Sometimes, you just get stuck. You sit there at your desk trying to come up with every way possible a person can say something with the hope that it will help make some progress on getting your category or query to pass validation. But like Pac-Man, you keep getting hit by the ghosts repeatedly dying. I think it’s important to slow things down and be honest with everyone. Even us seasoned veterans have our tricky builds. [Please note: I am going to use the term “build” to refer to query/category building in order to maintain neutrality in this piece.]
Frustrating building is often one of the major contributing factors for why organizations pull out of speech analytics programs. It's like Super Mario Bros 2. The one we have here in the US, where you are running around throwing radishes, is technically not the official version.
Nintendo of Japan, thought the sequel game should continue where the player left off in the last game, by following a traditional path of progressive difficulty. The end result was that Nintendo of America said "no thank you", and created the version of SMB2 that we are more familiar with. Outside of showing how dorky I am, why am I mentioning this? The frustration that Nintendo of America experienced with the game, is often similar to what some speech analysts experience when they get stuck on a tricky build. So while there is no real life Speech Analytics equivalent of a Game Genie, I came up with a list of things that might help you get past the level.
- You may have too low volume – If the particular subject you are building does not drive a lot of volume, you are entering the needle-in-haystack territory. You cannot make hits appear out of thin air. In these situations, it’s important to communicate that to your requestor, to set those expectations. I have found that it can help to offer them a monitoring period, to observe volume, and see if it improves somewhere down the line. You would largely do this in the form of ad-hoc searches or term lists, if your software offers the option.
- Cross-talk Interference – This is one that burned me recently. Sometimes, if you are trying to look for something on a specific line, you may encounter situations where noise on one line bleeds into another line, causing the appearance of cross talk. This can result in a missed hit in your build. Speaker separation relies on having high quality, and clear audio to be able to differentiate who is who. This is one of those situations which you should communicate to your requestor, after taking your best shot.
- Too complicated for your own good – In a previous article, I suggest building is comparable to good a marinara sauce. You have to mix a bit of this and that. Everything has to be balanced. Some builders get too complicated, and it hurts the performance of the build. Remember, to keep your builds to one topic at a time. I’m also going to call out builders who are looking for the most specific of items to capture in their build. I knew someone who was getting hammered trying to build for a specific issue that was supposed to capture a specific type of change being made on accounts, but without a specific piece of information being verified. I don’t know if it was ever built successfully, but again, it’s really important for as a builder, to keep things simple and educate end users.
Finally, I want you to remember that frustration is normal. Do not get discouraged, or destroy company owned property. A query/category build that is stubborn does not mean that you or the software is substandard. This comes with the territory. If you have speech analytics mentors, talk with them and see what advice they might have for you. If you do not have any mentors, and you are reading this, please contact me. I’ll be Luigi to your Mario, even though I like Princess Peach because she floats.
I promise, I am done with all the retro gaming references.
Diana Aviles has been working in speech analytics for 8 years with a specialty in Nexidia Interaction Analytics.
She is a vocal speech analytics advocate with the primary objective to simultaneously promote and educate the world of Speech Analytics with a human touch; one which further emphasizes the importance of First Call Resolution and overall customer experience.
Follow Diana on LinkedIn.