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    February 12, 2021

    Real-Time Speech Analytics: What It Is & Why Use It?

    There has been a huge increase in the ability of speech analytics tools over the years. Post-call speech analytics were slow, inaccurate, and difficult to manage.

    Now, they are so fast and accurate that you can utilize real-time speech analytics (RTSA), with the ease of third-party companies managing almost everything for you.

    In fact, with such a difference, real-time voice analytics is a real game-changer.

    Your agents can get insights about customer interactions as soon as they need them.

    This article is going to focus on all of the things that you need to know to decide whether it is a good fit for your business or not.

    What Is Real-Time Voice Analytics?

    When your contact center agent has an issue, they are likely in the dark.

    They may not even know that there is an issue until you have them for their coaching session and tell them they are doing something wrong.

    That can harm the customer experience, affecting every call until the issue is detected and coached for.

    Real-time analytics can solve that problem via a screen pop-up, including AI-driven next-best-action guidance.

    When there are events or a specific phrase said during a call, real-time speech analytics provides your agent with quicker access to real-time data and advice through sophisticated alerting.

    Post-Call vs. Real-Time

    The primary difference between the two is that post-call can only give you insights into calls after the fact, while real-time will provide you with a screen pop-up at the time.

    Both options of artificial intelligence platforms have good and bad aspects. Unfortunately, which is best?

    It is not a simple question to answer.

    Different businesses have different processes, and with speech technology being so advanced and diverse, there is no “best,” only which suits your company’s requirements the most.

    • Post-call analytics. – Post-call analytics have dashboards with accumulative data from calls, such as missed points, unexplained silence, overall scoring, agent ranking, etc. All of the information is available to team leaders, supervisors, managers, QA teams, and anyone else you need. You can then use it for monthly review meetings for thousands of agents and monitoring hundreds of calls a day.
    • Real-time analytics. – Real-time call monitoring will monitor customer calls as they progress and provide real-time direction for customer experience issues and proactive steps to correct the call. Having an alert with recommendations for rectifying the problem is a great strategy for saving calls before they are lost. Furthermore, real-time alerting can increase performance and best practices for coaching.

    Why Use Real-Time Speech Analytics Tools?

    As you saw in the snippet above, there are a few key features to real-time alerting that can help operations.

    • On-the-job coaching. – Coaching is one of the fundamental ways to increase productivity and customer experience. If an agent faces the same problem a lot, having an alert to a trigger can help them remember the point. For example, if they always forget their call recorded statement, you can have a popup reminding them at the beginning of every call. Or, if they are prone to unexplained silences, they can receive a notification to remind them to talk after a second or two of silence.
    • Sales assistance. – Sale is a difficult area for some people to work in. While a person is on the phone, notifications can help guide them in the right direction to closing a sale.
    • Customer service compliance. – Compliance is crucial for regulations and operations. Analysts spend a lot of time working out questions that you need to ask or answers you need to get. Having a scorecard will help with that, but conversations can pass by pretty quickly, and if you miss something, you are unlikely to remember.
    • Immediate reinforcement. – Alongside the coaching is reinforcement that they are doing their job properly. Seeing a notification that proves correct progression can reaffirm their training providing agents with contextual memory assistance that they would otherwise miss out on.

    What Sectors Can Real-Time Speech Analytics Help?

    There are so many caller interaction types that can affect business outcomes that it is difficult to tell you everything that any analytics software will do for you.

    However, in the next sections, we will go through some of the primary reasons why real-time speech analytics might help you.

    Customer Service

    One of the largest industries that utilize call centers is customer service. One of the largest benefits of real-time analytics is detecting common questions from callers and providing answers to the agent desktops.

    That can decrease the average handling time because the operators are not required to seek assistance.

    Furthermore, customer engagement will lower because there are more first-call resolutions.

    Real-time capabilities also include detecting customer dissatisfaction and then providing users with reminders and examples of rectifying the problem.

    Of course, the lower the handling time and the more first-time resolutions you have, the easier it is to scale your operation to incorporate more calls.

