Predicting Caller Intent

Written By Tim Wirth

Today and tomorrow, Paris is hosting VoiceTech — an annual event discussing ideas and innovations around voice technology. 

A key theme is brands can really gain insights from phone conversations to improve the customer experience and increase sales revenue.

This year, VoiceTech includes some great talks covering a wide range of topics covering all aspects of voice technology, including: AI, IVR routing, biometrics, sentiment analysis and voice bots. 

These are technologically sophisticated solutions that help companies identify people’s intent after they have spoken, and can be used during or after phone calls.

Understanding Phone Calls, Before They Even Start 

The words people speak, the way they say those words, the timing, the tone of voice… can all produce a mass of data to be digitised and analysed.

To gain a fuller, more complete picture of the caller’s intent, you can look at what each caller was doing beforehand, and what drove them to call you.

  1. If they have been on your international luxury holiday website searching for holiday locations and have spent the last few minutes looking at pictures for one specific location — they probably want to book a holiday there.
  2. If they have been looking at the FAQ pages on your website to see how they can switch from another energy supplier — they probably want you to become their energy supplier. 

Understanding the caller’s online behaviour before they call you, gives you a more complete picture of their intent and gives you the opportunity to improve the customer experience.

For instance, in the first example you could send that caller to an agent who speaks their language. And if they have started an online booking process you can pass that booking to the agent.

Similarly, if you are the energy supplier, you may decide that a new customer switching to you takes priority over a support call, so their call is answered next.

Club Med and Total Direct Energie

Two leading companies, Club Med and Total Direct Energie, are innovative customers proving how valuable it is to understand caller intent.

By combining data from website visits, CRM systems, marketing technologies, and phone calls they have both delivered superior customer experience and commercial results.

Speakers from Club Med and Total Direct Energie will be sharing their experiences at VoiceTech.

Reasons to Understand Intent Before the Call

  1. Training Machine Learning
  2. Call Routing
  3. Prepare Your Agent
  4. Marketing Attribution

1. Training Machine Learning

The technology for understanding speech is progressing rapidly, especially around machine learning. 

One of the key practical issues we are seeing with machine learning implementations is how to build high-quality training data that is specific to a client’s business context, terminology, and languages.

As our Head of Product, Jeremy Hamill-Keays explains in “Learn to Make Stew Before You Implement Machine Learning” machine learning for voice and speech, requires high quality training data that is:

  • Very specific for each client.
  • Collected easily.

The more holistic the data, the quicker the machine will learn. Companies are looking to implement new strategies quickly to improve customer experience.

Long waiting times, busy agents, and repeated questions all add effort and friction, driving customers to look elsewhere.

Capturing the caller’s intent and recording the calls is a practical, effective way to build a high-quality training dataset. There are multiple, scalable ways to digitally capture intent data for instance:

  • Predicting intent from the caller’s online journey.
  • Asking a sample of callers to choose their reason for calling from a call to action widget.
  • Asking agents to manually categorise calls.
  • Sending callers a post-call survey widget.

2. Call Routing

The traditional method for routing inbound calls involves an IVR (interactive voice response). This legacy technology is very unpopular with:

  • 98% of callers wanting to avoid an IVR.
  • 40% of callers abandoning a call within the first 60 seconds of an IVR call.

By predicting caller intent and using a modern cloud-based call routing, each call can be routed directly to the most appropriate agent or queue.

This gives you the flexibility to route calls:

  • To give highest priority to the calls that are highest value or most urgent.
  • To direct calls to people with the right skills to handle that call.
  • To give new agents calls that are easiest to answer.

3. Prepare Your Agent

Understanding why someone is calling means you can prepare your call center or sales agent before they even answer the phone.

Presenting agents with contextual information helps them to have better, more successful sales conversations. For instance, you can show your agents:

  • Details of the products they have been looking at.
  • Information from their previous calls or interaction with your company.
  • Where they are calling from and if they are using a mobile phone.

Providing agents with insights into intent can help close sales more quickly, and it can help provide a superior customer experience.

4. Marketing Attribution

Full visibility over the entire customer journey, from responding to a digital ad or billboard, to browsing your website, through to making a phone call and purchasing in a retail outlet allows you to attribute and optimise your marketing.

Marketing teams need to know:

  • Which campaigns, ads and keywords are driving calls?
  • Which calls result in a positive sales outcome?
  • The actual revenue generated.

By tying that data together, you can optimise your marketing campaigns by investing in the most effective channels, campaigns, and keywords.

Coming to VoiceTech 2019?

If you are coming to VoiceTech 2019, see how Total Direct Energie and Club Med are leveraging pre-call caller intent data to improve customer experience and commercial results.

“Looking for Growth? See How Total Direct Energie Benefits from Voice Data”François RommelHead of AnalyticsTotal Direct Energie
26 November 2019Salle Ateliers B15:30 – 16:00
“How Club Med’s Omnichannel Strategy is Driven by Voice”Amina ChaabaneHead of Digital Sales B2BClub Med
27 November 2019Salle Ateliers B14:00 – 14:30

Please stop by stand D03, and find out how you can understand more about the customers calling your business, and how you can improve customer experience and commercial results.