What To Expect When Setting Up Topic Analysis

7 min read
September 24, 2023 at 4:11 PM

Imagine you could listen to all your call recordings and pick out the ones in which customers mention the new marketing campaign. Or those calls in which customers demand a refund because their perishable dog food was delivered a day late again and is now spoiled. Or those calls where your agents don't read the compliance statement. Or..., okay, you get the point.

Imagine being able to identify, categorize, and analyze calls based on a list of keywords or key phrases? That's the power of Topic Analysis. Where would you start? We here at MiaRec have worked with hundreds of large contact centers around the world, and we know this can be intimidating. Blank Canvas Syndrom is real!

In this article, we will share with you what you should expect when setting up your topic analysis features, what common fears and misconceptions contact managers often have regarding topic analysis, and what best practices to keep in mind to set yourself and your team up for success.

Understanding Topic Analysis

At its core, topic analysis is a method that categorizes conversations based on keywords and key phrases. It's akin to having a magnifying glass over every call, pinpointing the subjects that matter most to your customers. But why is this so crucial for modern contact centers?

The answer lies in the sheer volume of data. With thousands of calls pouring in daily, contact center managers need a way to sift through the noise, identify patterns, and understand customer sentiments. Topic analysis provides this lens, offering a structured way to analyze and interpret conversations. It identifies and extracts topics from customer conversations or call recordings using Natural Language Processing algorithms.

Screenshot_Voice Analytics_TopicsandTranscript

Screenshot of MiaRec Voice Analytics section showing the associated topics and key phrases, as well as highlighted part of the call transcript mentioning the key phrases that indicate an issue or a problem.

First, a Voice Analytics tool recognizes predefined words and phrases in interactions. This is called Keyword Spotting, which is a subset of Voice Analytics. For example, to determine when customers are frustrated during an interaction with one of your agents, you would look for the following related keywords and phrases: "Frustrated", "Upset", "Cancel my account", "Angry", or "You're not listening."

Those similar or related keywords or phrases that fall into the same category can be categorized as a topic. Topic extraction is the process of mining transcripts of recorded customer interactions for predefined keywords and keyphrases to associate these calls with topics. For example, the topic "Repeated calls" may consist of phrases like "called before", "called twice," "called last week," "never heard back," etc. Examples of topics could include "Upset Customer," "Account Cancellation," "Repeated Calls," "Lack Of Agent Knowledge," or "Agent Insecurities."

Here is an 11-minute walk-through of how to set it up:

The Sky Is The Limit With Topic Analysis: Where To Start

Topic Analysis is a very powerful tool because it allows you to identify all kinds of things across your call volume. But where do you start? Some contact center managers get "blank canvas syndrome" or decision paralysis as they identify which topics they want to track. Below are just a few examples of what you can do with Topics Analysis. The sky is the limit when it comes to your creativity.

For example, you can better train your team and improve agent performance:

  • Identify potential training gaps or additional training needs,
  • Surface agent insecurities, lack of knowledge, and other detracting performance indicators,
  • Measure the impact agent training is having on customer happiness,
  • Track agent performance over time,
  • Develop better call scripts,
  • Monitor agent adherence to call scripts and
  • Enforce compliance rules (e.g., announcing that the call is being recorded).

Or you can make more informed business decisions by using Topic Analysis to:

  • Analyze sales and product trends,
  • Identify reasons for a sudden increase in cancellations,
  • Get to the bottom of return requests,
  • Track reactions to a marketing campaign, and
  • Identify and proactively address potential issues before they become bigger problems.

And improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention:

  • Detect customer sentiment,
  • Monitor reactions to pricing changes or new product introductions,
  • Measure customer loyalty and engagement levels, helping businesses build more effective loyalty programs,
  • Predict and improve customer retention by identifying disappointed customers early and
  • Improve your overall customer experience by better understanding what makes a call successful and what derails it.

But don't worry. In addition to extensive and customized onboarding and training, you will have access to dozens of commonly used topics already included in MiaRec. You will also have plenty of resources available, such as comprehensive and up-to-date documentation and tutorials, as well as our Voice Analytics Cookbook with 50+ topic ideas and industry-specific suggestions that can help in setting up expressions faster and more efficiently.


Screenshot of MiaRec Voice Analytics section showing sentiment score, the associated topics, key phrases, and part of call transcript.

