Speech Analytics Will Be Listening
The use of speech analytics applications will grow in the contact center at a rate of 120 percent in 2006 and 100 percent in 2007, according to DMG Consulting's "2006 Speech Analytics Market Report." As of the end of 2004, only 25 speech analytics implementations were made in contact centers, and according to Donna Fluss, principal at DMG, by the end of 2005 only 250 were up and running. "It took a few years for vendors to adopt these solutions for businesses, but the market is coming into its own in 2006," she says. "[This year] is expected to be the first year of large-scale adoption of speech analytic solutions in contact centers."
Interest in the technology is high, because it addresses two of the core requirements of contact centers, cost reduction and improving the ability to extract information from interactions. "This market is alive and well because the interest is high, and that's because the value proposition is for real," Fluss says.
The primary use of speech analytics in the contact center is root cause analysis, finding out why customers are calling. A company could start receiving numerous calls from customers thanks to a competitor's offering, for example. If that company has 1,000 agents located at three separate contact centers, each agent might only receive one or two calls in relation to the competitor's new offering.
The applications can also be used for measuring actions like a company's marketing efforts, the launch of new products, and the improvement of quality assurance. But like CRM, in general, the technology won't yield ROI if the best practices to use that data aren't in place either, Fluss says. "If the data just sits there and isn't used to make decisions that same day, than it's a waste."
Speech analytics vendors like CallMiner, NICE Systems, Verint Systems, and Witness Systems claim their products are 80 to 90 percent accurate, but Fluss says those numbers might be slightly optimistic. Newer versions of the applications will have the ability to report in real-time. A customer will call the contact center, the system will analyze the call while it's taking place, and give feedback to the CSR at the point of contact. The current systems are, however, accurate enough to produce hard ROI numbers for contact centers. "Five years from now, when we're into the second and third generation of these solutions, 80 to 90 percent won't be good enough, but for now, it's great."
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