Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Nexidia Launches New Speech Analytics Solution for the Call Center

August 17, 2009

Speech analytics solutions for the call center can bring tremendous value to organizations, providing they are implemented and used properly. With these powerful software applications, companies can “mine” vast volumes of recorded interactions in order to gain new insights into agent performance as well as customer behavior. In turn these insights can be used to drive key businesses decisions.

But companies have been slow to adopt speech analytics solutions for a variety of reasons: First, the software licenses can be expensive – second, there is the high cost of implementation. Speech analytics solutions are typically integrated in with other call center systems. Not only do they need to be integrated in with the call center’s call recording/monitoring system, they are also typically used in conjunction with other systems that track agent performance (such as screen capture), as well as systems that track customer activity, such as CRM, and customer opinions, such as surveys. As such, speech analytics is typically not a standalone solution – the insights gathered must be combined with other data in order to arrive at a more holistic view of call center performance and customer satisfaction. This means integration is required – and integration, as most companies already know, can often be complex, time consuming and costly.

Third, there is the matter of return on investment. Just like any software tool, the value of speech analytics to any organization is directly related to how effectively it is used (in other words, how effective someone is at interpreting the results in the context of a company’s operations) and what efficiencies are gained as a result. With speech analytics, you have to know what you are looking for in order to be able to find it. And once a trend or pattern is uncovered, there is the task of figuring out what it means, whether or not it is of significance, and whether or not it warrants some sort of an adjustment or reaction on the part of the organization.

As a result, companies have often had to employ analysts or at the very least software experts who have the technical skills to be able to interpret the data -- as well as how to combine it with other data to arrive at meaningful insights that drive positive change. The need for additional technical support, in turn, drives up the cost of using the system -- and even then an organization might not discover anything that results in efficiencies and/or added revenue.

But vendors are now making inroads at eliminating or at least reducing these barriers to adoption. Increasingly speech analytics vendors are offering “out-of-the-box” solutions that are many times simpler to deploy and use – and which make the results much easier to interpret.

Speech analytics and call recording software company Nexidia, for example, recently announced the launch of ESP, a new speech analytics software application that provides improved -- and more simplified -- filtering so that companies can uncover only those trends which are truly important. The system reportedly sports an intuitive user interface that makes it easier to set-up and use compared to other solutions. In addition it offers improved reporting capabilities that make it easier for users to present data in a clear and meaningful manner.

According to the company, Nexidia ESP simplifies the challenge of system set-up by answering the question, “How do I even know where to start my analysis?” right from the get-go. By combining new techniques in unstructured language analysis with patented phonetic indexing and search process, the system is able to automatically identify potential issues or trouble spots that need further investigation.
Nexidia claims ESP’s automated diagnostics helps companies quickly arrive at a logical “starting point” for carrying out analysis. From there they can drill more deeply into their audio using the company’s flagship product, Enterprise Speech Intelligence (ESI). Results from Nexidia ESP can be transferred directly into Nexidia ESI’s query technology and applied consistently across the call center to address business requirements like reducing call volumes, increasing customer satisfaction and improving first call resolution rates.

The company points out that the system can be used for continuous and automated agent monitoring in the call center to uncover issues with agent performance. It can be set up so that alerts are sent automatically to call center managers in the event an agent is going “off track” in any particular agent-customer interaction. For example, if the system is programmed to “spot” any of George Carlen’s “seven dirty words you can’t say on TV,” and an agent uses one of those words, an alert can be automatically sent to the manager in enough time so that the manager can manually intervene and steer the call to successful fruition.

As Nexidia points out in a press release, each company has its own unique language and phraseology, which can include product names, marketing promotions and other industry terminology that customers and call center agents use when in conversation. The company claims Nexidia ESP automatically scans through relevant information to compile a robust, company-specific set of the terms and phrases that are most likely to be significant. When combined with the generic vocabulary for a given language, this generates a custom vocabulary of the most interesting and insightful topics that may appear in the conversations. This whole process is performed automatically, with no user input, and can be run periodically to update the vocabulary as new terminology develops.
As with other speech analytics solutions, the system can be used to detect periods of silence during a conversation (often a sign that something’s gone awry) as well as varying degrees of “stress,” depending on how the system is configured and what thresholds have been set.

In addition the system provides “visual reports” to help customers interpret the results. Snapshots show at a glance which topics are currently the most important, and trend analysis shows which topics are either increasing or decreasing in rank. What’s more, relationship charts show which topics are most closely aligned with each other.

Finally, the company points out that a user can listen to any single call, behind any result, and drill down into it to find out what is really going on with either the agent or the customer in that particular interaction.

“With Nexidia ESP, we are now helping customers identify those critical contact center operations issues faster than ever before, so they can make decisions to improve their bottom lines,” said John Willcutts, president and chief executive officer of Nexidia, in a release. “Nexidia ESP is further evidence of our commitment to make speech analytics an integral part our customers’ investment in business intelligence.”

Nexidia made news in July when it released version 8.0 of its Enterprise Speech Intelligence (ESI) solution.

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Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard