Voice of the Customer: The Plot Thickens!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What a boon it would be if we could get computers to make 'Cliff Notes' of long research reports, chapters in books on economic theory, or interactions between customers and frontline customer care agents.  

Though we've always been able to listen to caller-agent interaction, we've only recently tried to use automation to meaningfully characterize what's happening.

Chat, Speech Analytics, and to a lesser degree Web analytics, provide some insight into the customer's world. Computers can translate speech onto text with some degree of accuracy. Once text is available, it can be analyzed for word counts and recently, to look for 'emotive' content. 

However, it's a mistake to believe that computers have the ability to understand what's happening, 'the plot and storyline' of an interaction...something that a human can easily do.

Breaking stories down for a computer "involves not only encoding story elements like characters, events, and plot, but also the 'common sense' people take for granted", said [Margaret] Sarlej. Telling a story is simple enough for a child to do, but stories are actually "incredibly complex".

"For example, if Bob gives Alice an apple, Alice will have the apple, and Bob will not. To a person, that's obvious, and doesn't require explanation. If Bob punches Carl, people would generally assume Carl will be unhappy about it, but a computer doesn't have the 'common sense' to make such an inference. In a computer programme, details like this must be explicitly spelled out," she said.

Source: The Guardian - Computer programmed to write its own fables

We've all experienced the misunderstanding of intent e.g. irony and humor, that can plague email and chat exchanges; and these are interpreted by humans!

Using acoustic cues, Speech Analytic software can attempt to document a caller's 'sentiment'. However, there are limitation in what acoustic algorithms can do with diverse human tonality, background noise, circuit noise, and the limited bandwidth available during phone conversations.

For more on this topic: CallCenteHelper.com - Sentiment Analysis

In the final analysis, if you want to meaningfully characterize and document the Voice of the Customer, the 'plot and storyline' of interactions, automation can't hope to match what a freshman in high school can accomplish.

Call Intelligence - Better by Design

Call Intelligence Inc. is a Transactional Intelligence and Design Consultancy with over 24 years helping our clients to better understand and improve the outcomes of interactions with their prospects and customers.

Our analyses allow us to map, correlate and prioritize thousands of possible relationships between marketing programs, call handling systems, calls, callers, call components, concerns, agents, competition, etc...and outcomes.