The Power of Conversation Analytics blog image

The Power of Conversation Analytics®: 7 Important Data Indicators for Customer Service Professionals

Providing excellent customer service is a must for any business, especially those looking to grow. Maintaining excellent relations with customers is, in many ways, a science – one that benefits from data and continuous learning. This is where conversational intelligence comes into play.

Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, Conversation Analytics decodes what happens during every phone call. With natural speech recognition technology, users of this software can go beyond who is calling and where they’re calling from to identify what callers want and how to best serve them. Using this technology, businesses can improve various aspects of their operations, including sales and customer service performance.

Customer service professionals in particular can benefit from call recording and analytics technology by seeing exactly where they are exceeding and where they may be falling short. Here are seven data points that customer service professionals who use Conversation Analytics technology can regularly monitor to improve performance and keep customers happy. 

1. Agent Politeness

Unsurprisingly, politeness is a critical aspect of customer service. Maintaining a positive, cordial relationship with each customer is a must for any successful customer service representative, regardless of the industry or type of business.

Call recording and analytics software can assess the degree to which a customer service representative is polite with a customer by ranking a confidence level of Agent Politeness on a scale from 0-100. Because agent politeness is critical, the higher the score, the better. The software measures this by looking for changes in voice, rate of speech, presence or lack of voice tremors, lack of agitation, and specific phrases or words. All of these elements are ‘cues’ that Conversation Analytics uses to determine if an agent was polite with a customer on the phone.

There are more than 700 phrases Listenforce’s Conversation Analytics software listens for to determine Agent Politeness. These include:

  • “Beg your pardon” / “pardon me”
  • “Please” / “thank you”
  • “Appreciate” 
  • “I can help with” / “Glad/happy to help”
  • “Have a great day” / “have an awesome day” / “have a wonderful day”
  • “I’m sorry” / “I apologize”

2. Agitation Levels

Speech recognition technology, such as Conversation Analytics, listens for acoustic signals that measure emotion based on characteristics of speech, including tempo, pitch, and volume. Changes in these attributes can indicate a decrease in caller satisfaction.

When a customer raises their voice or begins to yell, such software picks up on this and flags it in the call recording, allowing customer service representatives to identify where, when, and – most importantly – why a customer became agitated. This data can then be used by reps and teams to understand phrases and topics that are more likely to upset customers, and how to position difficult conversations in a way that doesn’t agitate callers.

3. Complaints vs. Compliments

How often is a customer saying something positive about your business, product, or service, and how does that compare against how frequently they’re making a complaint? AI-driven Conversation Analytics software automatically picks up on words and phrases that are representative of either a compliment or a complaint, allowing your reps to see if customers on calls are more complimentary or dissatisfied with something about the service they are receiving. This data can be analyzed over time to detect trends in the overall opinion of your products or services.

4. Agent Empathy

When people contact customer service teams, it’s almost always because they’ve experienced an issue or frustration. As a customer service representative, it’s critical to demonstrate empathy in order to ensure that customers feel heard. Even small phrases such as “sorry to hear that” and “must be difficult” can make a huge difference in how the customer feels during their time interacting with a representative of your business.

Conversation Analytics software picks up on phrases demonstrating agent empathy and then provides a score on how empathetic the agent was in their interactions. Agents can consistently monitor their empathy score to see how it trends over time, ensuring that they consistently convey understanding in order to improve and maintain strong relationships with customers.

5. Ownership Language

Customers facing issues with a product or service want to know that someone is taking accountability for solving their problem. Even if you, as a customer service rep, weren’t responsible for their problem, they need to know you are taking ownership of finding the solution.

Conversation Analytics uses speech recognition technology to monitor phrases indicating that agents are taking ownership for caller requests. Phrases such as “I can help you with that” and “What I can do is…” are indicative that an agent is taking ownership. Using this feature, customer service representatives can see how their usage of ownership language trends over time.

