Agent Evaluation and Performance

Using Voice Analytics to Understand Retail Customers

CallCabinet | March 10, 2022

Call recording is often thought of as a necessary end to meet compliance laws, but many businesses use it for a wide array of secondary benefits. Using modern AI-driven voice analytics, a phone-driven retail organization can accurately view how their sales and support staff are engaging their customers.

Voice Analytics in Retail

Who benefits? Who is in play?

Increasingly, retail environments are moving away from brick-and-mortar storefronts toward online and phone-based ordering systems. An enormous number of sales are made over the phone every year, and in many instances closing a sale requires multiple follow-up calls from your employees to your customers. Most of us tune out the phrase “this call is being recorded for quality assurance” but it’s important to ask just how we’re applying those recordings to our quality measures. 

Every retail organization that records its calls can benefit significantly from voice analytics. Analytics help us synthesize enormous amounts of data into accurate and digestible topics. Analytics are highly configurable and allow us to thoroughly assess how our employees interact with our customer base. 

Customizing Voice Analytics

Teach your analytics to hunt for data.  

Voice analytics is highly customizable. It’s unlikely a voice analytics platform will perform well for you out of the box. To maximize your gain, you must teach your voice analytics your company’s vocabulary. Imagine your voice analytics platform as a new employee. New hires need training, some of your time and regular updating. 

However, this is no regular hire; this is like a mega manager who can listen to thousands of conversations at once and capture the details you’re most concerned with while tuning out all irrelevant data. This mega manager writes current reports effortlessly and can quickly pivot when it’s time to focus on a new topic.

Your voice analytics platform will need to know the name of your products and services, the common phrases used to describe features, support issues, and, well, what it sounds like when someone expresses themselves in a less than polite manner. This goes for your customers and your agents. Once the analytics engine has a handle on your company vocabulary, it’s up to you to make intelligent use of the information you’re about to uncover. 

Challenge 1: Gauging Agent Performance

Phone agents don’t always work to a standard. Especially now that so many work remotely. 

Phone agents are the lifeblood of your call center sales floor. However, that sales floor may now be spread out over numerous locations. You may have some working in the call center and others working remotely, which has been a growing trend in companies across the globe.

Very few people tasked with running a sales department have the time to go through all phone recordings of their sales team members. At best, most managers use a flimsy practice called random sampling, which reviews calls randomly at a much lower ratio than can be deemed slightly effective. 

How can a supervisor or manager know if sales agents are using the best practices the company has trained them to use? Looking at an agent’s sales numbers and complaints offers you a view with limited detail, but it won’t tell you the underlying reason an agent is underperforming. Are they polite and able to educate your customers on your product? Do they get off the phone quickly or go for the upsell? Are they making promises the company cannot keep? How do you know what the remote agents are doing at all? 

Challenge 2: Detecting Churn

In a high-volume phone center, it’s hard to measure the pulse of the customer. 

Churn, also known as attrition, is the rate at which customers abandon or cancel services with a business over time. It’s a natural occurrence, and every business experiences it, but successful businesses get to the bottom of the issue that’s causing churn before it significantly impacts the company. 

Sometimes churn has a clear cause, but all too often, different customers have different reasons for moving on. Getting to the heart of the issue is difficult with a large call volume. There’s a compound reason for some customers, like the cost of a software subscription mixed with a lack of modern features. For others, they simply don’t like how they’re treated by customer service. The reasons go on endlessly, and while they’re pretty easy to understand, taken one by one, how is a supervisor to know which customer is suffering from which underlying cause of churn? 

Keywords, Call Scripts, and Voice Analytics

Set a standard. Use analytics to check agent performance.

One powerful feature available to voice analytics users is the ability to check keywords, phrases, tone and variants of word choice spoken during a phone interaction. 

Detecting inappropriate language occurring in your call volume is a helpful tool for identifying hostile interactions. Your voice analytics platform should be able to discern whether the agent or the customer is using inappropriate language. This allows supervisors to distinguish which calls need to be addressed with their agents and which ones can be ignored. 

Employing a phone script or even a list of phrases that keep the tone of a call positive with your agents is a powerful practice. When set to detect words and phrases from your script, voice analytics can show you which of your agents are using the directions you’ve given them and how often. 

By using phrases and outcomes in your analytics, successful behaviors can be recognized and compared across employees, allowing management to determine who may need additional training or coaching.  Recognizing these behaviors often helps increase the success rate of sales, thus providing useful tidbits of data that can be incorporated into the training of new employees and improving existing ones.

Bonus: Use call recordings to train agents.

The more you use a voice analytics platform, the larger the body of knowledge your call volume becomes. Separating your calls into topical categories provides an additional benefit: training. As you develop a training curriculum for new and existing agents, you’ll provide clear and concise examples of successes and failures from your call center. Demonstrate the best sales tactics, showcase the phrases that help customers make a decision, give an example of the tone a support agent should maintain with a hostile customer. Talking about these issues is one thing, but providing audio from actual calls is decisively more effective in the training process. 

Make a Voice Analytics Plan

You’ll want to devise a voice analytics plan, a map that flags your most important keywords and phrases. These words should come from the most common phrases customers use to express happiness, disappointment, frustration, interest and anger. A voice analytics platform can report keyword trends, competitor mentions, and even feature requests (provided you feed the various names of those features to your platform). Your voice analytics engine should also help you stay on top of trending support issues. Looking at a daily call volume of keywords detected by your platform can help you get ahead of a problem before it snowballs. 


Devise, analyze, act.

Getting an accurate understanding of your customer interactions through voice analytics is equal parts choosing the right platform and planning your use of it. Chances are, you already know what questions you would ask of a mega manager that could listen to thousands of calls all at once. Taking the time to train an analytics platform to answer those questions is well worth it, and it can increase customer satisfaction and raise your revenue.

CallCabinet has call recording and advanced AI-driven voice analytics applications which allow supervisors to see 100% of every agent’s performance picture. To learn more about CallCabinet’s AI-driven voice analytics, contact CallCabinet today.

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