In the days before speech analytics, marketing intelligence could be hard to come by. According to Jim Linkhauer, now a speech analytics consultant for Adtech Global, a provider of contact center services, the most effective data extraction tool was a box of Krispy Kremes. “When I was an operations manager,” recalls Linkhauer, “I would have to walk down the middle of the call center with a box of doughnuts to get agents to tell me anything about what customers were saying about the product we were selling.”
After his company implemented a speech tool, Linkhauer combed through analytics results during a national product launch and gleaned insights about everything from the effectiveness of the ad campaign to competitive offers to customer complaints. Linkhauer began sending the marketing team nuggets of information on a daily basis to aid and support their strategic decisions. “Listening to what the voice of the customer was telling us about the product we were launching was invaluable,” Linkhauer says. “Data like ‘5 percent of callers are signing up long-term’ and ‘how often callers bring up names of specific competitors when the new product is mentioned would end up on the CEO’s desk and he’d say, ‘This is awesome! What else can you tell me?’”
When product teams studied the data, they’d ask specific follow-up questions, prompting Linkhauer to build more search categories and locate relevant customer-agent conversations. Not only were results quick and accurate, not a single doughnut was required. “I once heard someone say that speech analytics is like having an instant focus group with 24/7 trending analysis,” Linkhauer says. “It helps take the guesswork out of marketing.”
Patrick Botz agrees. “Speech analytics is a fantastic tool for quickly identifying competitors’ new campaigns and threats,” adds Botz, a vice president for VPI, a provider of speech analytics and workforce optimization software. “By tagging CRM data such as campaign name, product name, and order value to recorded calls, marketers can focus their speech analytics searches on higher-value calls for even greater insights.”
Without a doubt, speech analytics produces a treasure trove of business intelligence that can help marketing make critical course corrections that can revitalize a sagging campaign. Too often, however, this statistical gold dust doesn’t make it across the Great Divide between operations and marketing.
As Paul Newman said in Cool Hand Luke, “What we got here is a failure to communicate” (although I’m fairly certain he wasn’t referring to speech analytics). Unfortunately, operations and marketing tend to be siloed in many businesses, and neither department pays much attention to the other.
Once contact centers actually implement a speech analytics solution, improving marketing and communications gets shunted aside like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.
Our experience with clients confirms that speech analytics is largely considered an operations application. Feedback from contact centers that had implemented analytics as well as centers that were planning to, all prioritized operational goals like “improve customer experience and satisfaction,” “improve agent performance,” “improve processes,” and “improve training.” Meanwhile, marketing’s most urgent questions—from “What’s going on with the new product launch?” to “Have we positioned the product correctly?” to “What are consumers saying about the product?”—go unanswered.
That’s a shame, because marketing and operations ignoring each other is like two brothers fruitlessly jumping up under a tree branch to reach an apple just beyond their grasp. Ah, but if one gives a boost to the other, they can win the prize and share in the bounty. Case in point: If marketing adds more user-friendly self-serve options to the company’s website, operations could see a big drop-off in customer calls. The result? Reduced expenses and happier customers. Everybody wins.
MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics professional services and managed services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.
About Scott Bakken
Founder and President of MainTrax, is an independent voice of the speech analytics industry.