    Soft skills are an integral part of customer service. Anyone can read a script and say what they need to and when.

    However, not everyone can say it in a tone and speed that has maximum effect.

    Real-time speech analytics can detect tone, speed, and anything else that you require to prompt agents to conform to business programs.


    Sales are tough; there are so many things that you need contextual knowledge about that it can be challenging to remember everything and provide the best rebuttals.

    When you have real-time analytics, you can gain seamless alerting with the best way to handle the objection. The same goes for marketing calls and return inquiries, too.

    Depending on your business, you may need customers to qualify for sales.

    With live checking of criteria accomplishable with immediate speech analytics, you can ensure that they qualify, or not, without manual checking.

    Alongside qualifying for sales, you can utilize the software to expand the wider business by driving cross-selling products that they qualify for, too.


    Real-Time Speech Analytics


    Standardizing processes for sales is always difficult. People use their own vocabulary to sell products and services, creating issues for continuity and even branding.

    Using the most effective, standard responses and sales pitches to the most common questions can help drive sales.

    Finance and Collections

    Financial services are under constant scrutiny for regulations such as PCI compliance, fraud detection, harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, etc.

    A contact center dealing with financial issues requires huge resources and many hours to monitor every customer conversation for PCI security alone.

    In fact, without a third-party QA team, it is near impossible, putting your business at critical risk of legal action.
    A well-performing real-time speech analytics solution can become a crucial tool for security-conscious people.

    They can trigger notifications for compliance issues and reduce security risks through automated redaction for PCI.


    We have already touched on coaching benefits. However, any good analytics software that you use will assist you.

    The main problem arises when you complete training sessions, your agents go back to their desks, complete the tasks following their training, and then slowly start to go back to their old ways.

    That is often due to people’s capacity and thousands of calls a month.

    Consistent coaching will help tremendously with that, but if you have complicated scripts or agents who find coaching more challenging, real-time speech analytics can prompt them to complete the tasks at the time they are required.

    How To Evaluate Real-Time Speech Analytics

    Any business that is new to real-time speech analytics will need to check what they are getting before committing.

    Otherwise, they will end up with a sub-par product, not fit for use, or leave them wanting something they cannot get – that is not the outcome you want.

    We have an article about how to evaluate speech analytics, and while some of the points are the same, you need to look for slightly different things when it comes to real-time.

    For example:

    • Integrations. – The first thing you need to know is that the analytics systems will integrate well with your current phone system. If you need to overhaul your phone systems, it will cost a lot more, and if you ever need to change your analytics again, you may well have to change your phone system again.
    • Ease of use. – Of course, any new software is going to have a transition period. You will need to learn how to use it, and so will your teams. You don’t want to be reading manuals all day to understand the basics.
    • Security. – No matter how good the software is, if it is not secure, it is useless. In fact, it is downright dangerous and could leave you in a lot of trouble if information gets leaked. Also, see the customization section.
    • Support. – When something doesn’t work as well as you need it to, or as planned, it can leave you in a difficult position. Therefore, you need to know that you have offers of a support network that is ready to help you whenever you need assistance. When things like the features of alerts stop working, it can leave your agents a little lost. Instant support will help should you have any problems.
    • Call tracking. – Constant alerts are useless if they are irrelevant. Furthermore, having more than one program running for different campaigns is challenging and cumbersome. The software you use should notice what scorecard you are using by keywords or phrases, and even by metadata included on a call ID, then offer relevant information and coaching points.
    • Customization. – We understand that contact centers are taking on a new feel and dynamic; not everyone wants to ring someone to get an answer. The world is a busy place, and customers want answers without spending time on the phone. Therefore, you need applications that can provide instant customer engagement analytics on all of the channels that you operate.

    Of course, there are other things that you need to look for, such as competitor pricing, how fast the system can be integrated, gamification capabilities, etc. However, the points we have listed above are some of the most important.

    The Pros And Cons Of Real-Time Speech Analytics To Monitor Agents

    As with anything new, there are pros and cons to Real-Time speech analytics solutions.

