Over the past decade, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics have transformed many business processes. Virtually every data-rich organization now claims to be “gaining actionable insights from AI.” For businesses considering analytics, it can be difficult to separate the hype from the hope and understand just what these solutions can do. Will the benefits they offer outweigh concerns about bringing on unfamiliar systems and changing time-tested methods?
Today, a new generation of AI-based speech analytics solutions are being implemented by call centers across numerous industries to help increase sales, support regulatory compliance and improve customer service. Systems tailored specifically to the ARM industry are easier to integrate into agency routines than many owners and leaders assume. But how well can they really address the major challenges that most agencies face?
How Speech Analytics Benefit Stakeholders Throughout Your Organization
Let’s have a look at four main agency challenges to see how AI-based speech analytics can empower stakeholders across the organization to achieve success and exceed their goals.
1. Increasing collection rates
Because driving collections is the basic purpose of the ARM industry, enhancing each agent’s success at obtaining Promises to Pay (PTP) is a primary goal for every agency. Speech analytics insights can help in a number of ways.
- By analyzing successful calls that end with a PTP, AI identifies impactful elements that agents can adopt to transform individual successes into repeatable processes.
- Analyzing agent performance data for specific consumer demographic groups can help agencies identify the customers with whom each agent is most likely to succeed, so assignments can be adjusted accordingly.
- AI can also identify customer sentiments and provide relevant feedback to agents so they can pitch conversations appropriately -- for instance, empathetically or with a businesslike tone. It can also give agents constructive feedback regarding how they come across to customers (e.g. as aggressive or tentative). Feedback from an objective source can help agents fine-tune their soft communication skills to significantly improve outcomes of future conversations.
2. Reducing Legal Risk in Real Time
Traditional monitoring processes depend on sampling that covers just a small percentage of interactions. Agencies remain unaware of missteps and violations in unmonitored conversations unless – or until -- a complaint is filed or a regulator knocks on the door.
Even when issues are successfully uncovered through sampling, remediation is often slow. Audit results may be received only monthly, delaying intensive monitoring of problematic agents and their retraining. By the time post-training performance is assessed, several weeks might have passed.
In contrast, AI-based monitoring solutions audit 100% of calls and flag violations as they occur, providing a clearer, timelier, and more comprehensive picture of legal risks. Mitigation and agent retraining can be initiated immediately, with ongoing monitoring of “risky” agents ensuring compliant conduct and preventing repeat offenses. Advanced compliance monitoring platforms may integrate a coaching layer that issues bite-sized lessons and instructional videos to agents as violations are flagged and repeated. (To learn more about monitoring-triggered training, read our blog post “Modern agent training: The path to agency success” )
3. Boosting Operational Efficiency
Providing conversation intelligence and insights on agents’ strengths and weaknesses, speech analytics solutions can significantly contribute to optimizing the performance of client-facing teams in a number of ways:
Reviews and other manual QC tasks are tedious, time-consuming and repetitive. By automating tasks, AI frees QC teams for higher-level work. Systems tailored to the ARM industry may come with FDCPA and UDAAP guidelines built in, minimizing initial configuration efforts for operations staff. Advanced solutions automatically issue a scorecard for each call, reducing review time to mere minutes. Violations are automatically logged into the system, and task management functions make it easy for QC and operations leaders to follow up on mitigation tasks. Data analysis tools offer deeper insights into operational performance and ways to improve efficiency, performance and compliance.
4. Lowering Agent Stress and Churn
While agents may initially have reservations about AI monitoring feeling intrusive, most quickly come to appreciate the guidance that AI assistance offers. Understanding what actions to take to optimize conversions and increase success rates provides a sense of control and increases workplace satisfaction.
With some AI solutions, agents can evaluate their own performance through personal dashboards and build skills by consuming micro-learning nuggets recommended by the solution. This transforms the review process from sporadic and stressful to ongoing and self-driven. The result? More autonomous, motivated, and confident agents, reduced churn, higher productivity, and increased sales.
Digital Channel Analytics: The Next Frontier
While first-generation speech analytics solutions have been available for a number of years, many simply monitored conversations for specific keywords and as a result, generated a flood of false positives. In contrast, new generation AI-based systems like Sedric “understand” conversational context and therefore provide more precise results with much lower false positive rates. Sedric leverages insights gained from conversation monitoring to improve the entire process, from automating remediation to building customized training programs for each agent.
With Reg F giving the green light for the use of digital channels to communicate with debtors, extending monitoring to these channels is the next compliance management frontier. The Sedric platform monitors all interactions -- voice, text, chat and social media messages -- generating interaction analytics that allow compliance officers to rest easy at night.
“Training and monitoring of consumer-facing employees will be critical to ensure that an organization is compliant. Technology will support and help the credit and collections industry meet demanding obligations with ease and efficiency, in order to produce the outcomes a regulator wants to see.”
Consumer Financial Services Regulatory & Compliance Group
“Our challenge going forward is to position our industry and our companies as desirable places to work. We must implement diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplaces, and get the word out that we have changed. Ask your newest employees for feedback—what would make our workplace desirable for their friends and acquaintances? In this post-pandemic world, getting people to crawl out of their comfortable cocoons may be difficult, but it can be done!”
“In the last few years, the buzz of the call centers faded away. Now that many people still have the opportunity to continue to work from home, performance directors need to pivot their focus. We need to ensure that the training is effective in this new environment. The move is from hours in a classroom setting to immediate, personalized micro-learning units that enforce the corrective behaviors.”
“The digital collections movement continues to be in full steam and we are excited to see all of the new technologies that are coming into the ARM industry to help drive enhanced collection performance in a compliant manner. We anticipate additional M&A consolidation globally in the ARM industry, as more digital ARM companies look to accelerate market entry and obtain blue-chip clients and deploy digital-first solutions.”
“Digitization will be critically accelerated in 2023. Recovery organizations may be required to furnish consumers’ account data through consumer-selected platforms that will likely be different from organizations’ traditional payment portals. Organizations should start preparing their technology and operations for that contingency now to harness the trend to their benefit.”
“Data is the new oil, and extracting data from all sources, especially voice, will be a must-have in 2023. We are in the age of machine learning, and ML runs on data. Getting ALL the data and getting it into one place for the ML to do what it can are the key differences between organizations that will make it and those that don't.”
“In 2023, collectors and creditors will be required to work closer together. Reg F oversight requirements have created a new reality of shared compliance responsibility. Servicers and creditors can better collaborate by using new data-driven compliance platforms that provide all parties with critical insights and generate the transparency and trust needed to succeed in a tightening regulatory climate.”
As Gen Z enters the workforce, you’ll have up to four generations in your agency. Everyone learns differently. Young people learn from TikTok videos, and there is a professional term for this: micro-learning. Such short videos are especially efficient when sent out close to the time when the violation occurred.
Barron & Newburger
The most efficient training systems I’ve seen are those which build surgical, data-driven compliance content and provide agents the exact training they need when they most need it. This approach avoids wasting time and money on training which does not address the need. Continuous, role-based training programs that focus on the needs of each individual agent are some of the most efficient and effective I’ve seen.
Bedard Law Group
“Training is only going to be effective if it's done at or near the time the violation occurred. As agents handle hundreds of calls a week they will not have the capacity to remember particular moments of each consumer interaction. Therefore, effective monitoring will be critical to address the deficiency when it happens, in order to remediate quickly so that it does not become a systemic problem going forward.”
Consumer Financial Services Regulatory & Compliance Group