Why More Contact Centers are Investing in Speech Analytics for Agent Training and Coaching
As consumers, we’re all familiar with the recorded message we hear before speaking with a customer service agent, “This call may be recorded for training purposes,” to name one. Contact centers may get hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of calls each day.
Before speech analytics, there were only a few ways to mine those calls for agent training and coaching opportunities:
- Live call monitoring of a limited number of calls.
- Listening to a limited set of calls chosen randomly.
- Collecting information directly from agents.
Listening to a limited call sample in its entirety didn’t always reveal the most pressing opportunities for improvement, which could delay coaching interventions and potentially increase legal or financial risk.
Today, advanced contact center speech analytics technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to “listen” to every call. It marks specific agent-customer interactions where attention may be advisable. This attention can take the form of corrective coaching for certain agents as well as global procedural changes. Brands that employ advanced speech analysis tools have seen measurable long-term KPI improvement (e.g., average handle time) resulting in increased customer satisfaction and company growth.
What You’ll Learn About the Benefits of Speech Analytics
In this blog post, you’ll learn how contact center speech analytics facilitates agent training and coaching, including best practices such as:
- How every level of a contact center’s structure benefits from coaching insights.
- How speech analytics makes coaching more efficient.
- How coaching powered by speech analytics boosts performance.
Following these best practices, iQor’s speech analytics has yielded powerful results:
- Utilized machine learning to train our analytics algorithm to detect COVID conversations in March 2020 accelerating agent training and coaching.
- Achieved 17.25 times more effective call sampling for an airline client.
- Improved a retail client’s overall efficiency by 52 seconds.
Support Key Stakeholders With Customer Service Speech Analytics to Guide More Effective Training and Coaching
Within each layer of the contact center, every interaction that requires additional coaching matters. The specific insights gained through speech analytics offer opportunities to enhance the employee experience by giving agents the support they need to grow and consistently provide excellent customer service. These insights benefit speech analytics users throughout the organization and strengthen the training and coaching of customer service agents.
Quality Assurance (QA)
The speech analytics technology sends marked interactions to QA specialists who examine the marked areas to determine whether further action should be taken. This significantly reduces the amount of time spent analyzing calls and identifying agents in need of support. For example, out of approximately 100,000 calls, QA might need to review less than 100 interactions.
The QA team can quickly scan the marked interactions and identify those in need of additional attention—often dozens or hundreds—to be addressed by operations and supervisors. This process saves thousands of work hours that would be spent if, in the absence of advanced speech analytics, manual call listening was required to analyze such a volume of calls.
Trainers guide new customer service agents on specific skills based on KPIs and client expectations. With speech analytics technology that detects each case in which the trainee agent can benefit from additional support, the trainer is able to assess whether the agent has improved and if more guidance is needed.
Supervisors use automatic reporting and QA-sourced data to learn which agents require more support and what kind of coaching they need.
Coaching designed to improve agent performance in a specific area is often the most frequent use of speech analytics in a contact center. Coaching also forms the basis of a broader analysis to determine if the procedures and guidelines coaches follow benefit agent outcomes and where improvements can be made.
Managers use the data they receive from QA to create reports. These reports, combined with auto-generated reports from the speech analytics platform, provide insight on opportunities for the program.
With call monitoring tools in a speech analytics platform like iQor’s VALDI—such as the Agent Performance Report—operations teams can easily access, document, and report on performance improvements. This supports open communication with the client to show positive trends in the KPIs or any other metrics of interest.
After iQor implemented agent scoring for a telecommunications client using our proprietary speech analytics platform VALDI—and after supervisors provided the necessary coaching—the operations team discovered a correlation between the net promoter score (NPS) and agent scoring. Consequently, they introduced a single targeted coaching procedure to further improve both metrics.
A default set of filters and search topics, augmented by the flexibility to customize the solution to the clients’ diverse business needs, allows iQor to quickly put our advanced customer service speech analytics technology to work for clients.
In short order, clients across industries are able to gain valuable insights into the impact of changing environments, new product launches, pandemic-related shipping delays, natural disasters, and more.
50% of all active VALDI speech analytics users perform roles connected (directly or indirectly) to call audits and coaching (e.g., call center supervisors, trainers, QA, and compliance analysts).
The COVID Challenge: iQor’s Speech Analytics in Action
All brands can relate to this example of how speech analytics benefits the training and coaching of customer service agents, which comes from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When COVID-19 became a factor in conversations with our clients’ end customers, iQor needed to know how often customers raised the topic and what they said to agents about it. With that knowledge, iQor teams could develop training and coaching with speed and accuracy to help agents respond appropriately.
iQor sampled 500 calls that had at least one mention of COVID. Based on information gained from those calls, we immediately added 150 keyword phrases to the search, using COVID and its variations to identify related agent-customer interactions.
Using this insight, VALDI speech analytics detected more than 150,000 COVID keyword phrase instances in one week alone in March 2020.
Machine learning trained the VALDI speech analytics algorithm to detect and mark COVID conversations. Agents received immediate training and coaching on how best to handle different interactions that included COVID-19. This empowered them to respond to customer needs with agility amidst the changing global environment and improved the customer experience.
How Speech Analytics Transforms Your Contact Center
A speech analytics tool transcribes all call center agent and customer conversations. All audio, video, and chats are automatically saved in the CX cloud for security and fast retrieval. Opportunities for corrective action are marked so team members can find them easily.
It’s important to note that advanced customer service speech analytics technology doesn’t just examine the words and phrases used and identify the speaker. It also offers the flexibility to automatically mark interactions where:
- Using text-based sentiment analysis, it understands that a customer’s speech indicates negative emotions and shows escalation patterns.
- Connectivity is below the minimum acceptable standard.
- There are long silences.
