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WEBINAR: How AI is delivering a new generation of CX Analytics

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Contact centres spend significant resources evaluating agent effectiveness and customer sentiment, but don’t always know if they are capturing the right data, creating the right KPIs and sharing the available analytics to allow them to improve agent and customer metrics. Has your approach to analytics been re-evaluated to take advantage of today’s cloud and AI technology?

Join Sheila McGee-Smith, President & Principal Analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, LLC, and Rob Peterson, Head of CX Strategy at Talkdesk, as they pull back the curtain on the analytics “black box” and introduce a vision to measure technology as a leading indicator of exceptional CX and business outcomes.

Sheila McGee-Smith, President & Principal Analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics
Rob Peterson, Global Head, CX Strategy and Value Consulting at Talkdesk

Date: Wednesday, July 14, 10 a.m. PT | 1 p.m. ET | 6 p.m. BST

Click Here To Register

Can’t join us at 10 a.m. PT? Sign up for our session on July 15, 10 a.m. BST

‘Game-changing’ real-time speech analytics solution boosts contact centres’ sales, service and compliance standards

700 392 Stuart O'Brien

Avoira is forecasting a sales surge for its Xdroid speech analytics solution after the AI-powered technology was hailed as a game-changer by one of the UK’s top 50 personal insurance brokers.

The technology solutions specialist – which is showcasing Xdroid at the Contact Centre & Customer Service Summit – is also expecting increased adoption of hybrid operational models to further boost the real-time analytics platform.

Principal Insurance is among a host of companies to deploy Xdroid during the pandemic as UK businesses sought to maintain sales, service and compliance standards whilst staff worked from home.

The Manchester-headquartered broker’s head of distribution, Matt Byrne commented: “For us, Xdroid is a game-changing technology, one that is bringing many benefits to our sales, service and compliance functions.

“Intelligent, real-time analytics empower staff to act in the most appropriate manner at the most appropriate time, yielding more productive and positive customer engagements.”

He added that as Xdroid captures all communications in real-time, it can control compliance and fraud protocols more swiftly and effectively.

Having canvassed its staff, Principal is among a growing number of businesses planning to adopt a hybrid model. Byrne says Xdroid will be invaluable in helping manage staff performance across office and home environments.

“Because it’s real-time and provides AI-led agent prompts, Xdroid offers both great oversight and the ability to be really responsive in supporting advisors.

“It’s a bit like having a floorwalker on demand, wherever you happen to be working.”

Xdroid’s capabilities have also been praised by life insurance broker, Protect Line. The fast-growing business is working with Avoira to build a vulnerable customers’ identification tool within a wider Xdroid implementation.

“Xdroid will empower us to quickly identify potential vulnerability and flag calls to Compliance,” explains Protect Line’s speech analytics manager, Sam Goundry.  “They can then check the conversation, confirm the customer was provided with the right duty of care, that all factors were considered and take any necessary remedial action,”

Since last year’s Summit, Xdroid, for which Avoira holds exclusive UK distribution rights, has also garnered international acclaim. In January it took the European Technology Innovation Leadership Award in the Frost & Sullivan Best Practice awards.

How – and Why – to Analyze Sentiment

960 640 Abby Monaco

By Abby Monaco, Senior Product Marketing Manager, NICE Nexidia

“I have terrible news,” your boss wrote in an email late last night. “The project has officially been delayed.”

Without any additional context, this news could be cause for joy – you’ll no longer be working all weekend to deliver on a deadline – or significant trepidation, particularly if the delay was caused by an error you made. The same word – terrible – can be used sincerely or jokingly, with very different sentiment attached to it as a result.

Sentiment is critical when it comes to customer service, and sentiment analysis is being increasingly used to measure emotion in customer and agent interactions.  After all, it’s not always about what is said but rather how it’s said and what emotions are conveyed. As important as it is to analyze the words that are spoken or written in an interaction to gain clues as to whether a customer interaction is positive or negative, it’s even more important to analyze sentiment in agent-customer interactions.

