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Analytics help contact centres understand how customers feel

By Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 14 May 2021
Alex Robson, senior manager of international marketing, CallMiner.
Alex Robson, senior manager of international marketing, CallMiner.

Contact centres are facing a growing challenge of managing emotionally charged customers across multiple channels, at a time when customer satisfaction is a key business differentiator.

This is according to Alex Robson, senior manager of international marketing at CallMiner and Brian LaRoche, marketing mirector of CallMiner, who were speaking in a webinar on speech and emotion analytics.

Robson highlighted the findings of the recent ITWeb Speech and Emotion Analytics survey, which found that 92% of local respondents record customer conversations, but that over 30% of them are not analysing calls. “A staggering 80% of all respondents agreed there was a need to identify and score the emotional attributes of customer employee interactions,” she said.

Robson said: “The survey also looked at current challenges, and found that over 80% agreed that their agents were dealing with more emotionally driven customers, and nearly 90% agreed agents are dealing with more vulnerable customers. Dealing with these customers isn’t easy, and over 70% of respondents said they are finding it difficult to train agents to cope.”

Conversation analytics that measures emotion, delivers far richer and more nuanced analysis than just sentiment analysis, and has become an important tool to accurately gauge how customers really feel and how agents respond to different emotions, in order to identify and correct problem areas and ultimately improve both the customer and agent experience, they said.

“Many customer experience projects do overlook emotion, even though it is one of the most important components of CX. It is crucial to making customers feel valued,” said Robson.

LaRoche noted that it was important to analyse interactions across the omnichannel environment to achieve a full customer journey view, and to understand which channels and types of communications produced the greatest customer satisfaction, and the root causes for these results.

Brian LaRoche, marketing director, CallMiner.
Brian LaRoche, marketing director, CallMiner.

“Self-service channels might reduce the number of calls to the contact centre, but these calls become longer because of their complexity, and your agents have to become super agents to manage them. This is why you need to understand both the voice of the customer and the voice of your employee," he said.

"Emotion analysis looks at the customer journey, the context of the interaction, the spoken and written words used, right through to the use of emojis and acoustical analysis, which notes factors like the microtremors in the voice and, importantly, silences.” 

The insights from analytics can then be used to improve both contact centre performance and the automated channel experience across IVR, chatbots, automated attendance, surveys and web self-service portals, he said.

Conversation and speech analytics also help address the challenges of managing agents in a hybrid or work from home environment. 

“It is really important to understand employee profiles, what the state of mind is of work from home agents," said LaRoche. "What we are seeing is companies are challenged in managing agents at the office and home in a consistent manner, looking after their wellbeing and mental health, getting performance and productivity consistency, understanding the root causes of quality management issues, assigning and tracking individual and team suggestions for improvement, and enabling agent self-coaching and creating a culture of quality at all levels.”