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By Tom Rimmer, Senior Executive, Speechmatics 

We’re all used to hearing that our calls will be recorded for training and quality purposes, but do any of us really know how the information is actually used?

Traditionally, going back 20+ years, consumers often visited the Bank Manager when they needed support. As generations have adopted technology into their lives, phone banking emerged and more recently, the use of digital platforms and technology. Trust in technology has allowed banks to provide a much more flexible service to their customers. Part of which is being able to analyse all the data they have on their customers to be able to understand them better, to improve their customer experience, and importantly identifying compliance breaches and disputes too.

Despite the huge amount of information captured on phone calls; it can be hard for banks to make the most of unstructured voice data. This is because unlike text-based communication, audio content – such as phone calls – is time-consuming and difficult to analyse manually, the onus has traditionally relied on the call agent to tag or make appropriate notes. In 2017, Call Centre Helper reported that only three percent of interactions are analysed by contact centres on average as a result, leaving 97 percent of potentially valuable customer information untouched.

Of course, there are limitations to digital platform interactions and therefore, engaging with humans is still of paramount importance to customers.  The need to speak to someone will still very much remain a focus. It is now crucial for banks and financial institutions to ensure they are adopting digital and automation technologies that enhance the customer experience.

How is information on these calls currently processed?

Call recordings historically have been reviewed manually and approximately by humans tagging within CRM systems and making notes, but this can be open to mistakes and agent’s misinterpretation of an interaction. On average, this can take around three hours for every one hour of recording.

Through any-context speech recognition, the technology takes on the administrative burden of transcribing the call. This gives staff the ability to efficiently process customer interactions and have visibility of any compliance issues, so good governance and due diligence will not be compromised. For example, in the recent and challenging times – if a customer were to highlight concerns over their credit facility and the burden of debt, the financial institution is then obliged to undertake specific processes to aid the caller. These triggers can sometimes be missed by the agents and therefore exposing the company to regulatory fines.

Automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology means that the majority of voice data can now be transcribed into a text-based format and analysed to improve customer satisfaction, improve operational cost efficiency and should an issue arise, the specific incident can be located and analysed quickly.

Processing calls in a remote working environment, however, poses complex regulatory challenges, like the onboarding and managing of customers whilst complying with regulations such as KYC, AML, GDPR etc. With financial institutions needing to automate, Regtech will have its moment in the sun. As more customers will be interacting with the banks over the phone rather than going into store, a particularly important component of Regtech going forward will be voice technology.

How is customer experience currently measured in contact centres?

Tools such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) are largely used to measure and understand the loyalty of customers.

As the point at which customers are most engaged and likely to provide feedback on their experiences, the contact centre is one of the best places to gather data on NPS and CSAT’s respective areas of focus: customer loyalty for NPS, and experience of a product, service or experience for CSAT.

How effective are these measures and how can voice tech help empower analytics and improve customer interactions?

NPS data is often gathered using a survey at the end of a call or in a follow up email. This approach isn’t especially effective, though, as customers often don’t have the time – or are unwilling – to fill these surveys out. How often have you provided a response and selected a similar answer across all of the questions in a feedback survey?

Instead, it would be far more useful for contact centre agents to have this information during the call itself, helping them to steer the conversation toward a positive conclusion. The opportunity does exist; after all, customers will provide direct and instant feedback all the time when interacting over the phone. The ability to identify positive or negative words, phrases, cross talk, profanity and pitch can provide instantaneous insight of the interaction.

Voice technology can support banks to visualise 100% of customer calls within the contact centres to streamline processes, flag compliance issues and optimise customer service. Using data to steer conversations can boost first contact resolution and reduce both customer and agent churn which is crucial in the current market conditions.

And, by automatically transcribing a customer’s words in real time during a call, the system can offer prompts, additional information, and even suggest escalating the call to a senior staff member if necessary. This also helps financial institutions evaluate and then categorise every customer interaction. By recording and analysing every customer interaction, companies can get a 360-degree view of the customer, map the customer journey and comply with regulations more effectively.

How can banks effectively extract information from the data set?

Once the audio recording has been automatically transcribed into a text-based format, it’s then possible to search the text using specific keywords. Not only can this illustrate a customer’s interactions with a particular product or service, allowing banks to adapt and improve future customer experiences but as outlined above, it can also highlight any issues or problems that might arise on a call so they can be resolved in near real-time.

How can voice technology support banks’ risks and compliance needs?

Banks and financial institutions need to make call records transparent and accessible in order to provide auditors and regulators with evidence that they’re compliant with a host of different regulations such GDPR, MiFiD II, and COBS 11.8. Indeed, the last of these, issued by the FCA, states that banks need to record all customer interactions.

However, without visibility of unstructured voice data, businesses are at risk of opening up gaps and blind spots in the management of that data which could leave them in breach of regulations. Voice technology is therefore vital to ensuring compliance. Quite simply, by transforming audio recordings into a text-based through the use of any-context speech recognition technology, it makes them more accessible.

It’s perhaps unsurprising then, that 91 percent of respondents to a recent study agreed their organisation should consider investing in contact centre compliance software a priority for 2020.

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