Your Call Is Important: AI-Based Analytics Come to the Call Center

Houston and Dallas—Call centers proliferated as the Internet age took hold of the global economy.

But, despite that connection, in many ways, call centers themselves haven’t kept up with innovations to make their operations as efficient as possible. That’s the view, at least, of two bootstrapped Texas software companies—AmplifAI and EthosIQ—that aim to bring new technological tools like real-time data analytics to those operations.

A typical call center run by a multinational company can consist of hundreds, if not thousands, of employees, each fielding as many as 200 calls a day. It’s a repetitive, and potentially monotonous, workday, and the only training many workers receive is brief at the start of employment.

Tech entrepreneurs, including the founders of these Texas companies, are looking for opportunities to use AI innovations to custom tailor that training and offer it on-demand.

For example, Boston-based Cogito closed on a $20 million Series B round last fall to further develop software that it says can analyze a customer call and account for pitch, tone of voice, pace of speech, and other characteristics in order to score the quality of the conversation and also provide a pop-up alert that would inform the agent they are coming across as too rude or terse.

Here is a closer look at AmplifAI and EthosIQ:

—AmplifAI has developed software that uses machine learning algorithms to understand behaviors used by top-performing employees in order to create training programs that can be used by employees across the payroll. In the past, “developmental training and coaching data wasn’t stored, and definitely wasn’t available to draw any additional analytics from,” says Robert Cowlishaw, who works in marketing and design for the company.

Managers access a dashboard that he says helps them oversee, say, a roster of call center agents, who are ranked by performance against certain metrics in real time. An employee-designated version of that dashboard offers them details on their ranking and tailored coaching focused on certain goals, a process that managers can track and evaluate.

This kind of close monitoring can address what Cowlishaw says is a call center’s number one pain point: turnover. Better managed employees are not only happier, they are more productive, Cowlishaw adds.

“When you are working with huge amounts of people, the individual is left out a lot of the time developmentally,” he says. “If we can lower attrition by even 5 percent, [the software] is paying for itself easily.”

Among AmplifAI’s customers are Sonic Automotive (NASDAQ: SAH), UPS (NYSE: UPS), and Dell. The company was founded in 2014 by Sean Minter, a … Next Page »

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Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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