My last blog discussed the importance of delivering an outstanding (or even just good) experience throughout the entire customer journey. As a matter of good business policy, companies should be delivering outstanding service every step of the way and through every touch, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) exists to ensure companies treat customers with fairness and integrity. This watchdog US government agency was established to protect consumers from bad business practices. It’s a pity that all companies do not always seem to do right by their customers, as we’ve just seen with the large financial penalties – ranging from $43 million to $105 million – levied on some US mobile carriers. Given the technologies available today, there is no longer any reasonable excuse for not paying attention to customers’ needs.
Speech Analytics Saves the Day
I’m a huge fan of an application called speech analytics because it provides insights into customer needs and wants and can also reduce risk for the organization. (Of course, the organization has to want to hear what its customers are saying for the solution to be valuable.) Speech analytics works by converting unstructured free-form phone conversations into metadata that can be analyzed. There are two forms of speech analytics available in the market today:
- Post-call speech analytics, which records calls and analyzes conversations after
- Real-time speech analytics, which analyzes conversations as they are happening
In recent cases handled by the CFPB, had the companies been using speech analytics on a formal basis, where the findings are shared with senior executives, it would have been a lot harder for them to be unaware of the cacophony of complaints coming from their customers. Speech analytics cannot prevent a company from violating regulations or mishandling customer complaints, but it can surface the issues quickly and make it harder to ignore the inappropriate activity, thereby reducing company risk.
Speech Analytics Uses
Here is how speech analytics should be deployed in order for companies to mitigate the risk of legal and regulatory violations:
- Script adherence – to ensure that agents say the right things when customers complain about unsolicited and unwelcome charges on their bills
- Consent verification – to prove that customers consented to services and fees
- Root cause analysis – to identify why customers are calling and complaining
- Trend analysis – to track calling trends on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
- Real-time – to enable intervention in real time when a customer is very unhappy
Using speech analytics in these ways will better position a company to avoid paying millions in refunds and fines, but it takes more than technology to prevent these types of mistakes. Companies must be prepared to apply the findings from speech analytics, and other analytics applications, in order to enhance the customer experience and reduce their own risk.
Donna Fluss (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the president of DMG Consulting, a provider of contact center, analytics and back-office market research and consulting.