When a credit union’s marketing department asked operations whether callers were mentioning their recently-launched loyalty program, they were disappointed to learn that, according to the contact center’s speech tool, very few callers referred to the Gold, Silver, and Bronze packages. However, after conducting a content audit—a manual review of a select number of random recordings from the appropriate business queue—operations learned that callers were referencing the program. It’s just that customers were largely ignoring the official package names and instead were asking about “perk points.” It’s a good example of the gap that can exist between expected and actual customer language, which can only be revealed when operations and marketing departments cooperate.
Discovery and Rediscovery
At MainTrax, the first thing we do with a new client is schedule a discovery session—ideally with a variety of key stakeholders from multiple departments—to clearly define intentions, expectations, and business goals. But we also recommend that clients conduct occasional rediscovery sessions to ensure that current processes are aligned with initial goals and to identify additional ways to leverage the power of their speech tool.
Here are some of the questions we ask in initial discovery sessions that can be just as helpful when revisited after implementation of a speech initiative:
• What specifically do you want to learn by using speech analytics?
• How are you currently gathering this intelligence?
• Are you interested in monitoring what the agent says, what the customer says, or both of these channels?
• Why is understanding this information important to you?
• How do you plan to use this information?
• Who else is this information important to, and why?
• Which departments are likely to be involved?
For initial discovery sessions, we supplement these questions by sharing quick wins, case studies, and “Aha!” moments from other clients that illustrate the numerous ways that analytics can positively impact marketing campaigns and strategies.
Ultimately, the extent of marketing’s involvement might come down to who’s writing the check. One client suggested that the higher the decision maker is on the organizational ladder, the more likely it is that marketing will get some attention. “The way I see it, there’s far more ROI for the marketing team than for anybody else because the savings from forgoing unnecessary focus groups and the ability to repair and redirect flawed advertising campaigns will pay for a speech initiative many times over,” he says. “I don’t care what speech vendor you use; the price of your speech solution suddenly becomes chump change.”
Hearing Is Believing
Analysts like Paul Tessier recognize that when marketing shares in the bounty of speech analytics data, everybody wins. Tessier, a speech analytics manager at one of Canada’s leading financial institutions, doesn’t just feed data to his marketing colleagues, he welcomes them into the process from the get-go. He begins with his own discovery process to identify what marketing wants to learn, then programs the search engine accordingly to isolate calls pertaining to those specific issues. He then invites marketing folks to listen to selected calls, either by providing access to the actual audio files via a secured shared drive or by inviting them to a conference room where the calls can be accessed directly from the speech application.
The reaction? Priceless. “It wasn’t uncommon to hear, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I’m hearing that!’” Tessier says. “Often there were ‘Aha!’ moments where they’d scurry off to tell their managers what they heard. Marketing people have the best perspective of whether a product is being positioned or explained correctly, so inviting them to listen in on the right calls is the best way to make sure that key decisions are being made correctly.”
Inspired by marketing’s enthusiastic response, and having successfully implemented a similar program in another organization, Tessier is looking to expand and formalize the process at the bank. While working for a large telecom company, he conducted monthly calibration meetings that focused on a monthly discussion topic supplied by the executive team. Each four-hour meeting was attended by a cross-functional team—comprised of representatives from customer care, customer experience, sales and marketing—that listened to high-value calls on the specified topic. “Every meeting generated light-bulb moments and actionable takeaways,” Tessier says. “For instance, a marketing rep would recognize why customers were getting confused by the way agents were explaining a particular product feature.”
By gathering various departments together, challenges can be identified, discussed, and acted upon quickly and effectively. “Someone might say, ‘That’s a customer care issue, I’ll take care of it,’ while someone else says, ‘I’ll own that one, it’s a marketing issue.’” Tessier says. “Coming together as a group lends itself to people stepping up and holding themselves and each other accountable.”
What prompted Tessier’s advocacy for sharing agent-customer conversations with other departments? Well, let’s just say he learned his lesson the hard way. “After getting a request from marketing to analyze a particular issue, I spent weeks building out a cost analysis, tracking call volumes, and identifying trends in utterances and categories, then submitted the report with three calls,” he says. “I later found out it was the three calls that moved the project forward! I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I put three weeks into those analytics and they barely looked at the report. Next time, I’ll just submit the three calls!’”
Good call, Paul. Time after time, I’ve seen clients shift their focus to make marketing a higher priority after conducting a content audit and hearing what’s “really on the calls.” A content audit enables you to better understand the real “voice of the customer” and identify the most impactful issues.
MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics professional services and managed 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.
About Scott Bakken
Founder and President of MainTrax, is an independent voice of the speech analytics industry.