Call Center Managers: Analyze This

etalk Corp., a provider of performance impact solutions, today announced a strategic partnership with Utopy, a provider of speech analytics software for call centers and government agencies. etalk will offer Utopy's speech analytics software, SpeechMine, and integrate it with its suite of quality management solutions. Customers using etalk Recorder can now leverage their recording investment by using SpeechMiner Enterprise to automate, streamline, and improve their call center operations and quality management processes, according to etalk. SpeechMiner automatically "listens" to recorded calls and understands the content by recognizing the agents' and customers' words, phrases, and tones, according to Utopy,. Contact center managers can have calls sorted by SpeechMiner according to the call center business rules and needs. SpeechMiner enterprise contains out-of-the-box filtering rules like "dissatisfied customers," "customers requesting a supervisor," "agent was confused," and "agent interrupts the customer." It also allows a business user to establish new business rules according to their specific needs. "SpeechMiner provides analysis and reports on data in order to reduce operational costs, increase revenue, and gain competitive advantage," says Bill Kilgore, Utopy's director of North American sales. Etalk representatives say that since many companies look to record large samples of customer interactions, or are required to record every customer contact call, analyzing every call can be very expensive and labor intensive for contact centers with high call volumes. "By integrating SpeechMiner with etalk's quality management solutions, call center managers can record calls and quickly analyze agent performance based on key words and phrases and how the customer reacts, without listening to the entire call," Roger Woolley, vice president of marketing for etalk, said in a statement. "The combination both enhances and streamlines a contact center's existing operations and strategic business intelligence processes." Erin Kinikin, vice president and research leader for enterprise applications with Giga Information Group, points out that speech analytics is not designed to improve call center response time, but can be helpful. "Once you've recorded all the calls, why not look for patterns that might signal customer dissatisfaction, agent training issues or behavior patterns, or even new opportunities, such as cross-sell?" she asks. But Kinikin warns that like many new products, speech analytics might get lost in the mix. "The problem with all these analytics tools is whether anyone has time to actually sit down and understand what they mean," Kinikin posits. "Call center workers are pragmatic people worried about agent scheduling, staffing, and workload balancing--quality is important, but tends to fall into the nice-to-have category, especially once a new agent is trained and has reached minimum competency. She adds that the applications take time to fine tune, and that retraining issues may arise when one actually takes the time to see what can or cannot be improved by using the analytics software. Bern Elliot, research director at Gartner, agrees with Kinikin that currently there is little use for the product, but notes that there is a lot of potential for speech analytics over time. "Companies can use the product to gain insight into their business at a low cost," he says. "It can work in the background analyzing information most companies are collecting anyway."
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