6. Percent of Silence (Dead Air)

Percent of silence is calculated by taking the absence of speech on a call measured against the total duration of the call. While it’s normal for people – both customer service representatives and customers alike – to take some time to think on calls, silence generally should not take up more than 20% of the call. Think about it this way: if you’re on a 5 minute call and 20% of that call is spent in silence, that’s a whole minute of valuable conversation lost.

Why does dead air occur on phone calls? One common reason is that the customer may have posed an issue or question that the agent on the call has never dealt with before. By reviewing these types of questions/concerns and identifying common themes among them, customer service teams can prepare each agent for future instances, ensuring that agents don’t find themselves stumped while on the phone with a customer. 

7. Longest Monologue

Are you giving your customers enough opportunities to speak? While it’s important to ensure you answer all of their questions, talking for too long at once, without stopping to ask if your customers have questions, can be cause for concern. Data from sales calls demonstrates that top-performing sales reps, on average, speak 43% of the time on phone calls, which allows prospective customers to speak 57% of the time on average. While customer service isn’t selling a product in the same way that sales is, you’re still representing your company and helping customers find a solution – thus making this data applicable to customer service calls as well.

As you can see, there are a number of ways that AI-driven Conversation Analytics can bolster your customer service performance by providing valuable intelligence and data at scale. If you are interested in seeing these indicators in action, reach out today to schedule a demo or sign up for a free 21-day trial of Conversation Analytics.

managesalesteam

5 Proven Ways to Manage a Sales Team in 2021

When we think about how to manage a sales team, many might picture iconic pep talks from sales managers in movies like the Wolf of Wall Street and Boiler Room.

The motivational quotes and promises of success-filled futures are too good not to quote. So enjoy a few of our favorites:

Wolf of Wall Street quotes from Jordan Belfort:

“The easiest way to make money is — create something of such value that everybody wants and go out and give and create value, the money comes automatically.”  

“Successful people are 100% convinced that they are masters of their own destiny, they’re not creatures of circumstance. They create circumstances. If the circumstances around them suck they change them.”  

“97% of the people who quit too soon are employed by the 3% who didn’t.”

Boiler Room quote from Jim Young:

“There is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make.  

Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way, a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him?  

Now be relentless! That’s it. I’m done.”

(As a call coaching and training company, it’s obvious why this quote is best.)

These quotes are classics and have found their way into many sales meetings. Have you used any of these lines to motivate your sales teams?

Beyond inspiring hard work and vision, the quotes highlight the reality of managing a sales team; it is no easy job.

Effective sales managers try to hire the best sales candidates. Also, they often provide the latest tools to enhance the sales process. Most salespeople even subscribe to author Jordan Belfort’s belief, “I did not come to this world to be average.” (The Wolf of Wall Street)

The reality of sales team management is that the work and responsibilities are not tough. Sales leadership has its high highs and some depressing lows. Hopefully, you have more of the highs.

We often hear from our clients that it’s difficult to understand what their sales team actually needs to hit goals, make profits, and drive sales.

Is your sales team underperforming? Are development and achievements lagging?

If you answered yes, then your team is not alone

66% of sales people are not reaching their quotas.

Managing a sales team is challenging. Perhaps this is why we hear such stirring, passionate quotes.

We hope to explore some effective sales management strategies and help you adopt the right sales team structure to make 2021 an epic year.  

We will answer some of the top questions, including:

  • Which sales team management strategies worked and which ones didn’t?
  • How are you building a successful sales team?
  • What sales team management strategies have you tried?

How to Manage a Sales Team

#1 Manage a Sales Team- Have an Onboarding Plan

It’s tempting to throw representatives directly into selling. While it might solve your immediate goals, it can harm your long-term growth and sales success.

Without a proper onboarding and training program, you’re missing out on a lot of vital benefits, including decreased ramp-up time and better performance. So it’s essential to onboard and nurtures your sales reps.

58% of employees who go through a structured onboarding program are likely to still be working at an organization after three years.

