort” to a minimum. Customer Effort, as outlined in the article, refers to reducing the amount of work that a customer has to do in order to get their issue resolved. It’s a compelling claim. But in April 2012, a very different point of view was articulated by researcher Guy Fielding in an article entitled, “Debunking the Customer Effort Score.”

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Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience: Analyzing More than “Customer Effort” for Meaningful Insight

  1. 1. 50 Years of Growth, Innovation and Leadership A Frost & Sullivan White Paper www.frost.com Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience: Analyzing More than“Customer Effort” for Meaningful Insight
  2. 2. Frost & Sullivan CONTENTS Analyzing More than “Customer Effort” for Meaningful Insight....................................... 3 Speech Analytics: Some Context.......................................................................................... 3 Improving KPIs: Going Deeper than “Effort” for Meaningful Insight................................ 4 True Customer Insight........................................................................................................... 5 First-Call Resolution.............................................................................................................. 6 Average HandleTime............................................................................................................ 6 Overcoming “Too Much Information”................................................................................. 6 Real-Time Analysis................................................................................................................ 7 Improving AgentTraining, Cutting Down on Attrition......................................................... 8 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 8
  3. 3. CONTENTS Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience 3Frost.com ANALYZING MORETHAN“CUSTOMER EFFORT” FOR MEANINGFUL INSIGHT A 2010 Harvard Business Review paper entitled,“StopTrying to DelightYour Customers,” has triggered a debate of sorts in the customer care industry.The authors of the HBR piece,Dixon, Freeman, and Toman, assert that the key to effective customer service is keeping “Customer Effort” to a minimum.Customer Effort,as outlined in the article,refers to reducing the amount of work that a customer has to do in order to get their issue resolved. It’s a compelling claim. But in April 2012, a very different point of view was articulated by researcher Guy Fielding in an article entitled,“Debunking the Customer Effort Score.” Customer Effort is an important factor when it comes to a quality Customer Experience. But according to Fielding, there are other drivers involved. As Fielding states, “If we are going to improve the service encounter then we cannot focus on just one element of what is a complex phenomenon, but instead must develop and make use of appropriately subtle understandings to guide our design and delivery of these customer interactions.” For Frost & Sullivan, this latter perspective makes considerable sense.A combination of metrics is at play in the realm where an optimal Customer Experience resides.And more and more companies have been leveraging Speech Analytics technology, in particular, as a means toward reaching and inhabiting that realm. Indeed, a phonetic audio search engine, built on scalable, open architecture, enables real-time and historical analysis of one-to-one or group-spoken interactions.This speech engine allows the enterprise to mine for what is missing in customer interactions by listening for things not caught by agent input or spot-monitoring by supervisors. In this way, Speech Analytics goes beyond factors such as Customer Effort and looks at more subtle aspects of a customer interaction—such as customer sentiment and whether or not agents are picking up on customer cues. In essence, Speech Analytics solutions can help fill in the gaps of Business Intelligence (BI), improve agent efficiency, and improve the Customer Experience. Indeed, a recent joint study between IBM’s Institute for Business Value and MIT asserts that 58 percent of organizations now apply analytics in general for a competitive advantage within their markets or industries, up from 37 percent from just the year before. According to the study, those organizations that achieve a competitive advantage with analytics solutions are 2.2 times more likely to substantially outperform their industry peers. SPEECH ANALYTICS: SOME CONTEXT First, some background. Prior to 2009, Frost & Sullivan considered Contact Center Analytics to be a sub-sector of the market for Quality Monitoring (QM) systems.After all, historically, analytics was primarily used to improve agent performance and was typically sold as an add- on to new or existing QM deployments.As the market matured, analytics capabilities greatly expanded to include more than just agent performance, and thus demanded its own category. Since 2009,Frost & Sullivan has been reporting analytics as its own category,encompassing two separate sectors: Customer Interaction Analytics and Performance Analytics.
