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Article : Workforce Optimization Undergoes Radical Change

#contactcenterworld, @ventanaresearch

In today’s intensely competitive markets, companies must strive to meet customer expectations during every interaction, and interactions occur through many channels.

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement finds that customers use up to 17 channels of engagement. Some channels involve assisted service from employees of the company, and some use self-service technologies such as interactive voice response (IVR), websites, mobile apps and social media, also known as digital service. Although the use of self-service is increasing, the research finds that organizations still expect volumes of assisted interactions to grow, albeit more slowly. The research also shows that the employees customers interact with may work in almost any line of business, including marketing, sales, the contact center, finance and human resources. These challenges require organizations to focus on people, processes, information and technology to optimize the performance of the workforce.

To meet customer expectations during assisted interactions, companies must have the right number of skilled employees available, including cases in which the customer begins in a digital channel but switches to assisted service, and handle a number of functions:

  • Route interactions to the employee most likely to satisfy a particular customer and situation.
  • Build work schedules that match agents’ numbers and skills to expected volumes and types of interactions. To do that requires systems that are responsive and flexible enough to handle unexpected events such as sudden surges of interactions or employee illness and absences.
  • Assess the performance of agents and other employees handing interactions, and determine future training and coaching for individual needs.
  • Motivate employees to improve their performance.
  • Give employees access to all information and systems that can help resolve issues, as often as possible at the first attempt.
  • Enable employees to find and collaborate with others who can help resolve issues without having to call the customer back.
  • Assess the overall performance of interaction handling to ensure it remains within operational guidelines while meeting business objectives, and plan process improvements to optimize the customer journey and the agent experience.

To accomplish all these tasks, companies need to use a combination of systems, which collectively are known as workforce optimization. Our research into next-generation workforce optimization finds that the three types of systems most commonly in use are call recording (78%), quality management (70%) and workforce management (45%), although coaching (17%) and e-learning (15%) are the most likely to be deployed over the next two years. In each of these categories both conventional systems and newer, more capable ones are available.

Regarding the most popular kind we note that companies have been recording calls for many years but that few use them to full advantage. Typically, companies listen to a small percentage of calls and use this to manually complete agent performance scorecards. More innovative organizations use speech analytics systems that enable them to utilize all calls, automate much of the agent performance assessment process and most importantly link this information with customer feedback. Such companies record all types of interactions and use multiple forms of analytics systems to create an even broader picture of agent performance and customer experience.

Quality management systems are also mature but typically support a manual process of creating and filling out scorecards for different types of interactions. Here again more advanced systems use analytics to automate much of the process, including calculation of agent quality scores.

Workforce management systems typically use historical data about interaction patterns to produce work schedules that optimize available resources and meet operational targets. More advanced systems monitor employee performance against those schedules and include capabilities to optimize short-term agent utilization, for example by filling idle time with training and coaching.

Coaching and e-learning is a less mature category. Conventional products use the output from quality monitoring and analytics to identify coaching and training tasks, which can then be scheduled using workforce management. The most advanced systems can extract data from competed interactions to illustrate areas in need of improvement, or identify the performance of other employees who handle interactions using best practices.

As well as these advances in core workforce optimization applications, there are a number of potential game changers. The first is analytics. As I have already highlighted, analytics is increasingly important to workforce optimization. Participants in our next-generation customer engagement research said it will have the greatest impact of any application on customer and employee satisfaction. Advanced speech and text analytics, used in combination with structured data analytics, can produce a comprehensive view of interaction handling, employee performance and customer satisfaction. It can spot trends and issues, and predict likely outcomes of future interactions. This information can be used to forecast future resource requirements, suggest process changes, identify training and coaching needs, and automate calculation of metrics focused on both customers and employees, such as first-contact-resolution rates across channels, customer effort scores, customer lifetime value and agent performance. These metrics can become an integral part of gamification techniques that track and reward agents for performance in day-to-day operations and for taking part in training, coaching and game-playing sessions to help hone skills.

Technology integration is having an impact of workforce optimization. Nearly half (48%) of participants in our next-generation workforce optimization research said that it is important for these applications to be integrated. If they are, what have previously been stand-alone processes can flow across application boundaries: For example, customer feedback can link to quality monitoring, analytics can support information-driven processes in multiple applications, and e-learning sessions can be automatically inserted into agent schedules. Integration of applications also supports a closed-loop approach to workforce optimization that uses analytics to assess past performance, identify areas for improvement and monitor the impact of changes.

