Ten Secrets of Successful Speech Analytics


Speech analytics can pay for itself in less than a year, as long as you have a blueprint that provides clarity about why you’re buying it and what you expect from it once implemented.

To reap these rewards, your organization must be willing to embrace it and prepared to establish the right processes to capitalize on the timely business intelligence it will generate.

If you’re considering investing in speech analytics, these 10 secrets will help you leverage speech analytics to match your needs and maximize the business value of your results.


Develop a team of analysts.


To leverage the full power of your speech analytics tool you must perform a variety of administrative, analytical and fact-finding tasks on an ongoing basis. The learning curve can be steep and confusing without internal or external speech analytics experts who know how to apply operational subtleties and strategies to capitalize on raw data.

Whether you tap internal resources or rely on outside consultants to manage your initiative, maximizing the technology’s capabilities requires certain skill sets. Start with stakeholders in impacted departments and build a team of inquisitive and curious analysts with a passion for analytics.

If you choose to manage the process from within, your ideal candidates are people who can toggle between left-brain (logical) thinking and right-brain (creative) thinking. Individuals who can synthesize data from both viewpoints will better analyze and articulate business opportunities and make the case for necessary changes.


Here are minimum requirements for three essential skill sets:

Depending on the depth of your internal resources, one staff member could perform multiple functions, but it’s best to train two resources in case you need a backup.

  • Administrator: Responsible for deployment of the speech analytics tool and manages all server and database connections.
  • Business Analyst: Responsible for executing all analytical tasks necessary to compile, analyze and deliver key findings of speech analytics projects to upper management.
  • Interactions Monitoring Analyst: Responsible for listening to and reviewing content of selected calls based on criteria provided by the business analyst.

Plan to leverage data to effect change.


Think in advance of actions you’ll take if you find certain phrases, patterns of phrases, and trends detected. What will you do with the significant amount of data you’ll generate? Have you appointed one or more change agents with responsibility to identify and capitalize on opportunities for change? Make sure you put processes in place that enable you to get ahead and stay ahead of the technology.


Emphasize to agents this tool is about coaching opportunities.


Agents will likely “sit up straighter” knowing all calls are being analyzed, even while they harbor suspicions about the new speech tool. But take pains to assure them speech analytics will impact them positively — both in identifying “champagne moments” to celebrate as well as helping build cultural trust within the organization.

Consider building the first speech project based on a positive business issue while identifying other process and performance issues for future projects that you can roll out once trust is established. If at some point constructive criticism is necessary, be sure to deliver it respectfully to maintain morale and minimize turnover.


Get clarity about the short and long-term business challenges you’ll target.


What is it you ultimately want to learn?

Is what you’re seeking obvious or subtle?

Why is it important?

What is your utilization strategy?


Define success measurements.


For every business challenge — whether first call resolution, agent performance, customer satisfaction or process improvements — agree on what success will look like. Identify what to measure and how to measure before the first call is analyzed. Then factor in business rules and objectives, define the endgame, and decide how to evaluate results.


Walk before you run.


Use your speech tool as a filter to access important calls to review for evidence to support a business issue or hypothesis, but it’s important to listen to those calls before jumping to any conclusions. Speech analytics is not a science.

In fact, set aside time on a regular basis to listen to recordings. Guessing about “the voice of the customer” is not a suitable substitute for hearing it. Reviewing hundreds of agent-customer conversations is a laborious task, but it’s the only way to identify the meaningful key phrases that determine customer intent and predict outcomes.


Put a sharp focus on a specific business issue.


Then start working on that issue with a single workgroup. Good candidates for first challenges include:

  • First call resolution
  • Agent performance
  • Compliance
  • Sales effectiveness
  • Customer effort
  • Customer complaints
  • Customer churn
  • Process improvements

Don’t rely solely on generic, out-of-the-box canned-phrase libraries your speech vendor provides.


Instead, customize your phrase library in a way that’s meaningful for your business environment, your customer population, and your specific objectives for speech analytics insights.

Then develop queries methodically and take time to solicit and integrate input from relevant stakeholders. The quality of your speech library will make or break your speech analytics initiative.

If your business issue is complex, such as predicting churn or improving sales methods, spend whatever time is necessary to build complex rules to identify patterns that will drive improvements. Be prepared to spend months building complex projects, starting with building a hypothesis and eventually testing against control groups.


Focus attention on both sides of the agent-customer conversation.

Focusing on what agents are telling customers ensures agents are following scripts correctly, communicating necessary information, and avoiding prohibited words and phrases. The customer side of conversations provides equal or greater value by pinpointing reasons behind customer complaints and identifying quality gaps in products, services, internal processes, and agent-customer interactions.


Establish benchmarks by performing a speech analytics content audit.


Listen to a sizable sample (typically 300 to 500) of random recordings from the appropriate business queue to determine how often a specific phrase or group of phrases occurs. Gaining a sense of how often particular business issues surface and how often related phrases are uttered provides a benchmark from which to start fine-tuning the speech engine.

If you kick off a speech analytics project without first conducting a content audit, it can lead to second-guessing the results. Without a real-world benchmark established by listening to hundreds of actual calls, you cannot be confident that, say, detecting a certain phrase in one out of every 10 calls is an accurate assessment of how often that phrase actually occurs.

Closing Thoughts
It won’t be long before contact centers that are not using speech analytics will be the exception rather than the rule. If you want a competitive advantage, the time to invest in speech is now. But make sure you create a well-thought out blueprint along with these 10 secrets for a winning combination of analytical insights.

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.