The speech analytics market grew by a vigorous 106 percent in 2007, producing a four-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 268 percent, according to DMG Consulting's 2008 Speech Analytics Market Report. DMG predicts continued market expansion at a rate of 70 percent in 2008, and 50 percent in 2009, despite the volatile economy.
Rising customer expectations are fueling the growth, according to DMG's "2008 Contact Center Surveying/Feedback and Analytics Market Report." New forms of communications and social networking applications have altered the business landscape. Enterprises that do not respond to their customers in a timely manner with a two-way dialog are finding themselves the object of damaging Web discussions and, even worse, negative news headlines.
Innovations -- including real-time speech analytics, text analysis for email and chat, emotion detection, and an emphasis on actionable results -- is increasing the benefits of speech-based solutions.
"Organizations have a significant opportunity to improve their operations and increase profitability based on their customers' feedback," says Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting. "Improving customer service and retaining customers should be a key goal for organizations during tough economic times. Contact center survey and feedback solutions, which provide great insights into the voice of the customer, can help to achieve this goal."
Daniel Ziv, vice president of customer interaction analytics at call center solution provider Verint, agrees that speech analytics can help companies understand their customers more deeply and improve long-term relationships.
"There's now a strong focus on the retention of customers," Ziv says, "so even companies without the budget to significantly increase their market share can still reduce churn relatively inexpensively by deploying current speech applications to retain customers. A good speech system can reduce repeat calls and calls overall, encourage self-service, and fits easily into quality monitoring, coaching, and e-learning."
The strategy behind the tools
So as more companies turn to speech analytics, what should they consider when developing their strategy? In its recent report, "Criteria to Evaluate Speech Analytics," Forrester Research suggests that companies review existing operations to determine the need for such tools, work with finance, marketing and other departments to measure the effect that the lack of call data has on performance, and use call analysis for several measures. For example, contact center executives can listen to and track what customers are saying and how, as well as spot potential problems or issues.
Also, Forrester recommends that the strategy involve business units beyond the call center. Sales and marketing have a stake, since speech analytics can be used to measure campaign effectiveness, for example. And engineering and product development teams can gain insight on customer reaction to new products or discover a defect if many people call about the same issue. In addition, companies should assign responsibility for the analytics reports, so the data can be turned into actionable information, and use customer activity to modify current activities.
The goal is that as tools like speech analytics become more focused on effectiveness rather than efficiencies, consumers will benefit from a deeper, improved experience.