Call center managers are constantly searching for ways to enhance agent performance and improve customer satisfaction. One innovative feature that has been gaining popularity in recent years is “Agent Whisper.” This call center software feature can significantly improve agent-customer interactions, leading to better outcomes for both parties. In this feature overview, we will explore the ins and outs of Agent Whisper, discuss its benefits, and provide tips for effectively implementing it in your call center.
Brief Overview of Agent Whisper
Agent Whisper is a call center software feature that allows agents to hear a human voice (such as a supervisor or team lead) or an AI voice to “whisper” hints to the agent about the call. In the past, agent whisper features were all about human voices, but with recent improvements in artificial intelligence, it is becoming more common to use AI to generate agent whispers. Agent whispers provide tips, advice, or other information to an agent while the agent is answering a call (such as a information about the caller or the call context when the call arrives) or while the agent is handling the call (such as information to help resolve a customer complaint or to otherwise handle an interaction). This allows a supervisor (or an AI) to provide real-time coaching, guidance, and support to the agent, helping them navigate difficult calls and improve their overall performance.
How Agent Whisper Works
Agent Whisper works by leveraging advanced call monitoring capabilities built into modern call center software platforms. When a supervisor wants to listen in on a specific agent's conversation, they simply select the desired call from a list of live calls within the software interface.
Once connected to the call, the supervisor can hear both the agent and the customer but remains muted to the customer. This allows them to provide guidance or feedback to the agent without interrupting the customer's experience. Some systems offer a “whisper mode,” where the supervisor can speak directly to the agent without being heard by the customer. Additionally, some platforms have “barge-in” capabilities, allowing supervisors to join the conversation if necessary.
When AI is used for agent whisper, an artificial intelligence program may be programmed to listen to certain calls and provide assistance or information o the agent during the call. As with human-led agent whisper, the AI whisper is only heard by the agent (not the caller). (Read more about speech to text analysis and machine learning).
Types of Agent Whisper
There are two primary types of Agent Whisper functionality available in call center software:
- Human Whisper: In one-way whisper mode, the supervisor can hear both the agent and customer but can only speak to the agent. This is useful for providing real-time coaching and support without disrupting the customer's experience.
- AI Whisper on Call Arrival: Agent whispers on call arrival are becoming more common. A text to speech engine may be used to speak to the agent to give the agent context or information about an incoming (or outgoing) call. For example, in a blended call center environment where agents handle calls from different campaigns, an agent whisper may be configured to tell the agent what campaign the call is associated with, or to relay information known about the caller. AI whisper on call arrival typically is less complex to implement than AI whispers in-call as it can be implemented with a standard text to speech library to read data to the agent.
- AI Whisper in Call: With AI generated agent whisper, the AI can hear both parties and can join when needed to whisper instructions to the agent. Here's a brief explanation of how it works:
- Speech recognition: The AI listens to the ongoing conversation between the customer and the agent using Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology. ASR converts the spoken words into text format, allowing the AI to understand the conversation.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): The AI utilizes NLP techniques to analyze and comprehend the context, sentiment, and intent of the conversation. NLP helps the AI to grasp the meaning behind the text and recognize the key topics being discussed.
- Information retrieval: Based on the understanding of the conversation, the AI searches through its knowledge base, which may include databases, FAQs, policies, and other relevant resources, to find the most appropriate information or solution for the customer's issue.
- Agent Whisper: The AI then sends this information, along with suggestions or guidance, to the agent in the form of an Agent Whisper. This often appears as a pop-up message or audio prompt, enabling the agent to address the customer's concerns more effectively and efficiently.
- Continuous learning: The AI continually learns from each interaction, refining its understanding of customer concerns and improving its ability to provide useful information and suggestions to agents.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Call Center Software with Agent Whisper
When evaluating call center software platforms with Agent Whisper capabilities, it's essential to consider several factors:
- Ease of Use: The software should provide an intuitive interface that allows supervisors to easily monitor and join live calls.
- Integration: Ensure the platform integrates well with your existing telephony system and CRM software to streamline workflows and maintain accurate records of customer interactions.
- Complexity: Consider how complex the implementation will be. Although AI models are getting easier to deploy, if you are trying to implement AI agent whisper across a number of different campaigns, it can be a complex undertaking.
- Scalability: Choose software that can grow with your call center, offering advanced features and functionality as your needs evolve.
- Security and Compliance: Ensure the platform meets industry standards for data security and complies with relevant regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA).
- Reporting and Analytics: Robust reporting features will help you track agent performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to improve your call center operations.
Benefits of Agent Whisper
Integrating Agent Whisper into your call center software platform offers several advantages:
- Improved Agent Performance: Real-time coaching and support help agents develop their skills, handle difficult calls more effectively, and build confidence in their abilities.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: By providing immediate guidance during challenging interactions, supervisors can help ensure customers receive accurate information and efficient service, leading to higher satisfaction rates.
- Reduced Escalations: With supervisors able to step in and assist with problematic calls, the need for call escalations is reduced, freeing up additional resources to handle other customer inquiries.
- Streamlined Training and Onboarding: Agent Whisper can be a valuable tool for training new agents, allowing supervisors to provide immediate feedback and support during live calls.
Example Call Center Software Providers with Agent Whisper
Several call center software providers offer Agent Whisper functionality as part of their platforms:
- Talkdesk: A cloud-based contact center solution that includes one-way and two-way whisper functionality, as well as call monitoring and barge-in capabilities.
- Five9: This cloud contact center platform offers a comprehensive suite of features, including Agent Whisper, call monitoring, and advanced analytics.
- Nice inContact: A popular choice for enterprise-level contact centers, Nice inContact offers robust Agent Whisper functionality along with a wide range of advanced features.
How to Effectively Implement Agent Whisper in Your Call Center
To make the most of Agent Whisper in your call center, consider the following best practices:
- Train Supervisors: Ensure all supervisors are trained on how to use the Agent Whisper feature effectively and understand when it is appropriate to use one-way or two-way whisper modes.
- Set Clear Expectations: Establish guidelines for how and when supervisors should use Agent Whisper to support agents, and communicate these expectations to both supervisors and agents.
- AI Model Development: If AI agent whisper is to be implemented (particularly for in-call AI agent whisper), you'll need to develop a model and train the AI. This can be complex, depending on the nature of the interactions you want the AI to handle.
- Monitor Usage: Keep track of how often supervisors use Agent Whisper and how it impacts agent performance and customer satisfaction. This data can help identify areas for improvement or additional training needs. Also, if AI agent whisper is implemented, you will want to be able to keep a close watch on costs.
- Encourage Feedback: Encourage agents to provide feedback on their experiences with Agent Whisper, as this can help supervisors refine their coaching techniques and identify any potential issues with the feature itself.
By carefully considering your call center's unique needs and implementing best practices, you can leverage Agent Whisper's full potential to enhance agent performance and improve customer satisfaction.