Call Centers

Call Center App Detects Customer Anger

Autonomy has introduced a new contact center application, the Intelligent Contact Center, which provides a range of higher-end capabilities, including the ability to detect anger or emotion in a call, multichannel analysis at the point of interaction and real-time agent support.

The rollout, Autonomy’s major release during the next three quarters, also better leverages functionality it acquired from etalk a year and a half ago, Scott Shute, president and CEO of Autonomy etalk, told CRM Buyer. These include etalk’s recording, evaluation and survey capabilities, he said.

Multichannel Analysis

Since the acquisition, the company has introduced stand-alone products in which etalk’s processing software was enhanced by Autonomy’s search capabilities. The new application has integrated a lot of this functionality and further enhanced it.

Much of the focus in the new release has been around managing multiple channels of customer interactions and the subsequent data. The system is able to capture both structured and unstructured data that comes through the contact center, including text, e-mail, IM, audio or video.

“Typically, data sets are siloed differently in most organizations,” Shute said, adding, “with e-mail in one place, for instance, voice calls in another. We normalized those data sources, make them searchable and bring together in what we call an episode.”

The system then catalogs the interaction data for future searches, he said, along with any other interactions customers had with the company.

Detecting Anger

One of the more advanced features in the application, Shute said, is Autonomy etalk’s sentiment analysis functionality that can detect emotion or anger in a customer-rep exchange.

Organizations are able to identify callers who are angry or upset from their voices and respond appropriately during the call or afterward. This feature can be run automatically or manually to monitor agents’ work, he said.

“The software can actually pinpoint the place in the conversation where the customer raised his or her voice,” Shute added. Along with the voice analysis, e-mail, chat and IM are also studied.

Last year, Autonomy introduced Qfiniti Explore, a back-end analytical application that is able to process a large volume of client calls and then analyze the content according to category. In this release Automony etalk has leveraged this functionality in its emotion detection feature.

‘Assist’ Is Enhanced

Another etalk product, Assist, has been enhanced in this version. The product provides contact center agents with knowledge management support during a call by combining speech recognition and enterprise search technology.

The feature then identifies the information the agent needs in order to answer a client’s question and automatically routes that information to the agent’s desktop.


  • You guys still don’t get it, do you? I suppose the only explanation (excuse?) for this kind of technology is that desperate nostalgia to make the service economy look like a production economy. The best way to examine the fallacy is to take apart the terminology word-by-word:
    CUSTOMER: Back in the days when it WAS a production economy and there was no Internet, any successful salesman could tell you the quickest path to failure was to treat the customer as an OBJECT, rather than a SUBJECT. CRM has perverted this principle on both sides of the coin. Not only has the CUSTOMER been objectified, but anyone the customer ever contacts is ALSO objectified! This is why you guys periodically run stories about "user-hostile" customer service, such as the one about airline reservations you ran last June (which, ironically enough, now seems to have vanished from your archives).
    RELATIONSHIP: The distinction here is between TRANSACTIONS and ENGAGEMENTS. A relationship between two subjects is an engagement, an ongoing process in which awareness (including listening) is as important as delivery. Transactions abstract the concept of relationship by reducing it to relations between objects. Awareness, of course, involves more than the semantics of text. If you cannot hold a conversation and sense that the person you are talking to is angry, then there is something wrong with your psychological makeup. That is the sort of awareness that makes us human and enables relationship on a subject-to-subject basis.
    MANAGEMENT: The bottom line here is that technology providers have no idea what they are managing or why they are managing it. All that seems to matter are productivity statistics, which are far from the best indicator that a business is doing a good job. Of course, if the concept of "customer" has been perverted, then the concept of "customer satisfaction" has been banished to an exile in Ultima Thule! The business has thus liberated itself from worrying about customer satisfaction, and customer anger mounts to the point where the customer finally takes action to the disadvantage of the business.
    So this is the world your technology has made! I would ask if you are all satisfied with it, but how can I ask a question about a concept you have banished from your working vocabulary? Have fun with the next release!

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