Thanks to the fact that they are more accurate and simpler to use than they were a few years ago, speech analytics solutions are seeing increasing adoption in the call center. Also driving adoption is the fact that enterprises are starting to see the value of mining their recorded agent-customer interactions for the purpose of uncovering trends and gaining new insights into both customer and agent behavior.
A new report from analyst firm Ovum (News
) predicts that spending on speech analytics will double, growing from around $95 million in 2009 to $180 million by 2014.
"Spending on speech analytics will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 13.5 percent between 2009 and 2014," said Aphrodite Brinsmead, Ovum analyst and report author, in a release. "Companies have shown significantly more interest in the technology as they begin to understand the business case. Consequently they can now justify the costs despite tightening IT budgets. Vendors have increased their market education efforts, in addition to offering flexible pricing and scaled-down versions of the solutions. This makes speech analytics more accessible, laying the foundations for increased adoption."
The report predicts that "speech analytics will grow in importance over the next few years, helping businesses to improve customer loyalty and processes."
Driving adoption of today's speech analytics solutions is the fact that they are many times more accurate - and simple to use - compared to earlier solutions. Thanks to major advancements in the algorithms used to interpret speech, these automated systems now enable organizations to "mine" their recorded calls to learn details about both their customers and their agents. However, unlike the speech analytics solutions of a few years ago, which were mainly used to perform simple "word spotting" in recorded conversations, today's solutions can identify the context of what is being said, giving organizations the ability to more accurately categorize calls and gain new insights into customer and agent behavior. In fact, these systems can now actually detect emotions, giving organizations a powerful new way to gauge calls while they are in progress.
Today's speech analytics solutions have uses beyond just improving agent performance. In fact, it can be argued that they have just as much value as a strategic planning tool as they do in improving agent performance. That's mainly because today's solutions are capable of mining all of the call data, as opposed to just a small percentage of it, which enables organizations to see a more accurate view of the "big picture," including trends in customer behavior. As a result, speech analytics are increasingly being used by executives in sales, marketing and operations to increase revenue, reduce costs, increase customer retention and improve the overall performance of the call center. Once the province of large enterprises only, speech analytics solutions have come down in price and are many times more user friendly, thus they are starting to see strong adoption in the small to medium-sized business segment.
Although speech analytics is proving its value, the Ovum report points out that nevertheless "the technology is not yet essential for a call center to function" and therefore "is unlikely to become a core, must-have technology like call recording or QM any time soon."