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Avaya adds real-time speech analytics to contact centers

Avaya updated its workforce optimization suite to include real-time speech analytics and automated agent evaluations, playing catch-up with vendors such as Cisco, Genesys and Five9.

Avaya has updated its workforce optimization software for contact centers, adding real-time speech analytics and automated quality management tools. The vendor also released new data privacy features to help businesses comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The workforce optimization upgrades are Avaya's latest initiative to bring AI and automation to the contact center. In April, the vendor announced a partnership with the startup Afiniti for intelligent call routing.

All major contact center vendors have begun investing in workforce optimization, either through native software development or partnerships with other vendors, said Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

The upgrades Avaya highlighted this week should help contact center customers increase sales and boost customer satisfaction, but they are not revolutionary, Gareiss said. Instead, businesses can already get the same tools from legacy vendors such as Cisco and Genesys, as well as cloud startups such as Five9.

"Without these announcements, Avaya would fall behind," Gareiss said. "And given it's the platform for so many huge contact centers around the world, it's crucial for Avaya to continue to improve agent evaluation through speech analytics, as well as formal customer feedback and ratings."

Some startups in the contact center market have placed workforce optimization at the core of their offerings. The cloud vendor Sharpen Technologies Inc., for example, uses a customizable algorithm to rate agents and uses an AI platform to monitor and flag trends within the contact center.

"Workforce optimization has become a huge area of focus for customer engagement," Gareiss said. "It's really all about making the contact center agents more productive and efficient to provide continuously improving customer experience."

Avaya tries to keep pace with competitors

Avaya's real-time speech analytics software will help businesses monitor conversations between agents and customers. The system can provide helpful contextual information to agents during the call, or suggest next steps based on the customer's tone or word choice.

The tool can also alert managers to conversations that require immediate intervention, such as if an agent fails to get the proper consents or provide the necessary compliance disclosures, at the outset of a discussion with a customer.

Avaya highlighted real-time speech analytics as one tool for monitoring GDPR compliance within a contact center. The vendor also added a feature that will let businesses securely delete recordings in response to "right to be forgotten" requests.

Meanwhile, a new quality management system can automatically evaluate agents after every customer interaction, freeing managers of a time-consuming task.

Businesses must purchase a separate license to use Avaya's workforce optimization tools, which are sold individually and as a suite. Avaya's contact center customers can install the software in their data centers or subscribe to it as a hosted cloud service.

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