Voice Solves for a Missed Opportunity with Customer Service and AI

As contact centers look increasingly at differentiation with personalization, task automation, and artificial intelligence, with the ultimate goals of maximizing revenue, reducing churn, increasing brand loyalty and employee engagement/efficiency, and delivering cost efficiencies, it's crucial that they consider the hugely valuable insights available in the conversations that are taking place daily. However this is often overlooked.

While trying to improve call times and customer satisfaction and track or implement company-wide standards, it is imperative for them to analyze and tap into the wealth of information within captured voice data from call recordings of conversations taking place within the contact center and the wider organization. For example, a call might originate in the call center but be resolved by another team, and sight of the customer journey is lost. A recent survey of CIOs and other IT leaders showed that on average, fewer than 50 percent of organization-wide conversations are being captured. This is a significant oversight. Unless all conversation is captured, organizations are failing to understand the true voice of the customer. Furthermore, if organizations are not equipped to record the conversations that occur, they miss out on insights surrounding transactions. This results in businesses acting upon incomplete, or worse, incorrect, insights about customers.

As transcription, machine learning, and artificial intelligence make leaps and bounds in sophistication, organizations now have a significant business opportunity to take advantage of voice data at scale in both structured and unstructured format, especially in customer service, a part of the enterprise where voice is a key component. Voice is an especially salient data point; it can convey intent, sentiment, emotion, action, and context, all of which are often difficult to discern in other forms of data.

Additionally, 55 percent of those surveyed stated that their customer service departments could benefit from better analysis of voice data. Unfortunately, a mere 8 percent believe the voice data their organization is capturing is easily accessible for fueling AI engines and analytics. This is a staggering gap between the potential value seen and the current reality of achieving that value. So why are 92 percent of organizations unwilling or unable to tap into these valuable insights at the tips of their fingers?

The first issue is that voice data is rarely ever stored in one cohesive place. Even in data-driven organizations, voice data is often locked away in a complicated mix of cloud and on-premises telecom systems, far away from providing any insight or value. The second issue is that voice has been hard to analyze at scale in an unstructured form. Once an organization is collecting contact center voice data, analysis would quickly become impossible with a large enough data set, providing that data is accessible. Indeed 84 percent of organisations we surveyed expressed that it is pivotal to their voice strategies to have an open API approach, allowing freedom and options, feeding voice data into tools and applications of their choice and, crucially, not tying them to one provider.

Luckily, with recent technological advancements, all is not lost for these organizations. By making a conscious decision to record all customer interactions happening in the workplace, organizations would already be ahead of the pack. Finding a solution that can capture and transcribe voice data throughout the enterprise, fuel AI to improve the customer experience, and drive business and process improvements is more pertinent now than ever before and makes analyzing unstructured voice data at scale a true possibility.

One particularly difficult data point to discern when analyzing information is sentiment. As technology advances, sentiment analysis is now something that can be done accurately without taking an unreasonable amount of time. Sarcasm, skepticism, and other emotions are difficult to obtain from simply reading transcriptions. However, if the recording is available, it is significantly easier to understand the subjective context of what is being said. This allows for a more accurate analysis and benefits the bottom line of any organization looking to improve processes.

Improving the quality and cost-efficiency of the customer service department should be a priority for any forward-thinking organization. As technology advances to allow for more capabilities around analyzing the data from the customer service department, organizations should make sure they are collecting and storing this data properly to take full advantage of the presented opportunity, with information that is already there, untapped. As the recent survey shows, organizations that make the most of their voice data for the departments that need it the most are poised to gain a significant competitive advantage.

Richard Stevenson is CEO of Red Box, a provider of enterprise voice technology. He brings more than 20 years of experience working in the software and financial services sector to his role.