Ember’s managed analytics service is helping life and health insurer Vitality to transform quality management in its busy contact centre – releasing the quality team from basic call listening to focus on value-adding activity. That’s resulted in improvements to the customer experience and increased compliance with core internal processes.

With a team of more than 550 customer service advisors, Vitality manages over 1M calls a year. Many of these are highly sensitive, focused on health and life cover and claims – and with a reputation for award-winning customer service to protect, it’s essential that Vitality’s advisors handle these calls correctly.


To that end, the company has a large quality team in its contact centre, whose role used to be focused on quality assessment of the thousands of calls Vitality received. Team members would spend large amounts of time listening back to call recordings to check whether advisors had asked all relevant questions and covered terms and conditions.

It was a slow and time-consuming process, and one that nobody relished. For the quality team, it felt like a ‘policing’ role – quality monitoring – rather than a supportive one, focused on improving quality. Advisors, meanwhile, found it similarly frustrating; they would have the one call where they’d missed a detail played back to them, with little or no recognition of the 99% they’d managed correctly.

With these issues in mind, Vitality began to explore the possibility of introducing speech analytics to support quality assessment. Analytics solution vendors promised the ability to automate quality monitoring – using the software to do the bulk of the initial monitoring and flag up any recordings where the advisor went off-script.

Tape Recording


On paper, it looked like a far more effective approach, but as Business Performance Director Simon Evans explained, “we didn’t have the expert knowledge in-house to deliver speech analytics.” While clearly recruitment and training could resolve that, it would add to the total cost of introducing analytics and delay the time to benefit; after all, Vitality hadn’t even procured a solution yet.

Around this time, Ember had re-launched its managed analytics offer, and Vitality, as a long-term Ember client, was amongst the first to hear about it. It was the ideal solution; an opportunity to gain the benefits of speech analytics without the costs and complexity of buying and managing the software in-house.

Discussions began in earnest, with Ember seeking to understand Vitality’s aims and examining its existing contact centre solution set. The Ember team recommended CallMiner Eureka and Coach as the right solution – due, in particular, to its frontline agent performance management dashboard, which would support the quality assessment requirement. With Vitality’s agreement, Ember then procured and deployed the Call Miner solution, configuring it to meet Vitality’s immediate needs.

“The whole process was so easy for us,” Simon recalls. “Ember’s knowledge of the market shone through from the very start, so we were confident in the choice of solution. Then because it was deployed as a managed service, we could leave Ember in complete control – just reporting to us once they had begun the analytic work.”


The first task was to focus on quality assessment; Ember configured the Eureka solution to provide Vitality with all the answers it needed. Every call is now recorded, transcribed and analysed for key terms that relate to the quality monitoring, with detailed reports being shared regularly with Vitality to help it track quality against business targets.

As well as the overall picture, the system supports individual learning and development: where a call is flagged as raising potential concerns or uncertainties, the Vitality quality team can listen back to the recording or check transcripts.

This is a far more targeted approach than previously, freeing up the quality team to focus on exceptions, rather than going on lengthy ‘fishing’ expeditions to find problems. Victoria Franz Head of Quality & Efficiency explains “Instead of spending the majority of their time reviewing calls, they can focus on the next step; working with advisors to improve their performance.” Victoria added, “It’s more rewarding for them and it is a far better use of their time.”

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Crucially, because 100% of calls are being analysed, the quality team are able to consider the context of each advisor’s wider work. That, in turn, means that it is clear where a failure to stick to the script was a one-off – or where there appears to be a specific training need. The response of advisors has been extremely positive, as they recognise this as a fairer and more measured way of looking at their performance.

Freed from the constraints of simply checking that advisors had ticked all the necessary boxes, the quality team are now able to consider softer aspects of call handling. For example, Ember has added additional rules to the CallMiner system that enables the quality team to assess whether calls are being managed with the empathy that Vitality expects.

For Victoria, this has two benefits: “Ember’s advice and input has meant we can now quantify these important factors, which feeds into our understanding of the customer experience. What’s more, we can then use that insight as the basis for highly focused individual coaching for advisors – which is far more effective, as it’s personalised for them.”


Further changes to the analytics system, all made by Ember as part of the managed service, have focused on different processes, including claims handling and renewals. Again, these support individual training and business-wide performance management, as well as providing insights for process change.

“From our perspective, it’s been a model managed service,” Simon concludes. “We’re benefiting from powerful speech analytics software, without having to buy it – and we’re able to call on Ember’s experts to ensure it’s delivering the insights we need. They’re flexible and proactive, suggesting new ways we can use the solution to improve our business.”

About Vitality:

Vitality is the first health and life insurance provider to reward people for healthy living with its “shared value” model. Owned by Discovery Holdings, it provides cover to over a million customers. In 2018, it launched VitalityInvest.

The client view:

“From our perspective, it’s been a model managed service. We’re benefiting from powerful speech analytics software, without having to buy it – and we’re able to call on Ember’s experts to ensure it’s delivering the insights we need.”
Simon Evans, Business Performance Director, Vitality

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