Sentiment analysis is the practice of assessing customer input to determine attitudes and opinions about brands, products, marketing campaigns and more. It relies on natural language processing, machine learning and computational linguistics to identify, extract and quantify subjective information from phone, chat, email, social media and more. Its use is increasing in part due to the widespread shift toward omnichannel customer service. With thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of interactions over a variety of channels, contact centers simply can’t rely on manual analysis of interactions to understand how customers feel about their business.

Sentiment analysis has far-reaching applications. The Obama administration famously used it to measure public opinion in the weeks and months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, and politicians and brands alike have since embraced the approach to better understand public attitude and opinion.

In the contact center, sentiment analysis allows the organization to analyze customer interactions to:

  • Uncover areas in the business that need improvement.
  • Monitor areas critical to customer loyalty and retention.
  • Monitor agent behaviors.

“When you measure people’s reactions interacting with your support team, you get a clearer picture of their level of satisfaction,” Jia Wertz wrote in Forbes. “This allows you to address customer service issues more efficiently, based on a different type of feedback – unfiltered, less intrusive and more honest.”

There are two basic techniques for sentiment analysis:  traditional, rule-based sentiment analysis, which relies on a dictionary of words labeled by sentiment, and artificial intelligence-powered sentiment analysis, in which a machine learning model is trained to recognize sentiment – and to continue to learn and evolve.

To be truly effective, the sentiment measurement must be sophisticated enough to identify the relative emotion of agents and customers separately for more accurate results. AI-powered sentiment analysis employs language models to find positive and negative words and phrases, spoken or written, as well as AI machine learning that has been trained to predict the outcome of the interaction. Models must be trained to score words and phrases carefully within the context in which they’re spoken.

Sentiment models go beyond language with added features that create greater accuracy in sentiment scores. Among the factors they consider are:

  • Laughter detection, which can indicate a positive change in an otherwise negative conversation.
  • Crosstalk (where both parties talk over each other), which can indicate confusion or frustration.
  • Changes in pitch, tone or speaking rate, which can signal changing satisfaction during the interaction.
  • When in the interaction the words or phrases occurred; studies show that the latter portion of an interaction drives customers’ reported satisfaction more heavily than the former.
  • Interaction length; the longer the interaction, the more opportunities there are to drive a sentiment score, so effective sentiment analysis normalizes longer interactions with shorter ones.

AI-powered sentiment models also score interactions as starting positive and moving to negative, or vice versa, to allow organizations perform root cause analysis. There are many causes of positive and negative interactions, such as problems with a process or product or frustration with an agent. An interaction that begins positive and ends negative can be due to a confused agent who’s unable to help or the customer not liking the answer they get (i.e., that an overdue bill has been sent to collections).

Organizations around the world are already using sentiment analysis with advanced AI techniques to better understand the customer and act on that understanding. While sentiment models score 100% of interactions, measuring sentiment is most effective when considering the larger picture; while it’s important to identify a single interaction, particularly when you can provide real-time guidance to turn a call around, it doesn’t provide insight into trends surrounding negative calls and the topics driving them.

“As with any new technology, the value is not in the information you mine, it’s in what you do with it,” Futurum Research Analyst Daniel Newman wrote in Forbes. “The power of AI isn’t in replacing our need to understand our customers, it’s in using tools to understand them better and then act on those understandings, for the better.”

Learn more about how sentiment analytics is only one of the many ways to drive organizational success, and how AI-enabled contact center analytics transcends the limits of traditional analytics. Our easy to read guide explains how businesses using AI-enabled contact center analytics are taking action to improve customer experiences, identify complaints, prevent fraud and more.

