operations. This is where speech analytics can make a major contribution. Speech analytics identifies the underlying reasons for customers' calls; this information can be used to diagnose issues and kick off the analysis process. The market is just beginning to figure out all of this, but the potential is great for enterprises willing to make investments to fully analyze the customer journey.
Regulatory compliance requirements
The continuing growth of regulatory compliance requirements all over the world is another trend driving investments in speech analytics. In the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is forcing financial services organizations, especially collections agencies, to modify the way they reach out to consumers. Currently, companies are taking defensive measures to position themselves to prove that they are in compliance. They are implementing post-call speech analytics solutions to demonstrate to regulatory agencies that they have met all requirements of the regulations. (Some of these government agencies are also using speech analytics to try to catch companies that are not in compliance.)
Real-time speech analytics
There are many other trends driving the increased adoption of speech analytics. Real-time speech analytics solutions emerged in 2012 and started to be viable in 2013. Their primary use today is to identify when a customer is angry or at risk of closing an account. The challenge is what to do with this information after it's captured; making findings actionable is an important area of investment for vendors.
One word of caution
Around the world there are regulations that require enterprises to notify callers when their calls are being recorded. Most of us are accustomed to the common contact center welcome message that says "Thank you for calling company X. This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes." While this may be true, if speech analytics is being used, the call is being recorded for other purposes as well. Some could argue that the new uses create a privacy concern. DMG recommends that companies research this issue to avoid being blindsided by lawsuits and possibly government regulations.
What to expect
The possibilities for speech analytics are endless. It is a powerful and practical application that, combined with best practices and a commitment from organizations to apply the findings on a consistent basis, is transformational. During the next few years, vendors are expected to continue investing to improve the usability of the findings and to introduce it deeper into organizations. The challenge for end users is to institutionalize the findings and use speech analytics as a change agent.
Donna Fluss (firstname.lastname@example.org) is founder and president of DMG Consulting, a provider of contact center and analytics research, marketing analysis, and consulting.