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How to Improve Contact Center Transcription Accuracy to Boost Performance and Fuel Growth

Inaccurate transcripts undermine call center leaders' ability to gain insights from customer interaction data. Here's how to improve transcription accuracy!

Customer call centers are increasingly using conversation intelligence software to transcribe and analyze conversations so they can better understand what's happening on the front lines. However, most leaders aren't aware how much their efforts are plagued by poor speech-to-text transcription accuracy.

Improving transcription accuracy benefits businesses, customers, and employees, but it takes a multi-pronged approach. In this article, we’ll share with you three keys to help you improve transcription accuracy: environment and hardware, best practices and coaching, and contact center software.

Key #1: Improve transcription accuracy with the right equipment and environment.

Recent advances in artificial intelligence mean it can automate a tremendous amount of your call center processes and provide great value — but only if it has high quality data inputs.

So how do you provide good inputs? First, you need quality equipment and an appropriate environment to facilitate communication between agents and customers. There’s nothing you can do about the equipment your customer is using or the environment they’re in. However, optimizing your contact center can make a major difference in transcription accuracy—and all the downstream analysis that relies on it.

Equipment to boost transcription accuracy

The one piece of agent equipment that can make or break your ability to get accurate customer call transcriptions is the headset.

When choosing headsets, consider both the microphone and the earphones. A good microphone can make a world of difference in both customer experience and transcription accuracy. Go for stereo and ambient noise reduction. Test a few options with your agents and assess which performs best in your unique call center environment.

Likewise, the headset earphones need to be comfortable to wear correctly and provide quality audio for your agents.

Investing in agent equipment may seem like a luxury, but if it impacts your transcription accuracy, it will have downstream implications for the amount of insights you’ll be able to unlock from your frontline agents.

Controlled environment

The agent’s environment has a major impact on call quality and transcription accuracy. Have you ever been on a call with a customer service rep where you could hear a lot of noise in the background? Not only does it make for a poor customer experience, it also makes for poor transcripts that may be unusable to speech analytics or conversation intelligence platforms.

Investing in sound dampening in your call center is a smart move. Consider adding acoustical treatments to the room and creating ways to separate agents from each other.

You also need to evaluate the micro-environment of each agent’s workspace and work habits. For example, are they placing their microphone at the right distance from their face? Is there anything in their workspace that creates unnecessary noise?

And that leads us into the next focus area for improving audio quality, and thus transcription accuracy: helping agents use best practices.

Key #2: Train agents on terminology and best practices.

Agent performance and transcription accuracy work in a feedback loop. When agents follow best practices, they give the AI optimal data for accurate transcripts and insights. On the other hand, the more you improve transcription accuracy, the better foundation you build for quality assurance and coaching to improve agent success.

Begin with Onboarding. Set up your employees for success by reviewing best practices during onboarding. Make sure agents know and can pronounce the names of products and services they’ll be supporting customers on. They should also be familiar with key words and phrases associated with the business and industry.

Ensure Clean Scripts. Another focus area for training should be how to work with call scripts while coming across as human. This will help prevent stutters, pauses, and communication errors.

Equipment Training. Lastly, go over correct use of call equipment and software so your agents' efforts aren’t negated by technical issues.

Continued Education. Of course, training and coaching don’t stop with onboarding. Provide documentation for day-to-day reminders on phrasing and other best practices. And use quality assurance procedures to check for discrepancies in conversation flow, pronunciation of key terms, and audio quality.Finally, be sure to have ongoing check-ins for updates, troubleshooting, coaching, and to give your agents a feeling of being supported to grow and succeed.

Key #3: Get the best transcripts by using the best software.

So far we’ve covered how to optimize your inputs for getting accurate call transcripts. Now let’s talk about the software to process those inputs. Your choice of conversation intelligence platform will have a major impact on transcription accuracy (and overall call center success). Here’s what to look for:

Audio quality

Many call centers try to cut costs by opting for low-fidelity, mono-channel audio, even when their chosen platform offers the option of better quality. Investing in hi-fi and stereo is well worth it as you’re able to gain important insights from accurate transcripts!

Speaker Separation

Call center intelligence systems often struggle to identify speakers correctly. Even if they capture the right words, the insights will be incorrect if they’re attributed to the wrong person! That’s why Observe.AI provides a best-in-class speaker separation engine.

Quality vs. Quantity

When considering platforms, ask about accuracy percentages, but don’t stop there. How well does the system understand context and identify key moments in a conversation?

Sentiment detection 

Understanding human emotion and the reasons for it is a complex task, and AI systems often get it wrong. For example, is the customer frustrated because of something the agent did, or because they have a headache and didn’t want to have to get on the call to begin with?

Purpose-built for call centers

Call centers have unique needs that generic recording solutions may not be adequate for. For example, your system should not only produce accurate transcriptions, but also provide insights into agent performance, key moments in each conversation, and sales opportunities.

Custom business term recognition

Look for an AI engine that can be easily customized to know and recognize critical words and phrases for your business, like brand names and compliance-related terms.

Effective AI-powered redaction

Correctly identifying and hiding sensitive information is critical to reduce risk of fines or litigation. With cyber attacks becoming more common, this is an important strategy for call centers to reduce the damage from any data breaches.

Ease of giving feedback

Make sure you can get automated insights and that the AI will be able to do a lot of the grunt work. For example, the best call center intelligence systems can perform basic QA checks, surface key conversation moments, and aggregate data across your business.

Don't let your call center's value be undermined by poor transcripts.

Your investment in improved transcription accuracy can pay for itself many times over. You’ll see improvements in both customer and employee satisfaction and retention, and you’ll discover new opportunities to boost your company’s impact and bottom line.

As we’ve shared in this article, you’ll get the most out of whatever software you choose by optimizing your equipment and environment as well as training and coaching your agents on best practices.

That said, all call center recording and analysis software is not equal. Make sure you get a purpose-built solution that provides high accuracy and quality of insights. That’s what Observe.AI is here for.

Contact us today for a free demo and get ready for next-level business intel from 100% of your customer calls!

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