Despite myriad opportunities to interact with companies via email, SMS, and chatbot, many customers still want to hear a human voice over the phone. Sometimes this is a matter of preference; other times, customers have tried unsuccessfully to self-serve, not finding the answers they want online. Either way, the expectations on customer service representatives (CSRs) have never been greater. As a result of search engines, customers are accustomed to having immediate responses at their fingertips and expect similar service from CSRs, with a patient and friendly demeanor to boot.
For companies, the challenge of providing near-immediate and accurate responses can be daunting, especially when customers are requesting help with highly complex, financially fraught topics like health insurance or personal finance choices. Organizations strive to provide best-in-class service, and they need best-in-class tools to help their employees serve their customers.
The next generation of real-time speech analytics and dynamic content management help CSRs provide that best-in-class service. These tools rapidly analyze customer interactions with CSRs and prompt CSRs with scripted content and appropriate next steps.
Real-Time Speech Analytics vs. Dynamic Content Management
Most companies that operate online have content management systems (CMS). These systems allow them to store information online in a repository that can be queried. Once queried, the system will display the content the user wanted. A basic example: A customer wants to buy a red shirt in size large. The customer searches a company website for “shirt” and filters the search by color. The site might return a dozen or more options. If the shopper doesn’t want to look at each option returned, he can filter the search further, this time by another parameter, such as sleeve length, price, or material.
CSRs also rely on content management systems to service customers. If a customer calls in and wants information on health insurance plans, for example, a CSR has to quickly find that information, filtering for single or family plan, high or low deductible, and so on. The dynamic part of a CMS ensures that CSRs have the most up-to-date information available. Updates are pushed simultaneously and continuously across CMS platforms. So when plan parameters change, either due to a change in legislation, an internal adjustment, or another event, CSRs have the latest information at their fingertips.
However, a dynamic CMS can only go so far in servicing today’s highly informed and time-pressed consumers. CSRs need additional tools. Real-time speech analytics (RTSA) work with dynamic CMS systems to provide CSRs with up-to-date information almost before they ask for it.
An RTSA program listens to interactions with customers in real time and detects keywords and phrases that come up during the interaction. Based on those keywords or phrases, the engine suggests scripts for the CSRs, information they need, and potential next steps they can take to help customers.
For an insurance customer, an RTSA program might hear “open enrollment,” “family,” or “qualified event” on a call. The engine will then bring up appropriate information: open-enrollment period details, the difference in levels of coverage for families, how to find new doctors who participate in plans, which events are considered qualified, and so on. CSRs don’t have to memorize details about complex plans. They don’t even have to know which keyword is the right one to search. The RTSA hears the conversation and keywords, queries the dynamic CMS for them, and then listens to the ensuing conversation to ensure that the appropriate points are covered. For example, did the CSR mention the deadline for enrollment? If not, the program prompts the CSR with a script or additional information.
Real-Time Speech Analytics and the Role of Customer Service Representative
Companies and CSRs sometimes get nervous when people start talking about automation. It can feel like machines are taking over. The prevalence of the self-checkout line at the grocery store is just one of many examples.
Serving customers when they have complex queries and transaction needs often requires a human touch. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated technology becomes, people will prefer talking to a human being over a machine when it comes to choosing the best insurance for their families or the best investments for their retirement portfolios. Decisions like those require nuance and human understanding. Companies can rely on RTSA to listen to conversations and suggest scripts. A dynamic CMS will ensure that CSRs have the most up-to-date information to provide customers. But at the end of the day, when it comes to making decisions about their health, money, and other high-stakes transactions, people will still trust a well-informed human voice on the other end of the line over a machine.
This article was originally published in Smart Customer Service by Sudhir Pucha, Vice President, Information Technology at HighPoint Global.