Better Profitability, CX and Compliance Through Speech Recognition
Guest Blog by Ian Firth, VP Products, Speechmatics
The last decade has seen the call centre industry transform from a predominantly telephony-based industry into a 360-omni-channel ecosystem. Despite significant advances in chatbot technology, i.e. simple AI which can field straightforward queries such as ‘where is my package?’, call centres still require human agents to manage complex customer queries. Perhaps one day, chatbots and virtual agents will be indistinguishable from real human beings, but presently, the majority of customers prefer to deal with human agents, and not bots.
Customers are now engaging with organisations across a vast array of channels, with millions of customer interactions happening across mobile app platforms like WhatsApp for Business, social media and email. But despite the substantial growth of omni-digital engagement, the importance of voice still cannot be underestimated. Due to the demand for quality customer service, end-users are still leveraging voice and human-to-human communication to ensure accurate, personalised caller experiences. Research in 2019 found that 91% of respondents believe increasing investment in contact centre compliance software should be considered a priority in the next year.
Call centres are still capturing billions of calls and interactions with consumers at various points in the call life cycle. The rise in machine learning and artificial intelligence takes call and speech monitoring to the next level. High performance automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology can not only convert speech-to-text but enable call centres to transform themselves into big data analysis hubs, delivering massive amounts of learning and insight. The ASR API technology market is experiencing rapid growth, the market is currently valued around USD$7.5bn and is projected to be worth USD$21.5bn by 2024, according to Research and Markets.
Speech-to-text provides transcripts that can be used to identify issues and solutions to improve the customer journey and reduce unnecessary interaction time and churn. By obtaining transcripts of calls, contact centres can easily access data and use it for compliance auditing, to accelerate dispute resolutions, and ultimately achieve a better customer experience. With an efficient any-context speech recognition engine integrated into a call centre, that is, one that has been trained to accurately transcribe different accents, dialects and inflections, can deliver immense rewards and insights for organisations in both private and public sectors at scale.
Sentiment analysis is critically important for organisations needing to know how their customers or stakeholders are feeling at various points in time. By converting voice into text, call centres are able to analyse the audio content. It can also be used to assess what customers think of marketing campaigns and identify positive or negative days in the week. They can also gain insight into whether sentiment varies with specific products or services or indeed if sentiment varies with specific customer agents or teams that regularly generate low levels of customer satisfaction.
In compliance regulation, ASR can be used to track down specific conversations and keywords for a range of scenarios, such as adherence to regulations, quality management, dispute resolution and event reconstruction. The consequences for failing to comply are huge – including high penalties, legal action and damaged reputation. Team leaders in call centres can utilise ASR to better understand the quality of their team’s calls – by having the ability to take a high level strategic viewpoint on call data, they can deliver the appropriate training, helping to nurture teams based on data and evaluating scripted replies to better manage quality control. Financial institutions are increasingly using machine-learning systems as well. ASR is used for autonomously transcribing and analysing financial calls for everything from angry customer complaints to illegal behaviour.
In the future, mission-critical, accurate voice technology will continue to improve agent performance whilst driving business and process improvements. Ultimately, businesses are adopting these solutions to better drive profitability. The call centre industry is about to go through another revolution. Transformative technologies such as speech recognition technology will help organisations to increase efficiency with the ultimate goal of delivering increased customer satisfaction and experience across the board.