  4. 4. Frost & Sullivan 4 Frost.com • Customer Interaction Analytics (CIA). Customer Interaction Analytics looks at the content of interactions in an attempt to decipher customer intentions and behavior patterns. It examines voice calls, chats, e-mails (or any other interaction type) and reports KPIs that are business- and outcome-oriented.Applications that search for root causes of customer churn, for example, are examples of Customer Interaction Analytics. • Performance Analytics (PA). Performance Analytics utilizes call content information to express metrics that are efficiency-based and operational. Systems that identify agents who need training in particular skills or call types, for example, fall under this category.What is termed Performance Management andWorkforce Optimization falls under this category. In the actual marketplace there is considerable overlap in individual products between CIA and PA. Moreover, vendors of Contact Center Analytics are still in an innovative stage, working out ways to sift through enormous volumes of data. Organizations are still looking at ways to best disseminate Contact Center Analytics to different stakeholders across the organization, and it only gets more challenging as new customer contact channels come online. Frost & Sullivan is looking at the category of Contact CenterAnalytics as a way to capture the nuances of a burgeoning movement in contact centers to express their operational results in terms of overall business objectives. How much progress has been made? Findings of the 2010 Frost & Sullivan End-User Contact Center Survey found that SpeechAnalytics was in use in 20 percent of centers,with another 27 percent expressing intent to purchase. Meanwhile, 65 percent of centers were currently using Performance Management software,with 44 percent expressing intent to purchase PM over the next 12-18 months.Perhaps most telling,40 percent of centers were using analytics to measure activityin“alternate”contactchannels—notablySMS,chat,ande-mail—with44percentexpressing the intent to purchase for that use. Purchasing behavior in analytics has certainly followed suit as Frost & Sullivan saw 13 percent growth in the contact center analytics market, of which Speech Analytics is a part, from $115.7 million in 2010 to $130.7 million in 2011. Furthermore, we forecast that the analytics market will have a CAGR of 11.8 percent from 2011 to 2017, and 13.5 percent growth expected in 2012.With the convergence of diverse data sources and analytics tools to mine those sources,Frost & Sullivan views analytics as a strong growth segment. Improving KPIs: Going Deeper than “Effort” for Meaningful Insight 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.”
  5. 5. Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience 5Frost.com For instance, Speech Analytics can help develop a picture of precisely why consumers call the contact center.Why are some callers irritated? Why do average handle times vary among agents? Did some back-office event occur (unknown to the contact center) that is suddenly spurring traffic? Categorizing and analyzing calls for the occurrence of similar types of words and phrases, as well as the context in which they are spoken, can provide insight into the reasons for such issues. For example, a breakdown between channels might mean that instead of a customer purchasing via a website, he or she might unnecessarily call the contact center, or perhaps end up not purchasing at all.Whereas an agent will help the customer in the case of a purchase, that agent might not note that the real issue for the call was that there was a problem with the website,such as a flight not being available once the customer went through the entire credit card verification process.Using SpeechAnalytics,the context of the call is brought into play,enabling the company to take action on an issue ultimately impacting the contact center. Moreover, it also will assess the sentiment of the customer and allow the agent to more effectively manage the interaction as a result. Speech Analytics also can discover patterns that may lead to improvement at the agent, contact center,and process levels.SpeechAnalytics also can impact sales- or service-focused key performance indicators, inbound or outbound, in the contact center. True Customer Insight Perhaps the top challenge along the path to greatly improving the Customer Experience is obtaining deep insight into the customer. Through Speech Analytics, companies can extract the context and meaning of the conversation, and begin to understand exactly why things are happening.The system searches contextually and captures that in the BI environment.Calls can be categorized by type, such as “customer complaint,” and within this framework, occurrences such as refunds or account closure also can be captured and linked with a call to provide richer data for analysis. Other elements of customer insight, such as the tracking of word usage in light of its historical use,can identify issues that can be passed along to the relevant department much quicker than typical processes could route them.There could be a number of reasons why a particular word or phrase crops up. For example, repeated references to a company competitor,its offerings,along with the context in which the customer spoke them,(“I want to close my account”) might be analyzed and processed through the marketing or pricing groups so that competitive offers can be created for agents to help with customer retention.Those types of specifics mean that sound, strategic decisions can then be made relatively quickly. This is another way of saying that effective SpeechAnalytics solutions can help deliver business- relevant insights in an easy-to-use environment. By going beyond a focus on simply reporting words or phrases, such solutions apply meaning and context to the results of a speech search. This transformation of large quantities of unstructured data into directly beneficial material can directly impact a contact center’s bottom line.
