Monday, May 7, 2018

Ingestion Indigestion

By Diana Aviles

Ingestion is Speech Analytics (SA) jargon that describes the act of the SA tool downloading a copy of call audio and its associated metadata from the recorder source. In a perfect world ingestion should run smoothly, however sometimes, just like people who get indigestion after binging on buffalo chicken pizza, ingestion has similar hiccups. Ingestion problems can be tricky at times since it takes a bit of research to distinguish the source of where the hiccups came from.

These often lead to stressful situations between the speech analytics software company and the end user group. A lot of end users are often tempted to just pin these problems on the speech analytics software company since the idea is “well it’s broken, so fix it”. The SA software company has only so much visibility on the end user’s side of the wall. That is why it is very important that you research on your end to really confirm what the issue is at hand. So now you may be thinking, “Well how the hell do I do that!?” and that’s where I come in – I specialize in ingestion so I have seen my fair share of ugly and uglier when it comes to “ingestion indigestion”, so I want to offer you guys some tips on how and what you should be doing to keep your tools moving smoothly.

If you are not receiving a “Disposition Report” – start getting one and have it sent daily:

I just heard a few groans from some of my friends who work for SA software vendors. To some this may seem like an extra step but this is the precise place of where we need to start. Essentially a disposition report is a report that basically tells you everything the software vendor has received for ingestion. It’s a giant receipt that shows you what you are paying for. You will want to receive this daily so you can monitor days that show abnormally high or low volume. You also want to have it broken down by various categories within the ingestion process to show you if there are calls that might have gotten stuck during the process. This document is your best friend when you are investigating ingestion problems.

You should always know where your data sources are:

Your speech analytics end user team should all have some familiarity with where you are pulling your calls and metadata from for ingestion. You guys don’t need to be on a first name basis with the jargon and process but you need to know how to spot the more obvious ingestion faults. An example of this is with metadata that is pulled from the billing systems– you want your calls to show metadata for the customer’s account balance. If you are running searches and notice most of these calls are not show any billing system data, that should be a red flag for you to investigate further. The more that people on your team are aware of how to spot these problems the less stressful troubleshooting becomes. This also helps in clarifying where fault may lie on ingestion issues– the SA end user team or the SA software.

Abnormally low/high volume – “Compare before you declare”:

When you see certain sites in your tool that show higher or lower than usual volume, run a comparison of the same day of the week for that site from a prior week. First, see if you can determine if the spike in volume is attributed to a specific external driver such as a service outage. If there is no external issue, run a search to see if there is leakage of audio that has no sound or is below the minimum threshold for ingestion (typically this is set to audio which is below one minute in duration which typically would not be ingested into the tool). Another possible cause– language lines which are not supposed to ingest in your respective language pack; ie: Spanish VDNs coming into English sessions.

For low volume you will do the same comparison of looking at the same day of the week for a prior week of the affected site. You may also want to verify the numbers in the master recorder or switch to see if the volume is low on that end. If your switch indicates volume that looks to be in the right place for that location, you will need to check the disposition report I mentioned above to see if that site has calls that are stuck in a pending status. If you see something that is held up, this is about the time where you can loop-in your speech analytics software vendor for additional support.

Stuck? Pending? Rejected? What does is all mean?

Remember that disposition report I keep mentioning? That report ideally will have your different ingestion statuses broken out by a category. When something is “stuck” we generally mean that it is not in a completed category or ingested into the tool. Stuck volume will show in a pending category and will indicate where in the process it’s stuck. It might mean that it’s held up waiting to be referenced against the personnel management tool or even stuck waiting for the associated media to be assigned to it. A good speech analytics team will have a process in place to sound the alarm when there is too much volume indicated in a pending state for a specified period (this largely depends on how often your tool is ingesting media as you can ingest same day or ingest up to 3 days after media is recorded). You also periodically need to refer to rejected categories to ensure that you are not losing good volume to incorrectly grouped queues.

This is a general tip list for investigating ingestion problems within your tool. Keep in mind that this advice is not intended to replace technical support. As always, it is my goal to get more people involved in speech analytics along with getting existing speech analytics users further engaged with their chosen tools to get the best actionable intelligence from their insights.

Diana Aviles is an Operations Manager with more than 5 years of Quality Assurance experience in a call center environment. Diana's objective is 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.

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