How voice analytics, coupled with social analytics, can be the canary in your service coal mine

Gauging the attitude of a large number of customers is no easy task. What appears in social media may on occasion not reflect a real issue or even a real sentiment (although it might reflection the perception of customers, which, of course, can be just as positive or negative for your business as reality). But, if you can corroborate the problems that customers raise in social media with complaints to your call center, then you can be sure that what you’re hearing is real and demands your attention.

That was the message I heard today at CRM Evolution from Dr. Daniel Ziv of Verint. Verint is all about speech analytics – CRM Evolution’s concurrent sister show, SpeechTek, is a major event for that community – and their product line spans everything from homeland security to call center optimization. One of the emerging markets for the company is the use of voice to determine the sentiment of customers calling service.

Naturally, most of that sentiment is not of a happy variety – but some unhappy customers tell a more important story than others, especially when they call in significant numbers. The Verint product allows managers to search conversations for key works, and after aggregating the conversations that contain those words, allows you to play them back. The text of the call is displayed, with a color-coded system of emphasizing emotion in the text as the call plays.

A neat trick, eh? But, like in all things CRM, the business use is far more interesting than the technology. By examining calls on a regular basis for certain keywords, IT managers can monitor processes and make modifications to improve the customer experience. For example, if the word “password” comes up an inordinate amount in calls, then it might be time to examine the password process on the site and look for ways to improve it.

The system can also bring in sentiment monitoring data from social media channels, so that a more complete view of customer reactions. As useful as that is, said Ziv, voice has a quality all its own.

“Executives seem to have the ability to dismiss social media complaints,” he said, “but if you can play back one or two or 10 calls complaining about the same thing, then it’s impossible for them to ignore it.”

Thus, voice monitoring can help with executive buy-in to help remedy service process issues, which in turn reduces pressure on your contact center (and social media managers). That can translate into bottom line savings and an improved customer experience.

Verint’s product is a bit outside of the CRM box, but it’s the sort of thing that can be a budget saver for the right company. Not surprisingly, some of the bigger users of the technology are telecommunications companies, which have used voice as a source of searchable data for some time. But how about your business? Do you find yourself trying to nail down problems in your service processes, or responding to large numbers of calls and social media messages focused on the same issue? If that’s the case, a product like Verint’s that collects, collates and presents those calls could help shorten the time needed to deal with them.