Silence Speaks Volumes


Ember’s Lee Mostari explains how using speech analytics to track silent time can provide valuable insight into agent knowledge – and the effectiveness of training to handle certain interaction types.

It’s obvious: speech analytics is mostly used to examine what customers are saying. But there’s plenty you can learn from silence too. If there are long periods in your calls where no-one is saying anything, that’s often an indicator of a bad customer experience. It’s also an indicator that agents lack the knowledge to answer the customer query. The silence occurs as the advisor is rooting around the knowledge management system to find out how to do something, or putting the customer on hold to ask a colleague for help.

Also, once the changes have been made you can continue to monitor the Customer Confusion rate at a later date and see if the changes bear weight. You never know another issue may have arisen too.

In this instance, you could build an ‘Opportunity’ category and search for language associated with a sales opportunity. Depending on your business, that could be upgrades or cross-selling, or more nuanced issues, like the customer referring to an old or broken piece of equipment they plan to replace, or a product or service that they weren’t happy with.

Then, with the key terms identified, the analytics software can examine all relevant call recordings and transcripts to see how often these opportunities occur across the business. Reports can be generated for each advisor.

Introducing Silent Time Analysis

To understand this, we increasingly recommend a silent time analysis to our clients, covering a wealth of calls of different types and handled by different agents. We use an average, calculated across all the clients we’ve done this for, as a benchmark. Currently, that stands at 28% silent time – or more than a quarter of the time our clients’ teams spend on calls. That immediately feels like an opportunity for improvement. But that that opportunity seemed greater still for an insurance client. When we conducted a silent time analysis there, the figure was over 37%.

Breaking the Silence

Importantly, the analysis goes deeper. For the insurer, we also provided individual figures for each agent. Managers could then deliver targeted coaching to different team members to shorten the silences. You’ll find some great tips to avoid ‘dead air’ here.

We also often couple this type of work with demand drivers analysis. This shows where silent time varies across call types. This can make individual coaching even more focused. But if there are pauses in the same types of calls across the board, that might reveal gaps in training or the advisor knowledge base. Addressing those could help increase sales, retention, or customer satisfaction.

Put it to the test

Silent time analysis is a rapid, low-cost way to gain important insights into agent performance. We can conduct an analysis of 2,000 hours of call recordings and provide a short insight report for just £5,000. To find out more, or book an analysis, contact me today.

Lee Mostari, Director of Insights and Analytics, Ember Group

T: +44 (0)7931 319081
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About Ember:

We are a business services group providing specialist management consultancy, training, analytics and executive search. We’re joined by a shared ethos of doing the right thing for our clients, and a shared focus on the customer experience and how to improve it – with the end goal of increasing value for our clients.

Contact us today to find out how we can help your organisation!