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Fokion Natsis, Interactive Intelligence Territory Manager Africa

New call centre technologies such as real time speech analytics could boost business where budgets are scarce, says Interactive Intelligence.

Fokion Natsis, Interactive Intelligence Territory Manager Africa, says new technologies cannot be ignored by companies in the current environment, where budgets are scarce and customer loyalty and customer retention are business imperatives.

He says the days are over where all customer service requirements could be met with a walk-in operation or a call to the customer service hotline.

“The proliferation of the web has correspondingly heightened customer expectations, as information requests now need to be fulfilled in Internet time. This means the multichannel contact centre, using sms, webchat, social media and more.”

As a result, companies need to consider enhancing their customer service operations with service solutions that empower customers with access to the same information previously only available through face-to-face or telephone interactions, Natsis says.  

One new tool set to make waves is real time speech analytics. This tracks a voice conversation to spot indicators of a problem.

Included in Interactive Intelligence’s latest customer IP communications suite, CIC4, the speech analytics tool known as Interaction Analyzer provides real-time keyword- and phrase-spotting on either the customer side, agent side, or both sides of a voice conversation.

This real-time capability enables contact centre managers to be alerted to problem interactions, then monitor, coach, or intervene to better satisfy customers and improve agent performance.

Natsis notes this feature has just been launched as part of the company’s latest release, version 4.0.

“It is available but has not been released in Africa yet. We envisage this to happen in quarter 2 next year,” he says.

Natsis says at least 50% of contact centres use some type of quality assessment tool in their environment. 

“This has always been an add-on module and always post call.  Real time speech analytics is a first in the world.”

In order to recognise key words and follow regional accents and dialects, speech-based technologies must usually be customised accordingly. Natsis says this will be done on a per-need basis in the company’s US labs.

Benefits are expected to include faster problem resolution, better agent performance and resulting improvements in customer retention and increase in revenues.

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