Do you specialise in Analytics solutions for contact centres? We want to hear from you!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Each month on Call Centres Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the customer care market – and in February we’re focusing on Analytics solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help customer care industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Analytics solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Carly Walker on c.walker@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Feb – Analytics
Mar – Call Centre Technology
Apr – Automated Customer Satisfaction
May – Social Media
Jun – Artificial Intelligence
Jul – Virtual Call/Contact Centres
Aug – Training & Development
Sep – Knowledge Management
Oct – Web Self Service/Chat
Nov – Display Boards
Dec – CRM

For more information on any of the above, contact Carly Walker on c.walker@forumevents.co.uk.

Fast call centre analytics ‘vital’ in the new WFH normal

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The immediate provision of accurate speech analytics is becoming increasingly vital as contact centres increasingly look to maintain work from home (WFH) operational models.

That’s the view of leading call centre solution provider Avoira, which is anticipating heightened interest in the technology from delegates attending the virtual Contact Centre & Customer Service Summit.

The company reports managers are finding that the interactive nature of a sophisticated real-time analytics solution not only enables more effective call outcomes, but enhances employee engagement.

Speaking ahead of the Summit, Steve Watts, Avoira’s head of sales, said: “With team leaders and managers having lost the Captain’s Chair view of what’s happening minute-to-minute,  real-time analytics are even more important and compelling.

“As a result contact centre directors and heads of innovation are now taking a closer look at the sophisticated tools they might deploy to ensure productivity and service standards are maintained as the novelty of homeworking wears off.”

He adds that capturing real-time traffic not just within a centralised centre but across a remote working network, remains a challenge for all but the most potent speech analytic solutions.

As such Watts is expecting heightened interest at the Summit in the AI powered voice analytics solution which Avoira is set to showcase.

The cloud-based Xdroid solution is a rarity – arguably unique – in delivering real-time analytics of both voice and text communications. It automatically records and analyses all calls and monitors customer experience, compliance and the performance of individual agents, wherever they are working.

The powerful solution can detect and range of emotions, reporting on whether customers are displaying displeasure, uncertainty, disappointment or happiness. Based on analysis of dialogue, it provides on-screen prompts which can steer an agent to engage in specific actions – such as up-selling or making a compensatory gesture – at the time most likely to yield a positive response.

A formidable customer service tool, the technology claims to deliver an increased client retention rate of 30% and an inbound sales uplift of 14%.

It can also increase agent retention and reduce breaches which can result in legal or regulatory actions.

“It’s not just regulatory and legal compliance with which our solution can assist, but in ensuring employees, wherever they are, continue to subscribe to and share the organisation’s ethos,” says Watts. “By providing tools with which to help an agents job be performed more easily and effectively, it also helps them feel valued.”

Do you specialise in Analytics for Contact Centres? We want to hear from you!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Each month on Call Centres Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the customer care market – and in February we’re focussing on Analytics solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help customer care industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Analytics solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Gayle Buckland on g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Feb – Analytics
Mar – Call Centre Technology
Apr – Automated Customer Satisfaction
May – Social Media
Jun – Artificial Intelligence
Jul – Virtual Call/Contact Centres
Aug – Training & Development
Sep – Knowledge Management
Oct – Web Self Service/Chat
Nov – Display Boards
Dec – CRM

For more information on any of the above, contact Gayle Buckland on g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

GUEST BLOG: Taking call centre analytics to the next level

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

It’s not just your customers that are making more demands of you; so are your competitors. You need to be able to get business-wide insight in real-time just to keep up. Is your analytics suite up to the task? Geoff Land, Managing Director of Infinity CCS, investigates…

In a complex environment such as a modern contact centre, decisions are made every minute that affect customer service, customer satisfaction, the customer experience and, ultimately, revenue and profitability. Having accurate and up-to-date data on which to base those decisions is no longer negotiable.

There are three key elements you need to get right in order to unlock the insights required. The first is to connect all the different areas of the business and their disparate data sources to create a single view of the whole business and of each customer.

The second is to be able to collate, analyse, interrogate and visualise all that data in order to uncover connections that have previously been hidden. Finally, you need to be able to take that new knowledge and turn it into operational insight that tells you and your teams what needs to be done to transform your ‘business as usual’.

