Augmented intelligence
Aug 23, 2017

Have I resolved your query to your satisfaction?

I have recently been asked this question at the end of my calls with two different service providers.

I found the first interaction to be incredibly frustrating. The agent and even his supervisor had asked me the same question multiple times. It took me nearly half an hour just to get $20 off my bill after a billing error. On top of the time spent, the agent wasn't very polite, so I was very honest in my answer. I told them “no”, explained why, and then politely hung up.

The second time, the agent quickly resolved my problem. Even though he lacked empathy, I just answered “yes” when he asked me if I was satisfied.

This seems to be a growing trend. Organizations try to gauge customer satisfaction by putting their customers on the spot. I believe that most consumers will only share their true feelings when their experience is completely unexpected, be that in a good way or a bad way. However, for a majority of resolved interactions, most consumers are likely to just say “yes”, even if they were unsatisfied by an agent's lack of empathy, efficiency or anything else.

The issue here isn't that customers are being put on the spot, but rather that organizations are losing sight of the real intent of these surveys – to collect honest feedback from consumers and find opportunities to improve.

Being a customer services professional, I understand why companies have turned to this method; the response rate of post-call surveys, regardless of the medium, is very low. Is there a better way to get meaningful and honest insight, without making the customer uncomfortable?

Speech analytics can do precisely that – with no effort from the customer.

While this technology has been around for a while, its historical application has been to look for key words or phrases to identify agent coaching and improvement opportunities. With continued advancements in technologies, like sentiment analysis and emotion detection, its application potential has skyrocketed. For example, a large financial institution reduced their incoming complaints by 12% through improved classification using speech analytics and another financial institution achieved over $0.5M recurring savings by identifying call types that were driving customer complaints and applying agent coaching and training to those call types.

Many organizations have also either fully or partially automated their call quality process – using speech analytics - allowing for significantly increasing the size of call sampling for quality evaluation while reducing cost. Building upon that, they can now start to measure customer satisfaction – both in real time as well as after the interaction - instead of relying solely on surveys. I am not advocating that we get rid of surveys completely. Rather, I'm suggesting we complement them with speech analytics to offset the low survey response rates.

We know the inherent issues with the post-call surveys sent to customers via email. By the time the consumer responds to them, their memory of the interaction has faded, making the feedback irrelevant. Additionally, by that point their feedback is influenced by other interactions they've had with the organization, be it through the product, store, or any other department. Additionally, there are times customer may not “sound” unhappy but they express dissatisfaction through words or phrases and at times, they may express dissatisfaction in their tone without reflecting it in words or phrases. By combining voice and text analytics, speech analytics allows capturing of the holistic customer sentiment. Therefore, beyond the obvious benefits of high response rate and keeping the customer comfortable, speech analytics provides contextual and interaction-relevant feedback that is more actionable.

I think speech analytics is just entering adolescence – well positioned for significant growth and success. Please share what you are currently using speech analytics for, and your thoughts on its potential.

About the author

Akhil Tayal

Akhil Tayal

Assistant Vice President, Omnichannel Customer Acquisition & Servicing

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