Is voice analytics the future of tech support call centers? — Your help desk staff would certainly have an easier time doing their jobs if your callers would say exactly what they were thinking at all times. Unfortunately, human beings tend to hide their true thoughts and emotions, making it harder for call center employees to identify the best ways to achieve caller satisfaction. For companies using outsourced technical support, the potential for difficulties is even greater, as these call center operatives may have a harder time picking up on voice cues due to a lack of cultural understanding.
A new technology known as voice analytics is offering help desk operators a solution to this problem. According to an <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/business/in-a-mood-call-center-agents-can-tell.html” data-cke-saved-href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/business/in-a-mood-call-center-agents-can-tell.html”>article in the New York Times</a>, companies like the Israeli start-up Beyond Verbal have begun marketing voice analytics as a way of reading customer emotions in real-time.
The new technology certainly offers some exciting prospects: if the software functions as advertised, it would allow help desk operators to provide their call center employees with predetermined responses based on the emotions a customer is expressing at the time, or even the underlying personality of the caller. On an individual level, call center employees would become better at understanding what customers are feeling, and therefore better at helping them solve their problems in a satisfactory manner.
From a company-wide perspective, voice analytics technology could potentially be used to track trends and events across the entire call log. If hundreds of your customers suddenly start getting angry all at once, voice analytics promises the ability to identify the source of that trend quickly, so that your company can immediately start addressing it. This increased ability to identify and respond to customer sentiment could potentially help your company save money and protect its reputation.
At the same time, the new technology is not without its fair share of skeptics. Critics from both the academic and business worlds have criticized the science behind voice analytics products.
For some, it is still too early to determine whether the technology is a valid method of gaining customer insight or just an expensive novelty. Others argue that using voice analytics in call centers is a violation of customer privacy, and furthermore, may actually cause call center employees to make arbitrary or discriminatory decisions based on inaccurate conclusions.
So will call center employees across the world soon be using voice analytics to better “read” customers as they call in? It may be too soon to say. Like any new technology, voice analytics has both its supporters and detractors. Only time will tell how valid the technology really is, and how effective it can be in call center settings.
<em>Would your company use voice analytics? Let us know what you think!</em>