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WFM Scenario Planning

Speech Analytics: a no-brainer for the water utilities sector

6 min read
Author Alex White
Date May 10, 2012
Category Speech and Interaction Analytics

Although a monopolised market, the budgets of water and sewerage companies are at the mercy of their performance. Ofwat (The Water Service Regulation Authority) uses the recently created Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) as a measure of the quality of service provided by the water and sewerage sectors of England and Wales.

The prices that water companies are permitted to charge their customers are a reflection of their performance on these measures; a company providing a good service to their customers will be able to charge more than a company with poor performance. Any tool that gives a water company a head start on these requirements could be of huge value. Speech analytics, with the ability to mine 100% of audio data and provide an in-depth understanding of key customer issues before they reach crisis point, is such a tool.

peech analytics & first call resolution
The SIM, which was introduced in April 2010, takes into account the quality of a company’s service, as well as the reliability and response times. Companies will be incentivised to ‘get things right first time’ (according to Ofwat publication ‘Putting water consumers first – the service incentive mechanism’). The emphasis is on resolving customer questions and complaints at the first point of contact – so how can speech analytics help you deliver this? First call resolution functions provide an immediate insight into the number of repeat calls customers have to make within a set time period, allowing speedy analysis of which calls could have been prevented and most importantly, why. Isolating the agents and call topics that drive the most repeat calls is easily done, with simple call categorisation and use of agent-level metadata. Speech analytics will provide you with the means to meet your customer’s needs at the earliest stage possible, saving you money and time (by reducing ‘failure demand’) and increasing customer satisfaction.

Getting to the heart of what drives customer dissatisfaction
Ofwat separates its consumer measures into two categories – quantitative (the number of complaints and telephone calls received) and qualitative (satisfaction with the quality of service). Speech analytics can track these key metrics for you, keeping you in control by allowing the monitoring and resolution of customer dissatisfaction before issues are passed to Ofwat. By searching across every call in your contact centre, trends such as call spikes around a specific conversation topic, or customers stating that they are unhappy with their service, can be quickly spotted by supervisors and appropriate action taken. The same calls can be referred back to by quality teams looking to understand what drives (and what helps to reduce) customer dissatisfaction.

These new performance measures were formally introduced from 2010/11 and having had a chance to bed down, this year could be the optimum time to invest in speech analytics to see the returns at the next round of performance assessments and price reviews in 2014. With Ofwat capable of using speech analytics to monitor your compliance and the ability to improve your customer service today, whilst reaping the benefits tomorrow, speech analytics is a viable consideration.

If you want to find out more about how speech analytics can benefit your water utilities business contact Business Systems now.