The best sales teams have friendly and efficient onboarding processes. They provide an environment with the highest probability of success.  Consider implementing the following sales onboarding plan, if you don’t already.

  • Clearly outline the sales team roles and the responsibilities
  • Spend time introducing each salesperson to fellow employees
  • Immerse sales recruits in your company’s culture
  • Familiarize them with your industry and core business
  • Properly train them on the tools and sales software
  • Ensure that the new sales rep is comfortable

Some organizations make the first day all about making the new agent feel pleasant by dropping the paperwork and enabling them to build interpersonal rapport with the team. Fostering an initial comfort level creates a positive work environment for new sales team members.

Building a solid onboarding plan will show your new employees how appreciative you are to have them at your company. When they feel welcome and valuable, new sales reps are more likely to be successful.

#2 Invest in Training

We know sales managers are busy. However, it’s best if you didn’t stop at onboarding. Regular training is essential for excellent sales teams to become more proficient, confident, and profitable.

One great idea for 2021 is to have sales reps share expertise at lunch-and-learns.

Encourage agents to attend conferences and workshops that contribute to their professional growth. Some organizations give salespeople a budget to participate in a training course that they choose.  

You can also bring in speakers and mentors who can build up the team.

If you train your sales team properly, they will be equipped to handle challenging situations. The sales team will be capable of closing more deals.

#3 Inspire Your Team

Successful sales managers understand the significance of inspiring their team. Motivation can be one of their best sales team management strategies.

Inspiring your team is defined as:

Appreciative: Showing appreciation for the hard work of the sales team and rewarding them accordingly

Accountable: Taking responsibility for what happens, even when the results are offensive

Honest: Always revealing the truth to both colleagues and customers

Creating an environment in which your team feels motivated will encourage them to excel. Energized salespeople produce steady deals and higher profits.

#4 Set Goals and Monitor Results

How are your agents performing? Are they selling enough? Have they improved since last quarter?

If you don’t have answers to these questions, your metrics aren’t clear enough. Chances are if you don’t have the answers, your salespeople don’t know either.  

Salespeople are highly motivated. However, if you can’t pinpoint progress, commitment and enthusiasm will suffer.

Every salesperson wants goals. Decide what key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial for the growth of your business. So set practical quotas and goals around your KPIs.

With the 2021 KPIs, you can encourage healthy competition among your team. Leaderboards, dashboards, and other forms of public recognition are excellent for motivating your team.

#5 Give Regular Feedbacks

Sales departments should be a place that encourages development and progress. To create such an environment, implement a method to give regular feedback to your sales representatives.

It’s crucial that you not only give feedback about what your agents are doing best, but also the areas in which they could develop. However, make sure that feedback is not just criticism. Everyone savors praise and compliments.

Sales professionals often want to know how they can improve. The fact is, their success depends on it. So make sure you provide honest, practical feedback for your sales team members.

Manage a Sales Team: Wrap Up

For a sales team to be successful, it requires active management. As a sales leader, you’re the linchpin.  

Implementing and practicing the sales management strategies described above will yield remarkable improvement for your sales team.

giveup

Sales Training Research: 97% of Phone Agents Give Up Too Quickly

We track close rates and phone performance for businesses. In other words, we analyze what they do on the phone that leads to more sales and more revenue.

And here’s what we’ve found:

Most employees at most businesses give up way too quickly.

We analyzed thousands of phone calls and found that about 97% of the time, employees just give up and stop trying to make the sale when presented with a small objection.

That means that only 3% of the time, when faced with objections, do employees at businesses persist and continue to get a sale.

If the employee is initially rejected after asking for the business, they give up.

Sales Training Research is a Game Changer

Previous studies we’ve done indicate that attempting to overcome objections and remaining persistent in the face of objections, is the most important single element of the phone call.

