NICE Engage Lets Agents Meet Customers' Needs in Real Time

NICE Systems is betting that meeting the needs of today's demanding customers can be greatly improved with the real-time analytics featured in the company's new Engage Platform. Offering speech analytics and voice biometrics in real time, Engage is intended to help agents provide better customer service by serving up information instantaneously.

"Customer expectations are greater than ever before. They want immediate answers, and organizations need to be available," says Matthew Storm, director of strategy and innovation at NICE Systems. "[Customers] are looking for [contact center] employees to have a human touch and also be experts in their field. With expectations that high, we feel that the contact center needs to move beyond traditional approaches to more of a real-time engagement center."

Real-time speech analytics is a big draw for organizations looking to squash problems proactively and immediately. Storm points out that, traditionally, customer interactions have been recorded and stored. Sentiment understanding is a big part of Engage's real-time speech analytics, which analyzes words and phrases for triggers, such as "I hate this," or detects if a caller's voice pitch rises or if he is talking at the same time as the agent.

With the Engage release, real-time analysis of an interaction allows agents to do a number of things for the customer right on the spot. "The system is listening for certain words, phrases, and pieces of sentiment, that when they build up, alert an agent to maybe offer a customer a concession or try to get them to move to a different plan, based on the churn indicators that they're speaking about."

In addition to speech analytics, Storm says there could be a number of factors influencing an agent's actions.For example, there could be times where an agent won't want to offer a particular cross-sell opportunity unless the customer says certain words or phrases. But the caller could also be a platinum customer from a particular region. "The first part is the things that the customer is saying, but the other information is actually data points that are deep into the CRM system. The combination of those things would trigger an alert, not just speech," Storm says.

Engage also offers other benefits, Storm says, such as lower total cost of ownership, since the solution includes an all-in-one recording server for not just voice, but also screen, video, archiving and streaming. And while NICE launched its speech analytics technology a little over a year ago, Engage takes it a step further by scaling that ability to thousands of agents.

"This is about the scalability of the solution to be able to not just record voice, but record screen activity or video interactions and being able to stream that in real time. In the past, those things were possible, but now with the scalability of Engage, companies can add 5,000 channels on a single server, a tenfold improvement," Storm says.

Additionally, Engage offers improved latency between the time the analysis of speech is occurring to the time it triggers an alert to the agent. Other speech analytics might identify fraud or churn, but it might take 10 to 20 seconds to understand intent, trigger an alert, and give it to an agent. Engage does this in real time.

The third piece of Engage covers risk and compliance using NICE's voice biometrics technology, launched in May. NICE Real-Time Authentication provides caller verification that can increase agent metrics by cutting down on handle time, lowering fraud, and improving customer experience overall. "This is looking for known fraudsters through voice prints and alerting the agent in real time. On the other side, it authenticates customers who have been passively enrolled, making the process of authentication quicker and saving a significant amount of time," Storm says.

"The biggest takeaway about NICE Engage is the need for organizations to evaluate traditional contact center methods and think about each and every one of them and how they can be done in real time," Storm says.