Quickly Discover Agent Coaching Opportunities With Speech Analytics
A business process outsourcing provider like iQor uses speech analytics in four ways to identify agents who could gain the most from coaching, determine what that coaching should be, and quantify its impact on the business.
1. Call Auditing
The call audit is one of the most common methods to determine coaching opportunities. Speech analytics technology is a game-changer in the otherwise time- and effort-consuming process.
Speech analytics technology provides QA with the automatic monitoring of KPI metrics, which informs future auditing targets and mitigates the resources needed.
Users can save the selected auditing setup on the speech analytics platform, allowing for quick quality checks after introducing targeted coaching and additional training.
With the help of speech analytics automatic reporting, the QA team can extract information about the agents who made the greatest impact on the given KPIs and focus on them in an audit to provide additional support.
An iQor team improved compliance scorecard KPIs by almost 50% for a client in the banking industry by using script monitoring within the speech analytics solution to detect and verify variations from the compliance script.
2. Referrals From Quality Assurance Teams
Supervisors review the marked interactions they receive from Quality Assurance and determine which ones call for immediate attention through additional training and coaching support.
3. Search With Filters and Topics
When supervisors learn that more calls than expected have extended periods of silence, last longer than usual, or exhibit variations from the agents’ scripts, they can search for calls according to metrics thresholds, interactions where the expected topic was not detected, or both.
The speech analytics system will provide the supervisor with the names of agents in need of additional support and will help design coaching sessions for them.
4. Agent Scorecards and iQor’s VALDI Speech Analytics Scores
iQor’s proprietary VALDI speech analytics agent scores and KPIs defined by the client tell a supervisor how their agents are performing. The supervisor uses this information to coach agents based on specific opportunities for improvement to best meet the agents’ needs and yield better performance outcomes for the client.
A major airline wanted to monitor a particular type of agent-customer interaction. They found that agent scoring through iQor’s VALDI speech analytics was 17.25 times more effective at identifying that interaction than sampling random calls. Thanks to faster and more efficient detectability, the program’s operations team was able to quickly implement effective training and coaching opportunities to improve the interaction score’s result.
Every coaching opportunity is an occasion to help improve agent performance, customer experience, and the agent-coach relationship. Every time an agent improves their performance, it raises customer satisfaction.
With VALDI, speech analytics can be used not only to detect situations requiring special attention, but also those with a maximum quality score. Exemplary agent performance is searchable and can serve as a model for future coaching interactions.
Using Speech Analytics to Coach the Coach
Customer service speech analytics can measure the progress agents make after coaching. That progress indicates the agent’s improvement as well as the effectiveness of the supervisor’s coaching.
Designing and delivering effective coaching sessions creates an opportunity for coaches to continually improve their coaching abilities, even as they learn how to obtain data that has the greatest value for the client and the agents on their program. Accessing and analyzing the data with ease and speed enables operations teams to identify the interventions that yield the most effective long-term improvements and ensure they are prepared to address changing situations.
Call Center Speech Analytics Helps iQor Agents ‘Be More’ Through More Effective Coaching
Each VALDI speech analytics instance is operated and maintained by iQor and customized to the unique needs of each client. Today, iQor runs VALDI programs for outsourced customer service clients across various industries.
The manual call analyses of the past are now supported by innovative technology. Under one platform, coaching is supplemented by:
- Access to all calls within seconds.
- Automatic agent scoring.
- KPI measurement on an individual and global scale.
- Automatic reporting of all essential data.
- Quick information exchange between supervisors and the QA team.
Speech analytics makes day-to-day training and coaching more efficient and insightful. Results apply not only to a single agent but also contribute to the success of the entire client program. An effective and responsive training and monitoring system supports targeted adaptations based on insights gained on changing external conditions and the ongoing development of customer service agents to create smiles throughout the customer journey.
“The VALDI PCA Score* aided us with a targeted approach to improve the speed to competency of low-tenure agents mastering changes within the client program. It helped supervisors adeptly coach agents toward desired call behaviors, improving overall efficiency by 52 seconds.” – Senior Operations Manager for a client in the retail industry
*The PCA Score is a VALDI speech analytics automatic scoring system that assesses the potential for call avoidance.
Experience the Best in Speech Analytics
iQor’s proprietary speech analytics platform uses a combination of cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to extract every customer interaction for actionable data insights delivered as a custom solution with outsourced CX services.
iQor is ideally suited to help brands create amazing customer experiences. As a managed services provider of customer engagement and technology-enabled business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions, iQor provides a comprehensive suite of full-service and self-service scalable offerings that are purpose-built to deliver enterprise-quality CX.
Our award-winning CX services include:
- A global presence with 50 contact centers across 10 countries.
- A CX private cloud that maximizes performance and scales rapidly across multiple geographies on short notice.
- A partnership approach where we deploy agents and C-level executives to help maximize your ROI.
- The perfect blend of intelligent automation for scale and performance coupled with an irresistible culture comprised of people who love to delight your customers.
- Virtual and hybrid customer support options to connect with customers seamlessly, when and where they want.
- The ability to launch a customer support program quickly, even when you need thousands of agents ready to support your customers.
- A best-in-class workforce management team and supporting technology to create a centralized organization that can better serve your entire business.
iQor helps brands deliver the world’s most sought-after customer experiences. Interested in learning more about the iQor difference? If you’re ready to start a conversation with a customer experience expert, contact us to learn about how we can help you create more smiles.
Julia Kopyłowska is business intelligence analyst II at iQor. Connect with Julia on LinkedIn.
Irena Michalewicz is manager of Information Services at iQor. Connect with Irena on LinkedIn.
Monika Starczewska is director of Analytics at iQor. Connect with Monika on LinkedIn.
Joe Przybylowski is senior vice president of IT at iQor. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.