Speech analytics and healthcare – Ken Pedersen interviewed by Centerfirst’s Pete Guillot

CEO Ken Pedersen is interviewed by Pete Guillot, President of CenterFirst, regarding the state of speech analytics advances in healthcare.


Pete: Welcome to another two-part series in our video with experts from around the industry. Today,  we have Ken Pedersen. Ken is the CEO of  Zenylitics. Zenylitics is an organization that  works using the CallMiner software for the benefit of a broad range of industries and a broad range of clients. So, I’m going to just ask Ken a few questions and he’s going to elaborate based on his  expertise in this industry and in the use of AI. 

So, Ken, welcome. Thank you for joining me today.

Ken: Thanks for the invite.

Pete: You bet. So why don’t we just start with an introduction?

Ken: Sure. My name’s Ken Pedersen, I’m CEO of Zenylitics. Zenylitics was founded in 2017 as a company focused on improving call center effectiveness using speech analytics.  The tool we use for that is CallMiner, which we believe is the most powerful and flexible tool in the market today. We work directly with companies in a variety of industries. In a few industries, like pharma, we work with partners to combine forces to best serve the market. I believe that’s an important part of the strategy these days as AI penetrates more and more, getting the last mile, if you will that last 5 or 10%, is really important to have expert eyes on behalf of its clients to really figure out where the value might be.

Pete: That’s interesting. You know, a question that we are often confronted with as we work with clients is, you know, AI has come out with a lot of promises and sometimes those promises are kept and  sometimes those promises are not realized. From your experience, what maybe are some areas where  you feel like AI’s promises have been kept and then maybe where a few promises haven’t been kept?

Ken: Sure. It’s interesting you mentioned that because way, way, way back when, when I was a thought leader on expert systems, I’d wrote a book for John Wiley and son on expert systems. The verbiage and the hype, was, you know, somewhat similar. You’re going to have a piece of software,  you’re going to buy the software and install it and then all of a sudden everything  is going to be fine and good and you’re going to have all of these amazing benefits of AI. That really hasn’t been the case then, and it’s still not.  With artificial intelligence in a contact center setting is an amazing tool to number one, process, all your interactions, instead of just sampling. And number two, separating the wheat from the chaff… “what’s worth looking at?”, “what’s worth bringing some attention to?”, and beyond that,  now you do need that experienced human eye. 

And in your case, in the pharma business, the reason we partner with companies like yourself is the stakes are high, right? The domain knowledge is highly technical and the stakes are especially high. So, when we were working with your team, you know, we’re able to help you be highly productive to bring that trained eye on just the interactions that really matter. Which of course has all kinds of benefits for the customer in terms of efficiency and the quality of the feedback that they’re getting.

Pete: Well, thank you. We’ve enjoyed our partnership as well. It brings a real high level of use cases outside of the pharmaceutical industry that we’re able to use to tune CallMiner specifically for pharmaceutical interactions. And so that’s been really helpful for our clients.

I wanted to ask you if, because you’ve really been both a student and an expert in this field for quite some time. What are the next few steps for AI? I mean, it’s dangerous to look out more than 6 to 12 months because of the  changes in the industry, the technology, but what do you see as coming next for us?

Ken: I think that the technology continues to improve linearly. I think where the biggest advances in the next couple of years are really in the customer understanding on how to deploy the tool. So, for example, in a healthcare context, healthcare contact centers are a little broader than just pharma, but the pharma skills and is such a solid base from which to expand. And we see the emerging market realization that it’s really about the holistic patient experience.  To be successful in healthcare as a provider you need to realize that’s a critical success factor.

So, what does that mean?  First of all, compliance, yes, still important. You need that, but that’s just one dimension.  A second dimension is tuning the touch points so that you’re giving a consistent and high-quality  experience to the customer. The modern customer wants multiple touch points and wants a relatively high experience and to those who can provide it these days in healthcare, you’re exceeding expectations and you have a much better chance of being successful. AI can really help with that.  Why? Because you can measure the customer sentiment. You can measure the agent’s skills in showing empathy at appropriate times, or taking ownership of a problem.  

So, it’s that anticipating of the needs of what the customer might want and another developmental area — and this is a little controversial — but it seems to be the trend is… let’s think of it as the business development angle, which is when you’re talking to your customer, what is your messaging about your organization? How accurately are you setting appointments? Are you listening for a service that might be relevant to that customer that they should know about? This is a little bit aspirational, but you’re asking about the next year or two. And this is an area where a lot of healthcare organizations realize this is the point of contact with the customer. And this is an important dimension, as well as the ones that are traditionally been more focused on.

Pete: Thank you, thank you. It’s going to be an exciting 12 months as, you know, as the last 12 months have also been really exciting. The last question here, Ken, is you could have had a number of different partners in the AI space. I know that CallMiner has won several awards. I think the latest from Forester and being identified as the best to, for speech analytics. Why did you choose CallMiner and what’s been your experience in working with CallMiner?

Ken: Well, CallMiner is one of the leaders in the field and has been for a number of years. So,  they have the seasoning and the experience of having been around a long time. From our point of view, as a tool, it’s highly configurable, highly flexible, and highly programmable.  

And we have access to an API which allows us to easily access customer systems if they want us to, or even update their back ends. So, from a toolkit point of view, it just gives us  so much to work with so that we can customize it for the customer’s needs. So, every customer has a common core of capabilities they want, but then they also have things that are unique to their own business. It might be the language they use. It might be the call flow or the script that they interact with. So CallMiner gives us the abilities to  efficiently and effectively configure the tools so that it’s really tuned for a given customer’s business.

Pete: Thank you. That’s, you know, honestly, that’s what we’ve found as well. We went  through an extensive search of looking for a good partner and came to Zenylitics because of the power of the tool, certainly, but also its ability to be customized specifically for our clients and  in pharma. Well, I just want to thank you again for taking some time to share your expertise and we’ll just end it here Ken. And thank you. Look forward to working with in future.

Ken: Thanks. We love working with your organization and look forward to chatting again soon.


Ken Pedersen
Ken Pedersen

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