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Contact centres are all about providing the best service. This means keeping a close eye on emerging solutions and changing technology to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. While quality management is not a new concept in the call centre, speech analytics is emerging as the latest trend revolutionising the way the highest quality, most efficient and customer-centric service is maintained.

A significant amount of time and resources have been poured into call monitoring over the years yet this remains a fundamental challenge for call centres. This process relies heavily on human input, making it time-consuming and expensive. In 2018, the global call recording market spend was estimated at $800m and continues to grow.  In addition, only a handful of calls can be listened to each day which, while useful when it comes to KPI scores for agents, does not provide a holistic picture of what is happening in a call centre.

This is where advancements in technology, and specifically artificial intelligence (AI) come in. With the development of speech analytics, it is now possible to automatically transcribe all calls that come through a contact centre and analyse these to get a better understanding of the service being provided to customers as well as identify trends in queries or issues.

Through the use of a speech analytics solution, such as the one offered by 1Stream, it is possible to not only identify key words and phrases, but also moments of silence as well as instances where there are speech collisions (i.e. where the customer and agent overlap in speaking).

This can assist in determining the level of customer satisfaction based on the language used, and can also ensure compliance requirements are met (e.g. for calls where specific scripts need to be followed). Specific calls can then be flagged for further assessment or intervention by a team member or manager where relevant.

When it comes to overall business objectives, key word and phrase analysis through a speech analytics solution can provide invaluable support to a call centre. Trends can be easily highlighted and steps can then be taken to address an issue, improve a service or provide essential customer care. For example, if there are a significant number of calls within a short space of time that share a common phrase such a ‘no internet’ or ‘broken fibre’, a call centre can quickly identify the trend and ensure the best course of action is taken to remedy the situation.

While the technology for speech analytics in the call centre has been available in the market for some time, there have been a number of barriers to entry that have restricted its uptake in the South African market. Most notably, the costs have been prohibitively high. In addition, the available solutions have been through international providers meaning that recordings have to be sent abroad for analysis exposing organisations to compliance risks, and the language packages used are not completely suited to the local market as they are either UK or US English based.

However, this is about to change through the introduction of a local solution provided by 1Stream, the leading provider of cloud contact centre technology in South Africa. With a tailor-made language pack developed specifically for the South African market, a local solution means a more cost-effective and accessible option for South African businesses to harness the power of speech analytics in their contact centres.