Single view of your data

Within all the departments, business functions, IT systems and databases, you will have lots of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. Structured data would be things like your customer and transaction databases, through to unstructured data which could include things like website visitor meta-data.

There is a lot of extremely valuable business information locked up in all that data if only you could interrogate it and make sense of it. Using deep-dive data mining, the location, type and volume of all this data can be discovered. This search should encompass anywhere that customer and other relevant information might reside; from your operational systems to customer testimonials to marketing mailing lists to email inboxes to customer complaints and everything in between.

It could be contained in structured databases, semi-structured XML files, unstructured file systems on individual workstations, or cloud-based file systems. Around 80% of all organisational data is thought to be unstructured, and modern data discovery tools should be able to uncover most of it.

In order to be able to ask questions of all this data, it needs to be tagged and collated. What we are really talking about is creating an indexed copy of all your data, which means the original databases and files do not need to be altered. The goal is to organise the data in such a way that every piece of data which belongs to customer John Smith, for example, is tagged as such.

What you now have is a portal for accessing all your data, enterprise-wide. This central repository should be kept up to date by running the tagging and indexing routines on data as it is acquired and updated. While this also enables you to meet all your GDPR obligations, its true value is in giving you a single view of your business, and of each customer.

Unlock your data to gain insights

In a business world where established companies, business models, and even whole industries are transformed and made obsolete almost overnight, the ability to spot a trend before others and act on it quickly is a tremendous source of competitive advantage.

As the contact centre is now the touchstone for so many customer interactions it is one your company’s most important sources of information – including customer feedback and complaints; CSAT, NPS, and other KPI data; analyses of contact frequency and type; sales, up-sales, and cross-sales results; and even meta data on website and self-service usage.

Assuming you have gone through the data discovery stage outlined above and have all this data tagged in some sort of central repository, you now need to be able ask questions of it.

There are three considerations when it comes to business analytics: speed, accuracy, and depth of information. Your operational and management teams need the freedom to ask all sorts of different questions, which means they cannot be limited to a set number of pre-defined reports. Your analytics suite should allow them to quickly create reports without coding, writing SQL, or getting the IT Team involved. Using a simple drag and drop interface they should be able to create complex, cross-tabulated reports on multiple data sources.

When reports are run, the data used to compile them should be as up-to-date and as accurate as possible. This means your central repository, if you are using one, should be updated regularly if not in real-time as transactions happen and data is acquired. Running reports manually is incredibly time-consuming, particularly if the data has to be prepared beforehand. Your analytics system should be able to automate most of these tasks and give reports daily, or in real-time, to the people who need them. Managers can then spend their time analysing reports rather than producing them.

For humans to learn anything from all this data – even if it has already been analysed by some deep learning or data mining AI system – reports need to be presented in a way that allows users to drill down and interact with them. Sometimes a trend is not visible at the very top level and it takes looking deep into the data, and cross-checking with other sources, to tease out valuable insight. Spreadsheets of numbers just don’t work for most people, so different types of visualisations of data should be available.

Business improvements

The objective of business analytics is to constantly transform your organisation based on accurate business intelligence in order to maintain or improve market position.

With a single view of the business and customer, and the tools needed to analyse data and turn it into insight that can be visualised, your business will be able to:

  • View and follow the complete trail of phone interactions, website visits, emails, purchases, social media comments of every customer and prospect.
  • See the business outcomes of those behaviours in terms of purchases, cancellations, returns, complaints, and customer service requests.
  • Use that insight to improve products, services, processes, and customer journeys with a view to increasing revenues and profits while reducing costs to serve.
  • Uncover new business opportunities in your own market, or related markets, that you otherwise would never have known about – at least until a competitor did it.