    It is not in our best interest to hold these to ourselves, as you need to make an informed decision about how much of a fit they will really be in your company before committing.

    You need to understand the differences between real-time streaming transcriptions and real-time alerts and post-call analytics, how they will help you over weeks, and the accuracy of them both.

    Pro: Real-Time Speech Analytics And Regulatory Compliance

    There are times and situations when responses and statements really matter for compliance issues.

    Having screen pops for trigger keywords can and does help to guide agents through difficult, and even not so-difficult, calls ensuring they remain compliant.

    For example, something simple such as the recorded line statement can cause big problems.

    Having an alert at the beginning of calls will help remind agents to read the statement, and a screen pop can even include the statement that they then need to accept after they have read it.

    Alternatively, if required, real-time speech analytics can monitor the call and auto-accept the statement after hearing it.

    Pro: Real-Time Coaching

    An “after the fact” coach interface alongside monitoring applications can help produce assessments for phone conversations and assign tasks to increase employee engagement.

    You can then create a knowledge base with regular updates on how agents should act.

    However, you only know if the coaching is working by looking at the signs after the calls.

    Real-time understanding and assessments will help your coaching efforts pay off quicker by prompting agents to remember their most common downfalls.

    One of the leading missed points in the finance industry is asking if the lender has previous loans.

    Real-time speech analytics can alert the agent to ask the question at a pre-defined time in the call based on keywords.

    Pro: Retention Rates

    Customer attrition and retention are closely related to agent effectiveness.

    Real-time speech analytics can provide a range of business benefits through instant access to customer issues, providing valuable insights into how to best deal with those specific problems at the time.

    Specialized options allow for increased loyalty in customer engagement centers by offering custom resolutions to the most common problems based on user-defined keywords.


    Customer attrition and retention

    Basically, that means that, with a simple mention of customer problems, through user-defined trigger events, a popup can appear, giving precise information or standard promotions that benefit the customer.

    The faster and better you can help a customer through engagement center performance increases, the more likely they will stay with you in the future.

    Con: Pop-Ups May Decrease Capability and Human Interaction

    While having supervisor notifications and a real-time view of how agents perform with access to alerts is a great thing, it can lead to disconnection and customer dissatisfaction.

    Contact center agents need to have the ability to add a human element to their calls.

    If they have a screen pop every time, the customer says something, prompting them to act in a certain way can take that element out of the call.

    You and the platform provider need to balance a few things well to get the most out of your agents.

    They need a familiar interface that can give them a real-time view of problems and solutions without restraining them to a specific script without deviation.

    If that is not done correctly, it can make the agents feel as if they have no capability to change things.

    While it may help quality assurance processes during phone calls and allow for customer insights unavailable with any other system, it can make the phone conversation feel very inhuman, too.

    When customers begin to feel like there is speaker separation, they may move to different companies, turning the pro of retention rates into a negative customer attrition point.

    Con: Difficult To Spot Trends On Its Own

    Trends are a necessity to improve any system. You need customer intelligence to change operations to fit their requirements better and provide a better service on every call.

    However, using real-time speech analytics on its own has no ability to provide trends and post-call analytics that are paramount for improvement.

    The biggest issue is that you have to have some information to feed to the real-time speech analytics system to benefit.

    In theory, you can look through all of your spreadsheets and create a database of phrases and requirements, but those sorts of integrations will only provide customer satisfaction for a short time.

    As soon as the customer requirements change, you are left behind, still providing what they needed, not what they need now.

    Real-Time Speech Analytics – Conclusion

    There are many great points to using real-time speech analytics.

    However, there are certainly some downsides that you need to consider before utilizing them. If you do not have good after-call, AI-enabled voice analytics, you will find yourself looking for problems that are no longer there or fixing things that are no longer your customer’s concern.

    If you would like to find out how real-time speech analytics can help your business more specifically and see if it is the right fit for your requirements, please contact us, and one of our dedicated account managers will be happy to help you.