In short, just asking for the sale one time after an initial rejection, makes the sales 10.4 times more likely to occur. If the salesperson or agent asks for the sale by saying something like, “Why don’t we go ahead and book the room for you,” and the caller responds by saying, ‘No;’ in 97% of the time the agent never says anything else of consequence.

However, if the agent would directly ask for the business one more time, the caller is ten times more likely to purchase. Think about that!

This matters A GREAT DEAL. Persistence is key. Our data shows that.

There are substantial amounts of revenue and sales were lost because of a blatant lack of persistence. Most employees/agents/sales people at most businesses give up way too quickly.

Perhaps they’re afraid of being pushy or being irritating. But remember this: they called you. If you work at a hotel, you’re not making outbound calls from the front desk. They called you. If you work at a tire shop, someone calls in looking for tires. They called you. They want to buy from you. If they didn’t want to buy, if they weren’t in the market for what you’re selling, they wouldn’t have called. They called you. Remember that.

Be persistent. You’re leaving money on the table if you’re not.

And we have to emphasize our findings one more time. Managers should use this sales training research. Train your agents to ask for the business and stick with it. It works!

If you would like to know how your employees perform, we have a powerful solution. Get pricing and sign up for call tracking today.

Bad-Service

10 Chilling Stats About Bad Customer Service

Many customers are very forgiving people. However, people rarely overlook lousy customer service. They understand that humans manage businesses and humans error occasionally. But there is one utterly unforgivable mistake when interacting with your prospects and clients – bad customer service.

If a customer is treated poorly, they can make a formidable business enemy. Just reading this statement may summon some frustrating past experiences with customer service. These instances sting for a long time.

The following ten statistics underscore the significance of ensuing good customer experiences.

10 Ways Bad Customer Service Destroys Business

1)  Online transactions are abandoned by 45% of U.S. customers if their concerns or questions are not addressed quickly
– Forrester

2)  Customers are 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if they have a service related problem vs. a product or price issue
– Bain and Co.

3)  A 10% increase in customer retention can result in a 30% increase in company value
– Bain and Co.

4)  It requires 12 positive customer experiences to make up for a single negative experience
– Parature.

5)  91% of unhappy customers will choose not to do business with your company ever again
– Lee Resources, Inc.

6)  A dissatisfied customer will share their experience with 9 to 15 people
– White House Office of Consumer Affairs.

7)  81% of organizations that measure customer service are surpassing their competition
– Peppers & Rogers Group.

8)  It is 4 to 5 times more costly to bring in a new customer than it is to keep an existing one
– Lee Resources, Inc.

9)  65% of 1,000 consumers surveyed said they’ve stopped associating with a brand over a single unpleasant customer service experience
– Parature State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey.

10)  U.S. brands are losing approximately $41 billion every year because of poor customer service
– NewVoiceMedia.

These statistics represent just a fraction of the data that validates the essential role of customer service in an organization.

Keeping your current customers satisfied is vital for brand management and business growth. So the question is, do you know how your customers would rate the level of service at your company?

To diagnose and mend customer service issues, you need to recognize the signs of this critical flaw. One easy way is to record and listen to phone conversations with your customers.

After analyzing millions of business call interactions, Convirza has observed several bad customer service symptoms. They are much more common than you might believe. Because bad customer service happens so often, we did something unique to help our clients improve and avoid this problem. 

Our AI-powered Conversation Analytics® services dissect calls and identify all kinds of events and interactions. Several of our proprietary voice analytics indicators target customer service, namely:

  • Tone of voice
  • Agent politeness
  • Phone etiquette
  • Agent credibility
  • Determine needs
  • Caller agitation

The results are available within minutes on the Convirza Platform. You can also set up automatic alerts when certain things occur during a call. For instance, an alert can be emailed or texted when a caller is upset (high caller agitation score).

Many of our customers get automatic alerts when a call goes bad, or a phone agent is not polite. Learn more about these missed opportunity alerts.

