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Why emotion detection makes me hot under the collar.

As we enter into the ‘age of the customer’, the ability to accurately track what a customer thinks and feels in real-time is incredibly important and valuable to contact centres.

One of the latest trends in the contact centre industry is emotion detection technology – it may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but the promise of being able to detect and measure how your customers are feeling has piqued the interest of many.

However, this kind of technology may prove to be more hurtful than helpful to brands.

In theory, real-time analysis of how the customer on the other end of the phone is feeling can help guide an agent secure the optimal outcome with every interaction – driving customer satisfaction levels to record highs and providing valuable insights for your Voice of the Customer programme.

In real-life, customers often give little away in the tone of their voice during conversation, even if they may be quite upset or angry. For example, they could coolly and calmly threaten to cancel their account, or even worse – but emotion detection won’t pick it up at all.

After all, there is little point in collecting all that data if it’s inaccurate or of poor quality in the first place.

Some emotion detection technology vendors are claiming their solutions can “detect and measure a wide variety of emotions and cognitive states including stress, anger, embarrassment, satisfaction, excitement, rationality and more”.

What many don’t realise is that their contact centre already has that capability in their agents. Emotion detection shouldn’t be something purchased and integrated into an IT system – emotional intelligence is a key skill and well-trained agents will be able to pick up on and respond to the slightest social cues during a conversation.

For customer experience management and improvement simply asking the customer for their views and perspective in a quick simple post interaction survey will allow you to understand how they feel – trust them, they will tell you.

Agents have exceptional people skills, and can react tactfully to changes in tone of voice – but what’s important to capture is what the customer is saying, rather than how they’re saying it.

Customers are honest, knowledgeable and open – using the skills of your agents coupled with verbatim analysis technology to review customer feedback you can capture valuable information.

This will produce actionable insights to help transform the contact centre experience or any channel through which you allow the customer to have a voice.