Technology has evolved to the point where it can transform human engagement.
There have been astonishing advances in technology. On the medical frontier, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can predict health issues before they become long-term health challenges, can reduce human error in diagnostics, and analyse datasets to detect health trends. It’s redefining how humanity engages with the planet by predicting volcanic eruptions and even changing how humans engage with the technology itself. And it is transforming how people connect with call centres – shifting the frustration dynamic and replacing it with rewarding conversations and true problem resolution by using insights and coaching techniques to redefine the contact centre experience.
“Speech analytics technology now has the power to automatically listen to the voice of the customer and the agent, and to provide contact centre with credible, quantifiable data that will allow them to understand their people,” says Rod Jones, Industry Analyst and Callbi Brand Ambassador at Callbi. “The technology of speech analytics is now at the point where the insights it provides can significantly enhance contact centre performance by providing agents with the support they need to perform well and to truly thrive. Similarly, insights generated by this technology provides the C-suite with true business intelligence on which to base strategic and tactical decisions .”
The agent is perhaps the ultimate vanguard of the organisation. They are the front line where customer loyalty either lives or dies. It’s a tough position, made even more complex by the factors that drive the customer’s call in the first place – an unresolved issue, a service problem – as these are rarely positive and require careful handling to ensure the customer remains on our side. In the past, agent performance was measured by random call sampling, often inappropriate quality assurance methods and inaccurate, productivity biased metrics.
“It’s important to help agents develop skills that support customer experiences, but so much of what happens in the creation of a great customer experience is difficult to measure and has been impacted by poor sampling methods and limited insights,” says Gary Segal, Founder and CEO of Game On Performance Solutions. “Traditionally only a few calls are pulled out of an agent’s day when they are sampled, which means that any issues found are not necessarily going to be relevant or accurate. A mistake found on one call is not a pattern, is not the right way to assess a person’s skills or engagement.”
Coaching should not be a disciplinary conversation. It should be about skills development. It should be giving an agent the skills they need to be successful when they encounter complex calls so they achieve the outcomes they want. To help them find the right route towards resolution for the customer.
“Coaching needs to be about building empathy, connecting with customers, building pathways to engagement,” says Segal. “These are skills that can’t just be put in a call guide, they require coaching that’s designed to help people grow these relational capabilities in measurable ways that deliver long term results. You want your customers to start at one point in a call and then end in a place where they are happy, and their issues are resolved. This is how coaching can connect your people to your data.”
And how you connect your data to your people is through technology. Now, with deep data diving and analytics every conversation out of thousands can be analysed and assessed using metrics, keywords and insights. Instead of only a tiny percentage of calls – often as little as only 2.1% of calls – checked for quality assurance, every call ever made can be analysed properly and provide decision makers, coaches and agents with information that’s relevant and that can guide future skills development conversations.
“Speech analytics is a game changer, now we can listen to every call and use this information to train both the agents and the coaches,” says Jones. “You can pick up trends and then coach around those trends to build an agent workforce that’s more connected and more engaged. This is real value – fixing the real gaps that exist in agent communications.”
By providing agents with the right tools that fit the right situations, companies can transform contact centre range as well as customer experiences. If an agent connects with a customer and resolves their issues seamlessly, then they are more likely to be able to upsell or cross-sell and drive quality outcomes. Without insights that can fundamentally help agents address their pain points or problem areas, it’s impossible to generate tangible change.
“Imagine a sports coach that has never watched a team play trying to coach them,” says Segal. “How could you refine a technique if you’ve never seen a player use it? This is the problem that contact centres struggle with – they know they’ve won or lost the customer, but they don’t know why.”
“It is not an impossible task,” Jones says. “Speech analytics are capable of taking every conversation down to the data and insights level so that every business can see the game. Decision makers can see how to transform the contact centre from a cost-centre, a grudge spend that’s not very bright to a value or profit centre that delivers a bottom-line in terms of measurable return on human and capital investment.”