Conversation Analytics® makes it easy to have guardrails in place to protect against and warn management about the dangers of poor customer service. 

call-quality

How to Measure Call Quality and Increase Sales Performance

Traditional call tracking gives us a good starting point but it doesn’t tell us the whole story.

The volume of calls that your marketing is generating is important.

The quality of those calls is critical.

Without an advanced call analytics platform, the process of determining call quality is both time-consuming and challenging. For this reason, many marketers and businesses rely on the duration of a call to give them insight into quality.

This is a bad strategy and we will explain why in more detail below.

We will also go over the metrics that can be extracted with a strong lead scoring platform and how they can be used to enhance sales performance.

The Shortcomings of Call Duration

Although call duration can be a useful quality indicator, it should not be the only metric used to measure the value of a call.

Basing the quality of the lead solely on duration is leaving many businesses in the dark.

This would be akin to web marketers using the time spent on a website as the only indicator of lead quality. The length of time that a lead interacts with a business on a website or phone call is an indication of value but it is not the only factor.

Duration can help to detect bad leads that come through in the form of misdials and spam calls but it neglects to inform of us of what took place on the call itself.

Relying on a single metric offers a limited view of what is taking place on the call. For example, duration does not tell us what the percentage of silence was on a phone call. If a caller is kept on hold for a large portion of the call then call duration can be a misleading quality indicator.

Without using some form of call scoring, marketing and sales departments are not able to design their strategies around complete and accurate data. They also miss out on the opportunity to access call data in near real-time.

True Lead Quality

A wide range of built-in and custom metrics can be extracted from phone calls with an advanced lead scoring platform.

At Convirza, our Conversation Analytics tool takes the content of a call and runs it through our system to pull out all sorts of data. Once the call has been analyzed, a lead score is calculated between 0-100. The higher the lead score, the better the lead is and the more likely it is to convert to revenue.

One important factor that is determined with Conversation Analytics is whether or not the call was a sales inquiry. It also extracts data to tell us if the caller made a price request and information about the dialogue that took place between the caller and the sales agent. This data is essential for determining lead quality.

Improving Sales Performance

Conversation Analytics also provides businesses with data that can be used to improve their sales and increase their revenue. Here are just a few ways to achieve this:

#1 Missed Opportunities

Of all the data that Conversation Analytics extracts from phone calls, this might be the most useful.

A Missed Opportunity is a high-quality lead that failed to convert. This basically means that a caller didn’t make a purchase, reservation or appointment even though they should have.

Marketers and sales professionals can be notified of these Missed Opportunities via email or text message. They can also evaluate the call data to determine why the lead didn’t convert.

Once a notification is sent out, you have the chance to call the lead back and correctly sell them on your product or services.

#2 Asking for the Business

Another metric that can be used to improve sales performance involves whether or not an agent “Asked for the Business.”

The findings of one of our past studies, established a direct relationship between a sales agent asking the caller to make a purchase and the caller deciding to buy.

In fact, they were approximately 4.4X more likely to convert if they were “Asked for the Business.”

With Conversation Analytics, you can quickly determine if your employees are asking for the business and take the necessary steps to improve their performance.

#3 Persistence

How quickly do your employees give up after an initial rejection?

Data from some of our previous studies indicates that being persistent and attempting to overcome objections is an exceptionally important element for success on a sales call.

Asking for the business just one time after the first rejection made the caller 12.6X more likely to convert.

Sales agents that quit too soon are basically shutting the door on potential customers. Conversation Analytics can help you identify sales conversations that suffer from a lack of persistence and provide guidance to recover the lost sales opportunities.

With a comprehensive lead score, you can collect data from every phone conversation to establish goal completions and optimize your marketing and sales efforts. Rather than a limited view of call quality, you can have full visibility into call conversions and whether or not you are working with good or bad leads.

When you can properly leverage the data at your disposal you have to ability to rapidly improve the ROI and bottom line of your business.

Sales Trainig

Sales Training Data: Persistence Makes the Sale 12.6x More Likely

About a year ago we partnered with some professors from a local university to conduct a very intensive study about the specific elements of an inbound phone call that actually make a difference.

