In the contact center, voice has long been defined by telephony. However, since the introduction of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a lot has changed. In particular, the transition from circuit-based telephony to packets has played a large part in where we are now, paving the way for AI-enabled opportunities to enable customer experience analytics.
In light of today’s increasingly digital and customer-centric environment, it has never been more important for contact centers to offer outstanding customer experiences. Not only do customers now expect issues to be resolved instantly, but they also expect this to be achieved on the channels that are convenient to them and at a time to fit them. In this blog, we’ll outline how the developments in AI and cloud computing are enabling contact centers to offer superior customer experiences through better analytics. We’ll touch on how speech recognition technology is already helping contact centers to capture, evaluate and archive high call volumes in real-time, and identify how this impacts the customer experience.
Speech recognition technology has been around for decades, but the use cases now with AI and machine learning advancements, are far greater that they have ever been. We are now in a much more data-driven business environment. When we see so much data around us, we need to capture it otherwise we lose out on the business value for customer experience analytics purposes.
Despite contact centers turning to omni-channel text-based formats to interact with customers in a convenient way, the vast number of interactions are still voice-based. There is, therefore, an immense amount of voice data there for the taking. However, there are still a lot of contact centers that are recording calls but not doing enough with that data. Capturing these conversations and presenting them in a usable form through utilizing speech recognition technology provides a rawer form of communication. Contact centers can then get a really thorough sense for customer emotions, intent and feelings, far beyond that of text data.
As calls come in and are recorded, speech recognition technology enables businesses to transcribe these recordings either after the call or in real-time. The use of machine learning-powered applications like speech recognition removes mundane and unskilled tasks from agents in the contact center. It enables them to be upskilled and do tasks where only humans can add value. If contact centers can offload some of those conversations such as password resets to automated systems to get the customer to self-serve, that is really powerful.
It isn’t just labour costs that will improve because of speech recognition. The value reaches far beyond that. It’s about improving the customer experience by getting the right information in front of customers in the right way as quickly as possible. It’s about enabling customers to interact in a suitable way to fit their lifestyle and the way they need to work, and businesses understand that.
Voice technology enables contact center managers to evaluate interactions with customers to speed up dispute resolution and empower agents.
The transition from circuit-based telephony to packets has been a really important breakthrough for the contact center. Telephony information has been recorded for many years, but these recordings are only used in certain scenarios such as dispute resolution, call sampling and for compliance purposes. Due to the nature of these recordings, it has been really difficult to do anything with that call data. Locating it is hard, it’s time-consuming to listen to and an incredibly human-intensive task that requires a lot of investment. As a consequence, call recordings have only been used in a very limited way.
As technology has improved and digital voice has become more widespread, the value that can be realized within that voice data is huge. Businesses are increasingly looking for new ways to access and leverage the insights within voice data. The internal restructuring has presented a lot of change for businesses and has disrupted the whole landscape. However, the experience for the end-user hasn’t changed in that they still dial the same number or interface with the same applications as before.
Advances in technology has resulted in reduced storage pricing and computers can now do a lot more than before. The ability to access data across high-speed networks has become commonplace. This has enabled the next big step in being able to use voice data to deliver real business value.
Huge quantities of calls can now be archived as text at minimal cost to the contact center. These calls can be categorized and accessed immediately through a quick search of the system. With all customer interactions available to contact center agents instantly this significantly speeds up dispute and issue resolution cases.
Contact center managers can use archived call data to analyze customer interactions to ensure agents are performing as they should, reducing miss-selling cases. Equally, contact center managers can analyze voice data to find best practices to further improve customer satisfaction.
The introduction of VoIP has brought new opportunities for voice in the enterprise. Owning the audio from calls is one thing but knowing what to do with it is also important. Being able to understand the efficiency of a conversation is a really useful asset. With voice technology, contact center managers can use the entire dataset of calls as a sample to truly understand both customer and agent engagement. It helps to ensure that transactions reach their intended goal, which is important for businesses and customers. To that end, voice technology is unlocking tremendous value in the enterprise.
Voice provides businesses with a knowledge base center from which agents can utilize to improve their performance and increase customer satisfaction. This knowledge base also helps to maintain consistency. For example, agents can pick up from previous calls with customers by referring to an interaction history dashboard. This means that customers aren’t required to repeat conversations with new agents, significantly improving their experience and accelerating their dispute process.
These days contact center agents are required to cover lots of use cases and have to offer a service that covers a lot of difficult problems. Lots of simpler problems can now get offloaded to chatbots and other text-based outputs. Voice is an interactive communication method. Users can now tell the phone exactly what they want to find out and get routed to the correct agent or solution automatically. Customers are no longer required to interact through binary IVR prompts like ‘Press 1 to speak to sales’. This significantly improves the customer and agent’s experience, contributing to agent satisfaction and retention.
Voice brings with it a lot of workflow improvements. From call routing and better agent training to removing the need for manual notetaking and picking up sentiment and intent from calls. It offers valuable additional insight. Contact center managers can optimize their workflow management by accelerating issue resolution to ultimately reduce customer churn.
It is important to note that voice shouldn’t be considered as a tactical problem; it should be part of the contact center’s digital transformation. Business is all about conversations and engagements with customers and so if companies aren’t thinking about this as part of their digital transformation project, they are missing out. People should be looking at all communication touchpoints and use the right communication methods to improve workflows and efficiencies.
Think about the communication touchpoints and make them better and aligned for customers. Work out which are most important. Don’t just look outside of the contact center, look inside too. Consider internal company communications, meetings, employee workflows, etc., as these are all part of that voice strategy. Think big and start working around the space.
Read our new Smart Guide for 10 ways contact centers can improve their customer experience using voice technology.
Ian Firth, Speechmatics