Best Practices for Implementing Topic Analysis

While implementing Topic Analysis is very straightforward, we have found that there are five common-sense best practices that ensure success:

1. Start with a few topics and expand gradually.

You might think to yourself, 'Well, that's obvious.' But it is very tempting to try dozens of scenarios once you have implemented the tool and you see how easy and powerful it is. Nevertheless, we recommend that you start slow. Identify a few topics to start with.

Our most successful customers start by cleaning their own house first, so improving contact center efficiency and performance. Great first scenarios are topics that have exact wording to listen out for, e.g., script adherence and compliance. Keep fine-tuning those for a couple of weeks and then slowly expand from there.

2. Let call volume dictate initial topics.

Before deciding on which topics to include in further topic analysis, it is prudent to let the call volume dictate which topics to prioritize. Creating topics based on customer needs allows you to address specific problems quickly and efficiently.

For example, you might get a lot of calls complaining about a certain feature or customers trying to cancel their contract. Pick those topics with high call volume and high business impact first.

3. Consider industry-specific topics and keywords.

Each industry and niche has unique considerations that will have to be taken into account to ensure that businesses can gain maximum insight into their customers' experiences and improve overall service quality along the way. Identify topics that will make a difference in your industry, and be sure to adjust the predefined topics to the jargon and language used in your industry.

For example, as a retail business, you might get a lot of refund requests, while an insurance business will receive a lot of calls to process Guarantees of Payments. Another example is that in the services industry, you might be referring to your customers as 'clients,' while in healthcare, you might be 'patients' and 'caretakers.'

4. Have a dedicated person to manage topics.

It is important to remember that topics should be regularly updated to reflect changing trends in the industry or any changes in customer expectations or behaviors. Over time, you will also learn that customers and agents use variations of keywords and phrases to express themselves. Therefore, it is best to have a dedicated resource who is trained and responsible for tracking and managing your Topic Analysis to ensure you are getting the maximum ROI.

5. Don't operate in a silo.

While it might make sense to start implementing Topic Analysis for contact center internal topics, such as agent performance and customer experiences, it is crucial to share insights across different business units in the organization. Those companies that see the biggest impact of implementing Topic Analytics have gradually expanded their use cases across the entire organization.

By keeping these best practices in mind, businesses can make sure that their topic analysis is designed and implemented in the most effective way to gain maximum insight into customer experience.

Addressing Common Concerns

Contact center managers considering utilizing Topic Analytics for the first time usually share some common concerns about the set-up:

How much manual labor is required when setting up and configuring topic analytics?

Manually setting up and configuring topics can be a time-consuming process. This is especially true for larger companies with complex data needs, where making sure accuracy and consistency across all topics are important. To guarantee a successful implementation of Topic Analytics, a dedicated person is essential to manage the setup and configuration. However, MiaRec comes with dozens of the most commonly used topics already set up. Also, MiaRec will not only help you set up the topics that you will need, but also train your Voice Analytics admin to be able to do this in the future by themselves easily.

How technical will the syntax expressions be?

Some may find the syntax expressions used to set up Topic Analysis daunting at first. MiaRec uses Moments Query Language (MQL) expressions. This is a special-purpose query language designed to analyze call transcripts. But don't worry. MiaRec will assist you in every step and train you, and or course, you will have many examples to lean on. Additionally, the syntax is very well documented.

Can you only set up one topic per call?

While some contact center managers fear that you can only assign one topic per call, this isn't true. The Voice Analytics solution will assign as many topics as needed based on the identified keywords and phrases. This means you can parse all of your calls for different meanings, e.g., detect customer sentiments, identify potential training gaps, and measure the impact agent training is having on customer happiness.

The key takeaway is that although setting up Topic Analytics might seem intimidating at first, it really comes down to defining a list of keywords and phrases and applying some straightforward syntax to it.


In conclusion, implementing Topic Analysis allows organizations to gain invaluable insights into customer experiences and, despite the initial impression that it may be overwhelming to set up and maintain, it is actually surprisingly easy and fast to set up. Miarec provides comprehensive onboarding and customized training, helpful resources and guidance to ensure you get the most out of your Topic Analytics journey. More importantly, MiaRec customers always have peace of mind knowing that Miarec is there to help if they ever get stuck.

Quick Start Guide:  Unleashing The Power of  AI-Driven Topic Analysis Download

New call-to-action

Get Email Notifications