In call center operations, agents field incoming calls from a wide variety of locations and about any number of topics. A feature of a voice API called “call whisper” can help. But what is call whisper? In a nutshell, the call whisper use case is a scenario where before an inbound call is answered by a call center agent, a display message, voice recording, or text-to-speech generated verbal message is delivered to the agent that summarizes which advertising campaign a prospect is responding to (such as campaign number 103, for example), a recap of the offer (20 percent off regular price, perhaps), or a call to action (“Would you like to book an appointment?”). It’s also possible to know which geographic location the customer is calling from, as phone numbers are tied to specific regions.
Call whisper functionality can be built into a desktop call center application on-premise, from the cloud, or even integrated directly into a corporate CRM application. But how does call whisper work?
What is Call Whisper and Why Do You Need It?
Call whisper may be a fairly straightforward concept, but how does it actually work? Without getting too granular, let’s take a look at a real-world business case: a call center handling inbound marketing campaigns for a college test-prep firm that originate from sources including billboards, television ads, and both organic and pay-per-click search engine programs.
At the beginning of a marketing program that depends on inbound phone leads, marketers or their supporting developers will link specific ad campaigns to unique virtual phone numbers. When calls start coming in, they will be routed to available or specified call center agents. If a potential customer searches the words “math tutoring,” for example, the selected agent will receive a call whisper through their headset—audible only to them—that tells them the search keyword and associated campaign name or number just before the call is connected. Other information, such as the phone number of the incoming call, campaign offer, and call-to-action, will be displayed in a pop-up window on the agent’s desktop screen. Knowing the campaign that someone is calling about before taking the call, the agent can greet callers with contextual information, which will improve their effectiveness and the overall customer experience.
Specifically, when the call is connected and the caller and the agent begin talking, the agent can call up the campaign script in order to serve the incoming inquiry. The call could be a simple case of answering frequently asked questions or providing resources the caller can turn to for additional information, such as a company blog article on tips for taking multiple choice math tests. Or the prospect may be ready to convert and sign their child up for math tutoring. Whatever queries the caller has in store for the agent, call whisper and the information it delivers should improve the agent’s ability to fully engage the customer and successfully manage the call.
Manager-Led Call Whispering, Monitoring, and Barging
However, if call center agent performance isn’t living up to established customer satisfaction metrics, call center managers can run monitoring reports to track and optimize both marketing campaign performance and agent productivity. By leveraging call monitoring, call center managers can know when they need to take the place of the automated solution and get involved, using live-mode call whisper to talk new or struggling agents through their interactions with customers. Live call whispering can allow call center managers to talk to agents without the customer knowing. This is useful not only for when managers are training agents but also when they need to coach them during a critical call—for example, when a parent is irate about their child’s SAT score after months of tutoring.
In addition to speaking to agents during customer interactions, call center managers can monitor calls in listen-only mode to see how coaching has improved agent performance. Or, in extreme circumstances, call center managers might want to “barge in” on agent-caller interactions, such as when customers get angry or begin to verbally abuse agents.
Call Whisper, Machine Learning, and AI
According to The Economist, as software robots—machine learning or AI—come online, they will be increasingly deployed into the call center to learn from human agents how to handle more complex incoming calls. The longer they are exposed to the call center environment, the more they learn, and the better they get at elementary call center tasks. Eventually, the AI bots or machine-learning algorithms will begin to make human agents more efficient by quickly searching for customer data, retrieving it, and call whispering it to agents’ screens.
So when the tutoring customer calls at the end of the following semester, the AI-powered call whisper can extrapolate that the parent is likely calling to ask if their student is ready for advancement from trigonometry to precalculus. Overall, The Economist sees bot-backed call whisper becoming faster, smarter, and more cost-effective—and freeing call center agents to concentrate on higher-value activities like cross-selling and upselling products and services, allowing businesses to save time, money, and manpower.