Other innovations also are having impacts. Many vendors now support access to their systems from mobile devices so that employees can work away from their desk – for instance, supervisors walking the contact center floor – or home. Cloud computing opens up the opportunity for small and midsize companies to access capabilities similar to those designed for large enterprises.

As I said, our research shows that assisted service has and will continue to play a key role in interacting with customers, and these people and processes must be managed. Increasing demands from customers, multiple channels of engagement, greater volumes of interactions and more complex interactions all increase the urgency of deploying the right number of skilled employees to deal with customers. I therefore recommend to organizations that rely on outdated systems, particularly spreadsheets, to manage those tasks evaluate how more advanced, analytics-driven systems can improve the performance of employees and consequently the customer experience.


About Richard Snow:
Richard leads Ventana Research’s Customer and Contact Center research practice, which is dedicated to helping organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing their customers, throughout their lifetime and across all touch points, including the contact center. He conducts research exploring the people, process, information and technology issues behind customer operations management, contact center management, and customer experience management. He also works with senior business operations and IT managers to ensure that companies get the best performance.

About Ventana Research:
Company LogoVentana Research is a benchmark research and advisory services firm. They provide guidance to help organizations manage and optimize performance. Ventana Research focuses on business and technology trends and best practices that maximize organizations’ potential to perform while reducing the time, cost and risk and still achieve optimal outcomes.
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Today's Tip of the Day - “Niceness” Alone Doesn’t Create Customer Loyalty

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide Speech Technology


Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
PH: +1 (512) 333 4634

Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
PH: +1 512-872-7565

Call Tracking Metrics

Execute automated actions based on words spoken by your customer.

Our intelligent word detection and transcription tools make it easier for you to decipher the content of your customer conversations and automate action based on those insights.

Transform the audio of your calls into speaker-organized scripts so you can easily search your call log for specific words from a conversation, or automatically detect when words of intent are spoken by your customer.

Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.
PH: 8005771872


Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
(read more)
PH: +61404697151


Advanced speech recognition and natural language expertise that routes callers by simply asking ‘how can I help you?’. It allows customers to use their own words to ask for what they want and steers them to the right place.

Menus are eliminated altogether and contact centres can use a single inbound telephone number.
PH: 01442 458300

MattsenKumar LLC

SmartSpeech – The Best In Class Speech Analytics Software

An all-inclusive speech analytics application that enables you to visualize your audio using state-of-the-art speech recognition, transcription, and text analytics technologies.
PH: +91 99026 10044


InTone Suite - Emotion Detection via Voice Analysis
InTone™ is a voice analysis tool geared to detect genuine emotional and cognitive reactions regardless of the speaker’s language or chosen intonation.
It integrates into existing contact center environments and provides realtime indications of both client and agent emotional reactions throughout all ongoing calls. This unique set of indications assists managers and call center representatives to truly understand the client, improve call center performance, easily detect angry calls, elevate training efficiency and provide a tailored customer experience in every single call.

Nemesysco's contact center technology is also available in API and SDK forms.
Please visit our website for information about our product portfolio.
PH: +972-9-9605894

Voci Technologies Incorporated

V-Blaze Speech to Text
Our GPU-accelerated, AI-based technology enables you to deliver greater insights to the contact center by transcribing audio into analyzable text.

- Transcribe large volumes of recorded audio quickly
- Integrate transcripts with your analytics or business intelligence platform
- Reduce your hardware footprint and minimize total cost of ownership
PH: 412-621-9310


Voxjar is your one-stop-shop for driving better phone calls with your customers. We're a modern Conversation Analytics and Call Coaching Platform.

- Custom Charts and Dashboards give you the freedom to analyze calls from the highest level down to the details of each conversation.

- AI-Powered Speech Analytics transcribes, searches, and analyzes your reps' phone conversations, at scale.

- Quality Assurance and Call Coaching tools let you evaluate and improve agent performance with a human touch.

- Long term recording storage for historical analysis

All of these together provide the holistic, easy-to-use software that you need to manage a modern call team and create better con...
(read more)

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This Expert Panel virtual event invites you to talk with Calabrio’s cloud-smart experts about how your contact center can accelerate your cloud transformation and power tangible results for your business. Insights discussed are based on Calabrio's re... Read More...

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