By this point, it's no longer controversial or even surprising to suggest that the contact center should do more than handle customer phone calls. Instead, companies are starting to use their contact centers to handle client issues across a broad range of channels and focus more on generating revenue through upsells.
Yet while many companies have seen their contact center capabilities and goals expand, one of the biggest potential sources of value here often goes underutilized: customer intelligence gathering. It's not that businesses aren't using their contact centers for this purpose - it's that they could be doing much more, and gaining far more value from their customer engagement efforts as a result.
An emerging trend
First and foremost, it should be noted that leveraging speech analytics in order to gather customer insight is not exactly a new development. As early as 2012, industry expert Daniel Ziv told Data Informed, "[C]ompanies realize that the call center can be a place where customers express their frustration before they speak out on social media. So now, it's evolved to use analytics to look for broader, emerging trends. This is rich data to correlate what our detractors or promoters are telling us."
Naturally, this trend has only gained steam. But the fact of the matter is that the use of speech analytics in the contact center for these purposes is still underdeveloped. A study from MarketsandMarkets found that the global speech analytics market was worth $456 million in 2014 - a figure that seems truly small when you consider how much value these tools can offer to companies when deployed in both the contact center and beyond. That same study predicted that the speech analytics market would expand quickly and steadily at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 24 percent, reaching $1.3 billion by 2019.
This means that the solutions are moving more into the mainstream, but they aren't there yet. And this doesn't speak at all to the way that call center analytics are actually being utilized.
Customer insight needed
This leads to the key point: Many contact centers have not yet made the move to utilize speech analytics for customer insight gathering.
Instead, many organizations focus on using these tools as a means of cutting costs, improving internal operations and examining agent performance levels. All of these are obviously valuable in their own right, but they shouldn't distract from the potential for customer intelligence that contact center analytics have to offer.
With analytics, companies can gain a more in-depth, nuanced understanding of exactly what makes their clients happy or upset than would be possible through any other means. The same is also true when it comes to customers' needs and wants, their responses to the company brand, how they feel about specific promotions and, perhaps most importantly of all, why they leave.
All of this can become much clearer through high-quality speech analytics software. Customers will reveal a tremendous amount of information through their word choices and phrasing, but the best of this insight only becomes apparent through software-empowered analysis. A questionnaire or feedback survey will mine some information about customers' attitudes, but these resources are far less reliable or accurate.
With a broad scope, speech analytics in the contact center has the potential to yield customer insight, which in turn impacts company-wide strategic efforts. Marketing and sales tactics will evolve and improve with this new degree of intelligence, as will customer service itself. To experience such benefits, though, organizations need to have the right resources in place, as well as the commitment to maximizing contact center analytics' value.
What steps does your company take to gather customer intelligence?