In the contact centre specifically, this greater level of insight at the level of the individual customer enables you to:

  • Seamlessly manage interactions that cross multiple channels without asking the customer to update you or repeat information;
  • Route customer enquiries to exactly the right team or person without delay;
  • Proactively engage the customer to head off service issues before they become a problem;
  • Personalise upsell, cross-sell, and renewals offers to meet a customer’s exact needs and circumstances;
  • Understand the commonalities of your best customers so you can find more like them.

It has long been said that a company’s data is one of its most valuable assets, but how many companies take this to its logical conclusion? If your data is not tagged and collated in a central repository; if your business analytics suite is not automated, customisable, and visual; and if your management is not able to interact with and deep-dive into reports, then you are potentially missing out on opportunities.

For a white paper on how to create a Single Customer View of your data for GDPR and business analytics download our white paper here: https://www.infinityccs.com/gdpr-and-single-customer-view-guide/

Geoff Land is Managing Director of Infinity CCS (Contact Centre Solutions), provider of dynamic workflow engines that power contact centres across 13 countries. Infinity works with some of the world’s largest contact centre operators such as Teleperformance, Webhelp, HGS and Bosch to deliver customer experience solutions that yield measurable efficiencies.

An experienced CX executive, Geoff has spent his career helping to lead some of today’s leading brands transform their businesses. Geoff previously held senior positions at Bright Star Communications (Saudi Arabia), founded Inspire FZE in the United Arab Emirates and has held a number of local and international positions at Nortel Networks.

GUEST BLOG: Customer Service Management – It’s time to change the metrics

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Customer experience (CX) has become a priority for the vast majority of organisations – or has it?

With the large volumes of contact centre advisors still incentivised based on speed – typically the Average Handle Time (AHT) – CX goals are quite often unachievable.

Companies have two options: speed or quality. Get the customer off the phone or web chat as quickly as possible or deliver a business transformative level of customer service. You can’t have it both ways.

As Dino Forte, CEO, Ventrica, insists, if companies truly want to release the strategic CX objective, it is time to end the outdated focus on AHT and create a new culture that embeds quality, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy metrics within contact centre performance…

Quality versus Quantity

AHT has dominated contact centre measurement for decades. During the era of low cost, low value service delivery, measuring advisors purely based on the speed with which a customer interaction could be wrapped up, irrespective of the quality of service or value of the experience, was the priority. But that model has little place in the customer centric market of 2019. At a time when the quality of customer experience is often the only opportunity to achieve any level of customer differentiation, the way in which organisations engage with customers – via social media or email, phone or web chat – is now critical.

So why are so many companies – many of which cite a strong commitment to CX – still buying contact centre services on the basis of AHT? How can an advisor deliver the high quality experience required to meet customer expectations, to create a brand advocate or prompt recommendations via social media, when the focus is mostly on speed? The entire concept is counterintuitive and counter-productive – and yet despite top level ‘Customer Experience’ focused strategies, when it comes to assessing contact centre performance and purchasing outsourced contact centre services, too many companies are still firmly entrenched in an outdated, speed based culture.

Clearly performance has to be evaluated and assessed to ensure value for money and quality of contact centre operations – so how can organisations match contact centre deliverables to corporate CX goals?

Cultural Conflict

The dichotomy within contact centre services today is that not only is a speed focused model at odds with the stated CX focus, it is also at complete odds with the investment in a raft of metrics to measure the voice of the customer and customer experience across the business. From social media sentiment to routine customer surveys, according to Gartner, the four most common categories for CX metrics are quality, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy and it is embedding these measures within a contact centre culture that is key to achieving an environment that provides the right type of experience.

Of course, AHT still has a role to play. It is important to track traditional performance metrics, such as the number of dropped contacts, as well as contacts handled, to ensure basic operational processes are working correctly. Additionally, it’s useful from a resource planning perspective to help ensure staffing levels are calculated accurately and productivity levels are where they need to be. A spike in AHT can even provide an indication of an emerging problem within the business – such as a billing glitch – that requires rapid escalation. But it is no measure of quality or the company’s ability to deliver highly personalised services.

