Surveys vs. Speech Analytics – Maximizing Understanding of Customer Experience

By Lisa Durant
On Apr 28, 2014
Monday, April 28, 2014

I recently attended a luncheon where customer survey best practices became quite a hot topic. The contact center and customer service managers who participated in this conversation were eager to truly understand their customers’ experiences; however, they were having difficulty capturing this information through customer surveys. 

All of the executives, especially those from verticals with difficult customer experience dynamics (e.g., insurance, collections, and government agencies), expressed frustration over how difficult it can be to design surveys that provide a true picture of their customers’ experiences. And, of course, everyone said that they struggled to get customers to respond to their surveys.

One VP of Marketing at a large professional services company explained how his organization had started diving deeper into customer experience by using speech analytics – a technology that analyzes spoken word conversations to gather information about the interaction. However, others expressed concern over speech analytics costs.

“Speech analytics is expensive, but it fixes problems,” says the Marketing VP, and I agree. Surveys provide insight into a sample of customers’ experiences; speech analytics can provide insight into every interaction without customers needing to do anything.

Nemertes is investigating speech analytics adoption rates and business cases in our 2014-15 Enterprise Technology Benchmark, and I am excited to look at this area further. As I reported in my recent Contact Center of the Future Key Trends Report, nearly all contact center vendors currently offer speech analytics either as self-developed solutions or through partners. Those who don’t currently offer it will likely do so by the end of 2015. 

Still, surveys aren’t going anywhere yet. While contact center and customer service managers should consider using speech analytics to gain insight into customer experience, anyone can also benefit from the following survey best practices: 

1.     Have the agent ask customers to take the survey – it’s harder to say no to a person than to a machine.

2.     Keep surveys short – surveys should take 5 minutes or less to complete.

3.     Keep questions simple – use clear, concise language, and avoid jargon that the general public might not understand.

4.     Stay relevant – set a clear goal for the survey, keep questions pertinent to that goal, and don’t turn the survey into a marketing platform.

5.     Ask, analyze, and then act – use surveys to identify problems that can be fixed and take action to fix those issues.

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