A common feature of most modern call center platforms is the ability to monitor agent calls. Call monitoring allows supervisors and other users to listen in (or monitor) phone calls as they happen. In the past, call monitoring often required the supervisor to patch in to a call (by dialing into a special extension). Thanks to modern call center technologies, calls can now be monitored from a computer or other device. In this feature overview, we will explore the ins and outs of call monitoring in call centers, including its benefits, key factors to consider when choosing a solution, and examples of call center software providers that have this feature.
Understanding Call Monitoring and Call Barging
Brief overview of call monitoring and call barging
Call monitoring (or call barging) is a feature offered by many call center software solutions that allows managers and supervisors to listen to live calls between agents and customers. This helps them assess performance, identify areas for improvement, and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. The term “call barging” is commonly used to refer to when a supervisor “barges into” an ongoing call. Another type of call monitoring is “agent whisper” which we cover in a separate feature discussion.
How call monitoring and call barging work
Call monitoring software typically works by allowing a logged in user (such as a call center supervisor) to join a call in progress. In most modern call centers, this is done by clicking a button or link associated with an ongoing call via a supervisor dashboard. If the supervisor is logged in (and has permissions to monitor the call), the supervisor is bridged into the call. Often, the supervisor simply “monitors” the call (and remains muted during the call). If the supervisor wishes to take over the call, or participate in the call, the supervisor may join unmuted (thereby “barging” into the call in progress).
Types of call monitoring
There are several types of call monitoring techniques used in call centers:
- Live call monitoring: Supervisors can listen to calls as they happen in real-time, without the agent or customer being aware.
- Call barging: Supervisors join live calls to provide assistance or support to the agent during the conversation.
- Call whispering: Supervisors can speak directly to the agent during a live call without the customer hearing. (see our separate feature review of agent whispering).
Key factors to consider when choosing call center software with call monitoring
When evaluating different call center platforms with call monitoring and call barging features, it's essential to consider the following factors:
Choose a call monitoring solution that can grow and adapt to your business needs. Does the solution require you to pay per seat for each supervisor monitoring calls? Is there a limit on how many users can monitor?
Integration with existing systems
Your call monitoring software should be able to integrate seamlessly with your existing systems, such as CRM, helpdesk, and workforce management tools. This ensures that all data and insights gathered from call monitoring can be utilized effectively across your organization.
Features and customization
Look for a call monitoring solution that offers a range of features and customization options to meet your specific requirements. This might include advanced analytics, customizable evaluation forms, and the ability to create custom reports. For example, does the solution allow you to generate reports identifying which calls were monitored? Does it allow you to report on which supervisors monitored calls?
Compliance and security
Call monitoring involves handling sensitive customer data, so it's crucial to select a solution that complies with industry regulations (such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS) and offers robust security features to protect your data. For example, does the solution allow you to grant (or deny) permissions about what users can monitor specific calls? Does it prevent the party monitoring the call from hearing sensitive data?
Benefits of call monitoring
Implementing call monitoring software in your call center can provide several benefits:
Improved agent performance and training
By listening to live calls, supervisors can identify areas where agents excel and areas where they need improvement. This enables targeted coaching and training, resulting in better overall agent performance.
Enhanced customer experience
Call monitoring helps ensure agents adhere to best practices, scripts, and company policies during customer interactions. This leads to more consistent service quality and a better overall customer experience.
Increased efficiency and productivity
Monitoring calls helps identify inefficiencies in processes or agent behavior, allowing managers to implement adjustments that streamline operations and improve productivity.
Reduced operational costs
By identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes, call monitoring can help reduce operational costs, such as reducing call handle times and minimizing the need for repeat calls.
Compliance and risk management
Regular call monitoring helps ensure that agents comply with industry regulations and company policies, reducing the risk of fines or legal issues.
Example call center software providers with call monitoring and call barging as a feature
There are many call center software providers that offer call monitoring and call barging as a feature. Some examples include:
- Five9: A cloud contact center solution that offers real-time call monitoring and analytics.
- Genesys: Offers a comprehensive suite of call center solutions, including call monitoring and analytics for both on-premises and cloud-based deployments.
- NICE inContact: A cloud contact center platform with built-in call monitoring, recording, and quality management tools.
- Talkdesk: Offers a cloud-based contact center solution with call monitoring, analytics, and customizable evaluation forms.
- RingCentral: A unified communications platform that includes call monitoring and analytics features within its contact center solutions.
How to effectively implement call monitoring in your call center
To reap the full benefits of call monitoring and call barging, it's crucial to implement it effectively in your call center:
- Establish goals and objectives: Before implementing call monitoring, define your goals and objectives, such as improving agent performance or enhancing customer satisfaction.
- Train agents and supervisors: Ensure that both agents and supervisors understand the purpose of call monitoring and are trained in using the software and following best practices.
- Develop monitoring guidelines and standards: Create clear guidelines for call monitoring, such as how often calls should be monitored and which aspects of agent performance should be assessed.
- Implement monitoring tools and software: Choose and install call monitoring software that meets your needs and integrates with your existing systems.
- Analyze data and make improvements: Use the insights gathered from call monitoring to identify trends, areas for improvement, and best practices to implement across your team.
- Review and update monitoring practices regularly: Regularly review and adjust your call monitoring practices to ensure they remain effective and relevant to your organization's goals.
Call monitoring and call barging can be a powerful tool for call center managers looking to improve agent performance, enhance customer experience, and optimize operations.