Companies need to be honest: what is the business delivering via a contact centre? If there is any focus on CX, on ensuring customers receive a personalised resolution, then using AHT to incentivise contact centre advisers is massively counter-intuitive. An individual measured solely on the speed with which every interaction is concluded is never going to have the time to listen to the customer, understand the problems or issues raised, or focus on the quality of the experience. The goal will be to wrap up calls or handle multiple web chats simultaneously to ensure the AHT metrics are hit – and that fundamentally undermines the basic concept of good customer experience.

Customer Experience Metrics

If companies are to ensure the corporate CX vision is delivered at the contact centre, the culture has to change. This means embracing innovative technologies that enable customers to easily and effectively self-serve, freeing up contact centre advisors to concentrate on the more complex customer issues. But it also means reconsidering advisor metrics; ensuring they are incentivised based on the quality of experience, first time resolution and customer voice; and providing the training required to enable individuals to make the transition towards a better quality interaction.

Essentially it means changing both processes and culture to ensure advisors become customer centric and that customers have timely access to the information or service required and, where possible, one touch resolution.

In addition to leveraging technology innovation to support self-service, achieving a CX focused culture may also demand changes to the recruitment model to ensure advisors match the profile and needs of the customers. While an AHT dominated model requires a vanilla approach to advisor recruitment, as soon as the focus shifts to CX it becomes essential to allocate individuals with the right skills to the job. From the high levels of empathy and great listening skills required by those primarily dealing with elderly and/or distressed individuals, to an inherent interest in fashion for an advisor working for a clothing company, great CX requires a far more tailored recruitment model.


Great service cannot be delivered by individuals focused solely on processing as many customer interactions as possible – the two requirements are completely at odds. Companies need to look hard at why they are still measuring contact centre services on such an outdated model: AHT typically ties in with low cost, low valueinteractions. So, with many more companies now realising the fundamental importance of providing great service, is it not now essential to rethink the way these services are delivered by embedding customer experience within the culture?


Do you provide Analytics Solutions to Call Centres? We want to hear from you!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Each month on Call Centres Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the customer care market – and in February we’re focussing on Analytics Solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help customer care industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Analytics Solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Gayle Buckland on g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Feb – Analytics
Mar – Call Centre Technology
Apr – Automated Customer Satisfaction
May – Social Media
Jun – Artificial Intelligence
Jul – Virtual Call/Contact Centres
Aug – Training & Development
Sep – Knowledge Management
Oct – Web Self Service/Chat
Nov – Display Boards
Dec – CRM

For more information on any of the above, contact Gayle Buckland on g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

RECOMMENDED: Call Centre Analytics – Mediahawk

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Established over 15 years ago, Mediahawk is at the forefront of call tracking analytics and attribution.

Call tracking allows your business to make data-driven decisions to optimise marketing and advertising investments; improve conversions and reduce spend; improve the customer journey and uncover opportunities for business growth.

Call tracking and attribution is the ability to link marketing activity directly to a phone call. Correctly attributing these together is key to getting a proper return on investment.

In a digital environment, it’s easy to measure and link the sources that drive live chat and form completions. With phone calls however, this is not the case. The challenge is that there’s a disconnect between the call and the demand generating activity, making it difficult to measure.

The solution is to use a mixture of static and dynamic phone numbers to see what activity works – and what doesn’t, to feed into a programme of continual improvement.

Static numbers are used to track typically offline marketing, such as flyers, printed adverts or brochures. Dynamic numbers work online and provide each visitor to your website a unique telephone number. This number works like a cookie, tracking visitor behaviour in the same way as other calls to action. Using dynamic numbers from Mediahawk provides you with insight into intelligence such as sources, pages or keywords driving calls, and more.

Using a combination of static and dynamic numbers will give you deep insight into which areas of your marketing mix are taking your business forward and where you’re getting the best marketing return – invaluable in any competitive marketplace.


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