  6. 6. Frost & Sullivan 6 Frost.com 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. Average HandleTime Both the Customer Experience and First-Call Resolution are important. But so, too, is Average HandleTime. 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.SpeechAnalytics 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. Overcoming “Too Much Information” On first glance, Speech Analytics can be seen as providing similar information to management information and reporting systems, taking masses of data and making sense of what it means to the contact center’s performance and the wider business as well. But it goes further.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.
  7. 7. Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience 7Frost.com An excellent example of the value of these capabilities can be found in situations where companies are trying to find compliance breaches and assess the scale of a certain situation.For example,in theAsset 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 SpeechAnalytics,companies can now listen to all calls for compliance and aggregate that data in an analytics environment.Where are the weak spots in the organization? Who needs training? It is now possible to determine which agents need training,see that they get it, and check in real time on the effectiveness of the training. Furthermore, it is now possible to process additional sources of customer information, tying strands of information together to get a real picture of what is happening with the customer and agent.For example,it can be useful to bring together information from customer survey systems, which in isolation are just one data point.But when combined with the data provided in real calls, that information gives a different picture by allowing supervisors to compare the scores that were produced through QM and those provided by the customer. For example, if spot checking of calls reveals 80 percent customer satisfaction, yet customers are saying it is 30 percent, then there is a disconnect between what the organization views as quality and what the customer views as quality. Speech Analytics not only mines all calls, but can tie the customer surveys to specific calls,and where questions arise,can then drill down into those specific calls to see where the gulf in perception lies. It also is possible to look at the profile of a call/caller type, and then monitor all calls against that profile, to improve the Customer Experience. And, indeed, the BI platform enables many other forms of data sources to be brought in and analyzed, providing a holistic environment where all data can be consumed. Companies can even bring together data from multiple sources into one report, enabling a fully informed view. A difficult challenge in customer contact is thereby solved. Real-Time Analysis Call interactions contain gold nuggets of intelligence for companies savvy enough to gather them along the path to a great Customer Experience.These nuggets include: • Issues with a company’s own offer; • Back-office issues; • A competitor’s price, product and offer; and • True needs of the customer which have yet to be met. The identification of actionable insights becomes possible through high-volume discovery, as Speech Analytics technology offers both high-level views and drill-down to detail. This is technology that enables the searching, identification, and mining of large volumes of audio material in real time.Consider industries where accurate,real-time analysis of telephone-based contracts is essential, such as telecommunications, utilities, healthcare, financial services, and
  8. 8. Frost & Sullivan 8 Frost.com insurance. Speech Analytics solutions can help achieve compliance with industry regulations. Those solutions could also be helpful in the debt collection sub-sector. Consider, too, that the real-time aspect of Speech Analytics means that companies also can tailor offers to customers based on what is being said within the call (the ability to link real- time analytics with the CRM systems that are in place). Real-Time Speech Analytics also allows companies to gather customers’ views within the interaction, across all calls, rather than focusing strictly on dissatisfied or delighted customers. In addition, companies can turn analytics from a post-event discovery tool into a proactive notification system.They can automate the back-end by tying event thresholds to notifications. For example, in the compliance scenario mentioned earlier, if compliance targets aren’t being met, a manager can set a level on each agent on the mini Miranda, and as soon as the score falls below the target,can send a notification to the agent and even include specific call recordings as examples. Improving AgentTraining, Cutting Down on Attrition Today,many companies use manual and semi-automated QM to identify calls of interest,mainly for the purpose of ensuring script adherence.This is seen as a way to promote consistency and ensure that Customer Experience standards are met. But does it really work that way? With typical monitoring rates hovering at about 1 percent, how can supervisors get a clear snapshot of agent performance or customer engagement? QM may surface some issues, but how do companies know if these are the critical issues? For example, if one of the goals for agents is to demonstrate active listening to customers, with small monitoring rates, not only is the supervisor unable to listen to all calls, they might only listen to parts. Speech Analytics mines entire calls for performance indicators, across all calls, and allows calls out of range to be incorporated directly into training materials for agents, thereby improving their skills and work experience. CONCLUSION: GETTINGTO AN IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Today, the data that remains largely untapped is the information exchanged through spoken interactions.An effective SpeechAnalytics solution collects data and provides actionable insight on those interactions.And it is not just reporting; it’s measuring and displaying the impact it’s having on business,based upon decisions important to the business.In the contact center,there are numerous areas that are impacted during a call, including: • The caller’s interaction with the self-service application; • The queuing and routing of the call to the agent; • The caller’s interaction with the agent; and • The back-office operation.
