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BusinessDay: Why speech analytics is important in contact centres

By evaluating words and phrases customers use, speech analytics can help firms gain a better understanding of client preferences and levels of satisfaction.

By Johan Steyn, 20 February 2023


The flavours of plums, blueberries and dark chocolate were annexing my taste buds as my glass brimmed with Malbec. I was enjoying the world’s best red wine while visiting my favourite wine farm in the Western Cape. Established in 1682, Blaauwklippen is one of the oldest wine farms in Stellenbosch.


It is a place where history meets the future. Across the road is Technopark, home of some of the most promising technology firms in SA. A collaborative effort by Stellenbosch University and the local government, it boasts organisations such as Capitec Bank, Dragonfly Aerospace, Experian, and General Electric. It is a place brimming with innovation and talent.


The Alphawave Group is one of the most promising tech firms headquartered in the park. With more than 300 employees they have a portfolio of 16 innovative tech businesses. A diamond in their technology jewel box is Callbi Speech Analytics.


Callbi is an international cloud-based software-as-a-service speech analytics solution for contact centres. I was honoured to speak to CEO Francois du Plessis and COO Gert Fourie about the exciting platform they have created.


“Our platform makes speech analytics easy to deploy, use and add value to your business, at a surprisingly affordable cost.” Du Plessis told me that their technology is recorder agnostic and requires no integration with existing platforms.


But why is speech analytics important in contact centres? Fourie explained that speech analytics is a process that is driven by technology that provides businesses with the ability to better understand the interactions with customers that take place in contact centres. By evaluating the words and phrases that are used by customers, speech analytics can assist businesses in gaining a better understanding of client requirements, preferences, and levels of satisfaction.


“Our proprietary speech-to-text technology is fully compliant with international data security standards. We monitor and analyse 100% of our clients’ contact centre calls. It ensures compliance, and enables them to improve sales, service or collections effectiveness.”


A few years ago, speech analytics was only accessible to a few elite contact centres that were able to afford the hefty price tag. This meant that most contact centres were left to manually listen to calls in order to improve their service.

The recent accessibility and affordability of artificial intelligence (AI) technology have made speech analytics both more advanced and effective. Transformer-based AI models (the technology that ChatGPT is based on) are starting to develop very useful capabilities, such as reading through your contact centre interactions and summarising the conversation or even making recommendations.


Du Plessis further explained that Callbi makes use of proprietary speech-to-text technology developed over a period of more than 15 years, and accurately transcribes and analyses English, Sotho, Zulu, Afrikaans, Tswana and Swahili, with other African vernacular languages in development.


Callbi also provides more than 20 additional international languages due to its partnership with the San Francisco-based speech recognition company Deepgram.


My challenge to business owners is that next time you enjoy the Malbec, look no further than across the road for companies such as Callbi that can help you revolutionise how your customers interact with your firm.


• Steyn is on the faculty at Woxsen University, a research fellow at Stellenbosch University and the founder of AIforBusiness.net


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