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Dialog Direct Delivers Significant Sales and Process Improvement with Speech Analytics


The Team at CallMiner

December 06, 2018

Dialog Direct artboard
Dialog Direct artboard

Dialog Direct is a marketing services and customer experience solution provider that differentiates by the quality of experience it can deliver to its clients and their end customers. They represents more than 200 brands and has extensive contact center operations with well-documented procedures. Dialog Direct has an aggressive ongoing quality improvement process and wanted to evaluate whether speech analytics could make a meaningful improvement to its operations. They were able to utilize speech analytics throughout their contact center to increase close rates, decrease training time, and create better customer and agent experiences.

Hear below from Dialog Direct’s President, Chief Sales and Solutions Officer, SVP of Marketing, VP of Sales, Director of Sales and Director of Leadership and Sales Training:

Close Rate is Everything

For their initial speech analytics pilot, Dialog Direct selected a small team of agents that sell extended vehicle maintenance service plans for a major automotive OEM.  The 15-member team averaged 80 contracts sold per month and had a 22% close rate. Dialog Direct was planning to change it sales approach and wanted to utilized learnings from speech analytics to empower a new way of selling.

To enable this transformation, a team including recent LISTEN Award winner Marvie Wright, Director of Leadership and Sales Training at Dialog Direct developed a new approach for agents to use on calls. While supporting transformation and becoming more consultative are worthy goals, they could potentially be hard to measure as they make 7,000 calls a month, lasting up to 15 minutes each. Wright solved that problem by identifying and defining nine components of a call that could be measured with speech analytics. The team then set success metrics for the pilot, which included:

  • Raising the sales closing rate by 3% from its 22% baseline
  • Achieving a 3% reduction in customers that agree to the service by phone but do not activate their accounts (and therefore do not complete the sale)
  • Increasing the average monthly contracts sold by agent from 80 to 100

More Coachable Insights

Dialog Direct also wanted to improve how many of its process steps are followed on each call (process adherence) and how well agents put the coaching and training they received into practice, which it calls “coaching adherence.” After working with CallMiner Eureka for a short time, Dialog Direct learned how to apply it to help meet its process and quality improvement goals.

“For example, one manager thought agents weren’t following up fast enough to make sure customers activated their services,”  says Wright. Dialog Direct can get customers to agree to purchase service plans by phone, but the plans are not active – and the sale is not complete – until the customer responds to a follow-up mailer or email. Every non-activated service represents a lost sale, so follow ups are a valuable activity. Dialog Direct’s activation rate was at 87% before the speech analytics pilot began.

“Using Eureka, I reviewed the agent performance scorecards and we got the data we needed within an hour. We learned that only a few agents were slow to follow up, it wasn’t the whole account team. We spoke to those agents, and we saw improved results in our activation rate very quickly.”

Wright made extensive use of the agent performance scorecards to recognize agents that performed well and to identify areas for improvement and provide targeted coaching. Although there was some initial resistance, once agents saw the amount and quality of data they were being evaluated on, they quickly came to trust the scorecard results and buy into improvement efforts. The scorecards and other insights from speech analytics became an extremely valuable part of Dialog Direct’s ongoing quality improvement efforts.

After it began using speech analytics, Dialog Direct documented a 28% improvement in process adherence in just four months. At the beginning of the measurement period, scorecards showed agents satisfied all the process requirements for a call 61 percent of the time. After analysis and targeted coaching enabled by speech analytics, agents were following the correct process on 89% of calls. Performance improved every month during the period.

Better Process & Training

Better adherence to quality processes and the new consultative approach led to more sales plus better closing and activation rates. Dialog Direct also received an unexpected benefit: it improved the onboarding process for new hires. The company’s benchmark was for a new agent to reach 100 contracts sold within eight months. Account agents hired since the speech analytics solution was put in place have reached the 100-contract threshold in half the time.

“Once we got speech analytics we could measure what was absorbed and retained from our training. We could measure it and coach to it right away,” says Wright. “As a result, we reduced our onboarding process from eight months to four months.”

Taking Speech Analytics Across the Customer Journey

Dialog Direct is excited for their future uses of speech analytics with other clients. Doug Kearney, President, Dialog Direct is excited for the sharing the knowledge from analytics across the customer journey, “While we have seen tremendous growth in our sales and efficiency in our sales programs, what we are looking forward to is implementing the tool in our service programs to drive first call resolutions, to drive customer experience, and CSAT scores. I have no doubt with the tools and the process we will be able to do that. And we can’t move fast enough at this point.”

Learn more about Dialog Direct’s success as well as others in sales optimization in the BPO space.

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