  9. 9. Speech Analytics and the Optimal Customer Experience 9Frost.com Combining analysis across all these activities provides the opportunity to improve the end-to- end experience of the caller. Such technology will enable companies to discover interactions that impact their ability to attain high customer satisfaction and increase revenue generation. In fact, the analysis of such interactions can drive enhancements in processes that advance business objectives. At the same time,interest in multichannel analytics is growing.Companies also want to examine e-mail, text chat, IVR, and Web browsing in order to get the full picture of the customer’s progress throughout a single interaction in order to identify and improve any channels that failed to fulfill requirements and expectations. Since performance and cost control is paramount in this environment, analytics that involve data,Web, and speech processing, and event notification, are gaining in importance across contact centers. Most of the suite vendors and niche providers have been enhancing the baseline analytics products in their portfolios through development and acquisition. The overarching trend has been to combine data from all sources, inside and outside of the contact center,to create a holistic picture of the customer through voice of the customer (VoC) and performance analytics (PA).At the same time, it’s important to look at factors outside of the contact center that might affect agent performance, such as back-office issues. Either way, Speech Analytics solutions help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of customer service, support compliance requirements, and expand BI. This is related to something that IBM refers to as Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO), the business discipline that enables people to harness vast stores of customer,market,financial, and enterprise data and turn it into advanced insights using analytical techniques and tools. Indeed, according to a recent IBM study, companies that invest in BAO have better business insight and are better able to manage business performance to the extent that they lead their peers with 33 percent higher revenue growth, 12 times more profit growth, and 32 percent higher return on invested capital. Ultimately, the full value of Speech Analytics will be achieved when recorded and analyzed data is reapplied constructively across a business. Sales, Marketing, and Operations will benefit. As Speech Analytics helps fulfill the promise of providing an optimal Customer Experience, it will push the contact center down a new path,from cost center to strategic asset for the enterprise.
  10. 10. 877.GoFrost • myfrost@frost.com http://www.frost.com ABOUT FROST & SULLIVAN Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth.The company’s TEAM Research, Growth Consulting, and GrowthTeam Membership™ empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates,evaluates,and implements effective growth strategies.Frost & Sullivan employs over 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies,emerging businesses,and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Partnership Services, visit http://www.frost.com. For information regarding permission, write: Frost & Sullivan 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 MountainView, CA 94041 SiliconValley 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 MountainView, CA 94041 Tel 650.475.4500 Fax 650.475.1570 San Antonio 7550 West Interstate 10, Suite 400, San Antonio,Texas 78229-5616 Tel 210.348.1000 Fax 210.348.1003 London 4, Grosvenor Gardens, London SWIW ODH,UK Tel 44(0)20 7730 3438 Fax 44(0)20 7730 3343 Auckland Bangkok Beijing Bengaluru Bogotá Buenos Aires Cape Town Chennai Colombo Delhi / NCR Dhaka Dubai Frankfurt Hong Kong Istanbul Jakarta Kolkata Kuala Lumpur London Mexico City Milan Moscow Mumbai Manhattan Oxford Paris Rockville Centre San Antonio São Paulo Seoul Shanghai SiliconValley Singapore Sophia Antipolis Sydney Taipei Tel Aviv Tokyo Toronto Warsaw Washington, DC