In other words, what components of a phone conversation actually matter? What things can an employee say that make a difference? And for sales trainers, which aspects of your training are most important?

The Methods of the Sales Training Study

Convirza recorded and scored 4,400 phone calls in industries where an inbound call is considered a GREAT lead. In this case, the calls were in the hotel industry. But our data shows, clearly, that similar data is accurate of any ‘local’ type business. The results hold true for tire dealers, auto dealerships, auto shops, home services businesses, dentists, lawyers, and more phone-reliant businesses.

Convirza recorded the calls and then scored the recordings based on a pre-determined set of criteria. We measured, for example, whether or not the employee persisted after an initial rejection AND whether or not each call ended in the desired outcome. Of course, depending on the industry, the desired result might be a booked appointment, a reserved room, or an over-the-phone purchase.

Then the data was crunched and analyzed by statisticians from a local university.

Persistence Makes the Sale 12.6x More Likely

sales-training-persistence

In 610 of the 4,400 calls analyzed, the potential customer exhibited some resistance to the end goal. In the case of this study, the hesitancy was in booking a room. This resistance ranged from the price is too high to the property not being centrally located, to the potential guest just calling for ‘information.’

Regardless of the reason for resistance, our findings show that…

Persistence pays off more than any other single thing an employee could do.

This, again, is true of other industries as well. Persistence simply works!

Persisting in the face of resistance to booking a room in the case of a hotel, or booking an appointment in the case of a dentist’s office, or buying a product in the case of an e-commerce retail, is the single action that has the most impact on the caller’s decision.

The findings are:

When the employee is persistent in the face of initial rejection and refuses to give up, the caller is 12.6 times more likely to buy.

Stated another way, a caller who is initially hesitant to purchase is 12.6 times more likely to end up purchasing (or book an appointment, or room) when the employee persists, rather than giving up. This persistence could be demonstrated through asking open-ended questions to a caller or merely asking for the business again.

The statistical and practical significance of this finding is obvious.

Statistical analysis in previous studies, however, indicates that most employees just do not attempt to overcome resistance. They give up. They quote a rate, give a price, and then give up when the potential customer doesn’t immediately agree to buy. They don’t persist. At the first sign of resistance, most employees simply wish the caller a good day and hang up the phone.

That’s bad.

How Often Do Employees at Businesses Actually Attempt to Overcome Resistance?

Retail front desk employees only attempt to overcome resistance to 10% of the time. That means 90% of the time employees simply give up at the first sign of resistance. So, at a dentist’s office, if a caller is hesitant to book an appointment, most receptionists just don’t ask again. At a tire shop, if the caller says he is going to call around for better prices, most employees simply say okay and hang up the phone. At a hotel, if the caller raises any objection at all, the front desk employee totally gives up.

Not good.

And call centers, according to the data, are even worse.

They only attempt to overcome resistance 2% of the time. Said another way: if the potential customer refuses an initial invitation to buy, book an appointment, book a room, etc., the call center simply gives up 98% of the time.

3 Takeaways for Phone Performance, Sales Training, and Marketing

1) Call recording and call scoring are critical.

Do you know how often your employees persist when they face initial rejection? If you don’t record and score calls, you simply don’t know. You couldn’t know.
And remember simply persisting and asking for the business again makes a sale 12.6x more likely.

2) Sales trainers need to use data like this to improve their training techniques and products.

Most sales training companies, to be frank, spend too much time on things that don’t make any statistical difference in whether or not the sale was completed. They spend too much time training on elements that don’t improve close rates.

Call recording and call scoring can fix this problem.

3) You can improve revenue WITHOUT SPENDING MORE MONEY.

If there is anything encouraging about the data, it is that the data can improve. It is relatively simple to mandate that employees persist after one initial wave of rejection. This can be done with a bit of call recording, a bit of call scoring and a bit of sales training.