Don’t Let Speech Analytics Hold You Back: Top 5 Challenges We Continue to See

By Claire Bakken, MainTrax


In a recent Contact Center Pipeline article, MainTrax described how speech analytics can remedy some of the top challenges we often encounter in contact centers. While speech analytics can be an incredibly powerful tool when solving these enterprise issues, we commonly see organizations run into the same problems as they launch their speech analytics programs. These hurdles arise, and the initiative fails. Having implemented hundreds of successful speech analytics programs, we at MainTrax know just how to help users be well prepared to take these challenges head-on. Here are the top five challenges we continue to see when organizations are implementing speech analytics:

  1. Lack of Resources

Many organizations underestimate the resources it will take to properly manage their new tool. Organizations often fail to consider who’s clearly owning different parts of the process and misjudge the amount of people and/or bandwidth it takes to operate successfully.  They need to ask themselves: “How many people will need to manage it?” “Who will be our subject matter expert?” “How much time will it take to train someone to use it?” “Will we need new hires?” Do our current employees have the bandwidth to take on this new project?”

If these questions aren’t discussed internally prior to starting, it’s likely that your new speech system will collect dust. Roles for each part of the process need to be clearly outlined and expectations communicated.

  1. Undefined Business Objective and KPIs

You’ve probably heard Ben Franklin’s quote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Without knowing what you want to accomplish with speech analytics, including specific and measurable KPIs, you won’t see your speech tool delivering as much value as anticipated. People might have different priorities pulling the tool in various directions, and senior level leaders will want to see quantifiable results. As we tell our clients, it’s better to go deep and narrow (on an actionable, laser-focused initiative), than thin and wide. Know what challenges you want to address initially, and dive in with a plan that will show results.

  1. Chasing Issues with Low ROI

Implementing speech analytics is exciting. You finally have a tool that makes it possible to gain key business insights at the tip of your fingers.  The temptation to explore the data will be strong, and you may find yourself finding smaller issues that are distracting you from the real business objective (that you now have set up after reading #2!).   And make sure that business objective ties to an issue that impacts the bottom line.

For example, maybe in one call, an agent didn’t say “please.” While agent politeness is important (and could possibly be built into a future category, query, or model around “Agent Courtesy”), it’s not as easy to calculate how that missing “please” is tied in with an ROI. When clients ask us if they can find specific topics with their new SA tool we ask, “If we can find this information, what will you do with it?” Make sure that what you’re looking for is actionable. A plan is great, but if it’s not actually going to be acted on to create change, then maybe it’s time to think of a different objective.

  1. Obsession with Wrong Stuff

One of the most important aspects of speech analytics is accepting the fact that it’s not a perfect science or tool. While we live in the age of AI and instant gratification, many people who implement their new tool expect the transcripts to be perfect, the data to be 100% correct, and the recordings to be spotless. If you have those expectations, you’ll always be let down. Instead of obsessing over what the tool is missing, focus on how much closer you are to hearing conversations at the pulse of your business and what you now have access to. Just think, without this tool, your QA team might still be listening to only one call per agent per week…if that!

  1. No Plan for Continuous Improvement

Goals, initiatives, and focus of business direction can change quite frequently in an organization. As new ideas come up, make sure that they’re not distracting from the current use of your speech tool while also maintaining flexibility to evolve with organizational needs. When there’s no plan in place for long term sustainability of your speech tool, we commonly see the focus being pulled in multiple directions, KPIs and metrics losing significance, a lack of feedback, and roles beginning to be blurred.

To prevent this from happening, know who’s managing the maintenance of the tool, have a process in place for long term development, and create scheduled calibration periods to evaluate the focus, strength and effectiveness of your speech analytics program.

Many of these challenges in our list tie together—as do many challenges in organizations. When one piece of the puzzle is missing, it often turns other elements of a successful process into a challenge as well.

MainTrax has helped dozens of clients work through these challenges and created customized speech analytics programs that build on a strong foundation with an effective process in place. To make the most out of your tool, evaluate your resource dependencies, create a vision to focus on specific business objectives, make sure your concentration of the tool is actionable, obsess over the important things, and plan for the future.

About MainTrax
MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics professional services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.