Say goodbye to the traditional contact center. So long are the days when agents make and receive calls from the same room on the same equipment where managers and supervisors can easily monitor sales activity and ensure compliance and quality. Today’s contact centers have evolved from a place where you worked into a function that encompasses every employee that touches the customer in some way.

The contact center is no longer any building or location, but a highly decentralized “nerve center” where ALL client and prospect communications are linked through a secure (and often cloud-based) network that ties everything together. People working in branches, home offices, HQ and even road warriors are connected virtually like never before. The very definition of an ‘agent’ is being rewritten to include anyone who touches a customer on behalf of the firm.

The rules have changed and thus, the strategies and processes available to manage agents have changed as well.

According to Nemertes Research, the number of telecommuters has increased by 800% in the past five years. This is a staggering stat that should open the eye of every contact center manager. As sales agents increasingly work remotely, the ability to effectively and efficiently manage them becomes more difficult.

Quick Poll:

Are you confident that you have full visibility into the client-related activity of your agents? And by activity, I’m referring to the number of calls they’re making, how they’re communicating with customers, and whether those conversations are actually effective and in compliance with company policy.

As a sales manager, you’re judged on revenue in the door against goal. But if you can’t even capture the activity of your agents—activity that is predictive of revenue—you don’t have the insight into what is working or not, let alone improve effectiveness and conversion.

But now, you can record all those agent calls from wherever they’re working automatically without requiring any particular device or process. And now that you can do that, Speech Analytics takes the guess work out of what agents are doing by interpreting call audio from any device and turning it into accurate, actionable insight.

In the 21st century contact center, Speech Analytics extends beyond the four walls of the call center and turns unstructured audio data into actionable intelligence so sales managers can monitor the performance of their distributed teams to determine which agents are performing well (and why) and which require training…all from a web browser.

We’ve all been the consumer on the other end of the phone when a sales call goes awry. This can happen for a number of reasons: the timing is off, the number being called is not preferred, the salesman is not getting the hint, etc. Establishing good rapport with customers is paramount, but the most annoying sales habit is being too pushy (according to AMA Research). If your reps are saying the wrong things when engaging with clients, it can be detrimental to your business—resulting in lost deals, potentially enormous fines, and brand damage.

Speech analytics can fix this. Here’s how.

Speech analytics, especially when integrated with high quality audio capture, can process call transcripts, conversational acoustics, and behaviors to help managers monitor conversational call activity across dispersed sales teams.

As part of this, and one of the reasons why we partner with CallMiner, is that our call recording and compliance features capture acoustic indicators from both parties on a call such as excitement, silence, or agitation and uses these measures to score thresholds—enabling sales agents to qualify a sales campaign based on the prospect’s tone and managers to evaluate an agent based on their level of enthusiasm.

This technology empowers managers to enforce script compliance, troubleshoot issues, benchmark successful behaviors, and quickly capitalize on new opportunities like cross- and up-selling. You can even be alerted if a rep uses too many ‘ahhhs, ummms, and ya knows’ on calls so you can coach that behavior right out of your organization.

As the ‘traditional’ contact center is changing, it’s an exciting time for both managers and end-users. Technology like Speech Analytics has always afforded sales managers with opportunities to better manage the performance of their agents. But now they can apply it to include every agent representing the company to increase overall sales effectiveness, whether or not they are “in the office.”

How are you managing your sales reps? Have you integrated speech analytics into your dispersed sales team? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

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