speech analytics

Speech analytics is the process of analyzing voice recordings or live customer calls to contact centers with speech recognition software to find useful information and provide quality assurance. Speech analytics software identifies words and analyzes audio patterns to detect emotions and stress in a speaker's voice.

The field is one of the fastest-growing segments in the call center management technology market.

Speech analytics use cases

Speech analytics technologies are often used during customer interactions in call centers to identify things like the reason for the call, the products mentioned and the caller's mood. Speech analytics tools can enable a business to take action on otherwise less usable information from customer service calls and gain insights about customers that may rarely come up in volunteer surveys.

If speech analytics tools are used effectively, the software can do the following:

  • Analyze phrases used by customers to quickly identify their needs, wants and expectations.
  • Indicate ways that call center agents and the business can improve.
  • Analyze the effect of sales and marketing initiatives.
  • Focus on any operational issues in the contact center.

How speech analytics works

Real-time speech analytics tools can be used during a customer service call to provide scripted answers based on previous calls about similar issues. They can also alert supervisors when a situation may need to be escalated, based on the caller's tone or inflection.

Post-call speech analytics often starts with the transcription of calls into searchable, actionable data. A speech engine performs the initial analysis and converts the data into a series of phonemes -- small phonetic sounds. The results are indexed and searchable via a query engine and can be viewed via dashboards and generated into reports to help users drill down into and filter results.

Post-contact tools can also enable agents and managers to forward calls to individuals for further analysis to address recurring issues, as a quality control measure.

Benefits and challenges of speech analytics tools

While speech analytics can be used to monitor and coach call center agents, as well as assist them in managing customers and their data, there can be issues as well.

Benefits of speech analytics include the following:

  • Call monitoring capabilities that can identify selling opportunities, track regulatory compliance, and identify operational and performance issues.
  • Agent coaching that can improve first call resolution and shorten call times.

Challenges of speech analytics include the following:

  • Hiring skilled business analysts and data scientists to engage in data mining and analysis.
  • Implementing a change management process that enables business analysts to fully utilize information gained from calls.

Editor's note: This article was written by Jacqueline Biscobing in 2018. TechTarget editors revised it to improve the reader experience.

This was last updated in May 2023

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