7 Steps to Harnessing Speech Analytics for a Dramatic ROI

Customer Service
Customer Service
Speech analytics can help companies gain actionable insight they would otherwise miss. Here's how to capture and capitalize on that information.

Customer interactions are rich with valuable insights, and when companies can garner these insights quickly and drive swift and effective action, the ROI pours in. Organizations have achieved stellar, transformative results by using speech analytics, along with people and process, to extract that insight from customer interactions and apply it to their business challenges and aspirations.

When centered as part of comprehensive cross-channel "interaction analytics" (including Web, social media, email, chat, and feedback surveys), speech analytics empowers organizations to improve agent performance, process efficiency, customer experience, and marketing and sales results. Now that interaction analytics has entered the mainstream, the secrets to success are out. A practical and logical step-by-step methodology has emerged that will work for any contact center, of any size, in any industry. This 7-step methodology includes proven practices from companies such as Electric Insurance, GoDaddy, and Cincinatti Bell on how to address the most important challenges and making sustainable and impactful change.

1. Secure executive sponsorship

While every important project requires executive sponsorship, the potential of interaction analytics extends beyond the domain of any single department. Customer service, marketing, sales, and product development organizations all need to be fully engaged to achieve the results. Therefore, executive sponsors should be identified in the earliest stages of implementation to build buy-in at the upper level and clear road blocks at lower levels. The sponsor must be in the position to secure full resource allocation and departmental commitments.

2. Establish a change management process

To achieve sustainable improvements you need processes that support the full performance management lifecycle: problem identification, root-cause analysis, change management, performance improvement, and ongoing monitoring. The best practice is to establish a cross-departmental coalition that meets regularly to review key findings, prioritize opportunities, and agree on actions to drive change.

3. Prioritize initiatives based on ROI

For optimal results, determine the objectives that matter most for improving enterprise performance, not just contact center performance. In the early stages of implementation, focus on two to three targeted business problems that, when addressed, will show measurable ROI, before building larger, independently managed projects. Many companies focus on increasing first contact resolution (FCR) as a first-step initiative, to realize specific cost benefits while also improving the customer experience. Electric Insurance Company, a provider of personal and commercial lines insurance, started with a focus on improving contact center efficiency, and then expanded to tackle initiatives around compliance and NPS. The company prioritized each initiative and established clear metrics with specific timelines and measurement criteria to stay focused.

4. Leverage existing processes, workflows, and resources

From a change management perspective, leveraging existing workflows and resources with new technology is far more desirable than trying to change people, process, and technology at once. Successful organizations have gained quick ROI by expanding the roles of customer experience analysts, quality assurance analysts, or business intelligence analysts to integrate insights from interaction analytics into cross-departmental workflows. When successfully leveraged, individuals who are trained in problem solving and change management techniques can typically handle between four to eight analytics-driven improvement projects per year, with a target of generating $150K to $250K savings per project.

5. Focus on root causes and actionable insight

To get valuable information through interaction analytics, it's important to shift the focus from data gathering to developing actionable insights. Automated root-cause analysis limits the need to manually review an overwhelming number of interactions to identify key opportunities. For example, domain name registrar Go Daddy automatically identifies repeat calls and analyzes them to uncover root cause product and procedural issues. These initiatives have dramatically improved Go Daddy's customer care FCR metrics. In addition, more than half of Go Daddy customers reported through customer satisfaction surveys this year that they would highly recommend its customer care to friends and family.

6. Combine insights from interactions with transactions

Customer interactions and surveys are rich with valuable information about marketing campaigns, competitor activity, products and services, and back-office processes. By combining these insights with data gained through transactional business intelligence, organizations create almost "crystal ball" level power to understand customers and proactively meet their needs. This central repository of data-the customer interaction hub-includes demographic information, transactions, feedback, and interactions, and reveals opportunities to improve product and service quality by market segment. For example, to reduce customer churn, Cincinnati Bell uncovered key drivers of cancellations by combining interaction data with billing and usage data, and developed targeted customer retention campaigns.

7. Create vision and share success

Successful organizations engage the hearts and minds of every employee in capturing, understanding, and acting on customer insights. They clearly explain the objectives, invite the perspective of those who touch the customers every day, and fully engage employees in process change. Sharing the vision and the improvement success stories to all parts of the company boosts performance in all departments, as one group in the organization can learn from others. Internal newsletters and websites, employee recognition activities, social networks, white papers, and external publications all work very well in sharing this information.

Roadmap to success

Interaction analytics holds the promise of reducing costs and improving revenue through comprehensive capture and analysis of the customer experience through all channels, and taking action throughout the organization. This 7-step process significantly compresses the time to realize the benefits of new strategies, programs, or technologies. When executed properly the long list of benefits includes higher revenues, lower costs, lower agent attrition, delighted customers, and higher customer lifetime value and Net Promoter scores.