I have been getting several inquiries asking if speech analytics is a replacement for quality monitoring software in contact centers. Speech analytics is a valuable tool for monitoring your customer’s experience when dialing into your contact centers or using the IVR, as it provides the ability to mine, analyze, and understand customer conversations. It is a valuable tool for companies to quickly identify and understand what is on their customer’s mind. However, it serves a different purpose than quality monitoring that records customer conversations and is used for coaching agents or for compliance and recording of customer calls. Quality monitoring is best used for improving the agent’s performance, and speech analytics is optimized for understanding customer concerns and attitudes. They are complementary applications, and one does not replace the need for the other.

Speech analytics is a newer application for managing customers and just beginning to capture the attention of companies who realize they don’t really know what their customers are saying.  Unlike surveys that usually do not spot problems quickly, speech analytics allows companies to quickly run reports on their customer conversations to evaluate the success of their marketing campaigns, spot customer defections, or gauge changes in their customer attitudes. I think most customer service operations would gain significant benefits from deploying speech analytics to better understand the nature and attitude of their customer transactions.  Although it can also be used to monitor agent performance, such as putting calls on indefinite hold, this is a secondary use for speech analytics. Also, try not to confuse speech analytics, which can quickly drill down to specific conversations and customer attitudes, with behavior analytics, which identifies clusters of people who follow similar patterns, such as the way they use the IVR, click through a Web site, or make online purchases

I often advise companies interested in speech analytics to talk to a few of the market leaders and get educated on how their product performs the speech search and its accuracy for identifying not just words but the contextual meaning of what is said.  Vendors such as CallMiner, Nexidia NICE Systems, and Verint sell or host speech analytics and can provide a comprehensive overview of their solution. Let me know if you have an interesting experience with the use of speech analytics for your contact center.