The truth about real-time voice analytics: Too good to be true?

Abigail Sims

May 4, 2021

As a conversation analytics company, we get asked about real-time voice analytics a lot. (Like, a lot.) Our platform, Tethr, uses AI and machine learning to analyze customer conversations and provide actionable insights based on that information. And out in the market today, that often sounds to the eager sales leader’s ear like real-time. It’s not. Real-time, put simply, is when all those analytics take place in the space of a second, and then surface on the sales representative’s screen as a popup, score, or another form of immediate guidance. Sounds great, right? 

Maybe not. 

We believe that providing real-time voice analytics hurts more than it helps. Here’s why: 

Sacrifice quality for speed

The dirty truth about a lot of companies that promise real-time voice analytics is that their results sacrifice quality for speed. They use very surface-level observations, like surfacing tonal sentiment or one-off keywords, to produce “insights” of dubious accuracy. The red, yellow, or green lights during a call may look like results—but, as we observed back in 2018, “artificial intelligence only works when coupled with human intelligence to inform, interpret and leverage it.” In the long run, we’ve found that those surface level real-time insights aren’t reliable enough to drive any sort of positive business outcome. 

Detrimental to employee growth

Not only are screen popups, flashing lights, and other hallmarks of the real-time voice analytics dream unreliable indicators of a call’s success, they’re also bad for your employees. These invasive measures provide a poor employee experience, and can increase the likelihood of employee churn. There’s also an argument to be made about whether your sales or service reps will even learn anything from this type of guidance, based on research about how adults learn

Meet the Tethr Effort Index

Negative customer experience

We wouldn’t be Tethr if we didn’t mention how real-time voice analytics impacts the customer experience. When the sales or service representative answers the phone, what happens when that rep is waiting for a prompt on the screen to tell them what to do? The customer has to wait—or worse, the customer starts to feel that the rep isn’t in control of the situation, and won’t be able to help them. That loss of confidence immediately makes this start to feel like a high-effort experience, which of course, we don’t want. 

So, with all that in mind, we look at it a little differently. The question isn’t can we provide real-time voice analytics—the question really is, should we want to? 

We get asked about real-time voice analytics a lot, and these are just a few of the reasons why that question makes us pause. We’ve tested several iterations of real-time, but there’s just not a solution that addresses our concerns listed above. When it comes to delivering real business value, driving sales, and improving the customer experience, a solution like Tethr that takes the time to analyze and quantify call data before delivering feedback consistently wins the day. 

Want to learn more about Tethr, and what insights we can surface for your business? Request a demo today to get started.

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