Call whispering is a part of a suite of features provided by some business phone systems. These features focus on training and allow managers to monitor calls, coach calls, and join calls to coach and support call agents. With the call whisper feature, only the call agent can hear a manager listening in or speaking to them on a call. The customer only hears the call agent’s voice.
To maintain a successful call center or a high-performing sales team, you have to do more than give your employees a script or tell them what they’re supposed to say. You need to coach them in the best customer service or sales techniques. Good coaching will help employees refine their skills and perform their best on the job.
A recent Gallup study called State of the American Workplace shows that there’s a strong connection between employee engagement and success. Companies that give their employees clear expectations and ensure that they have all the support and tools they need to do their jobs reap the rewards of their efforts. The teams that ranked in the top 20% for engagement reported having a 41% decrease in absenteeism and a reduction in turnover by 59%. Their employees felt energized and they showed high rates of job satisfaction.
Call Center Coaching Best Practices
Coaching ensures that managers will bring out the best performance in their employees. However, call center coaching is actually not that common. According to Harvard Business Review, a Harris poll showed that 69% of managers admitted that they’re often uncomfortable speaking with their employees. Around 37% of the managers reported they were hesitant to give their employees direct feedback about their performance if they suspected an employee might react negatively.
Call whisper offers an unobtrusive way to gently coach call center agents without making either of you uncomfortable. Best practices for call center coaching allow you to maximize the potential of call whispering.
Use these tips to get a start:
- Make sure feedback is timely, direct, and frequent.
- Use coaching to show call agents how to reach their goals. This can be done very effectively with call whispering, especially for those difficult calls.
- Be constructive rather than critical—“Instead of saying…, try saying this…”.
- Place a heavier focus on what you want to hear them say rather than rehashing what they already said.
- Explain why change is important—it gives them a sense of purpose.
- Personalize feedback without making it personal.
- Offer praise often, even when call agents are just doing what you expect of them.
- Call agents will always appreciate a well-placed “Good job!” Additionally, you should provide specific feedback about how they addressed certain problems or remained calm on difficult calls.
- Collect data on call metrics and share it with employees. By using factual information to show call agents that learn their calls are longer than their peers, it frames their perspective and motivates them to do better.
- Don’t confuse coaching with a performance review. Engage call agents in a two-way conversation and give them time to offer their perspective.
- Take time to role-play and provide direct feedback and have a little fun with the exercise.
- Create an environment that’s free of distractions. Keep the temperature at a comfortable level and eliminate noise or other distractions.
Great coaching helps your call agents gain expertise on calls which translates to your company’s commitment to offering great customer experience.
How Call Whispering Can Improve Team Performance
Call center teams where individuals are thriving perform better. Managers reported that satisfied employees demonstrated 16% better overall performance than dissatisfied employees, as noted by Harvard Business Review. This research shows that employees satisfied with their jobs display a 32% increase in their commitment to their companies. They are 125% less susceptible to burnout than their peers. Companies also reported that employees missed less work for doctor visits which reduced the company’s overall health care costs.
Call whispering is part of call center software and it can be a valuable tool for coaching your call center agents, so they feel satisfied and confident in their jobs. Call monitoring, call whispering, and call barging combine to form a suite of constructive instruments to complete your coaching toolbox.
Here’s how they can work for you:
Gives you the ability to listen in on call agent’s calls. Call monitoring gives managers a first-hand account of how call agents handle calls. The takeaways provide opportunities to share specific feedback in accordance with call center coaching best practices. This feature also gives managers valuable insight into how many calls a call agent makes or receives and how long agents are spending on calls.
Gives you the ability to give tips and hints to call agents during a call that only they can hear. On-the-spot coaching in real-time will help them to improve their sales or support skills quickly which will naturally result in increased confidence for call agents early on. Call whisper also helps to create a seamless customer experience for the customer which will pay off in increased revenue and referrals.
Allows managers to take over a call from a call agent when they’re not able to handle a call successfully. This is a useful feature when a customer becomes irate or abusive on a call and they demand to speak to a supervisor. An experienced call agent with authority can then take over the call and work towards resolving the issue.
Call whispering also saves you the time of reviewing specific calls with call agents long after a call ended. The risk of reviewing after the call is that the details of the call aren’t fresh.
Pros & Cons of Call Whisper
The benefits of call whispering for call centers far surpass the negatives. Here’s what you can expect:
- Greatly assists in training new call center agents
- Provides valuable tools for coaching struggling call agents
- Effective for inbound and outbound calling
- Walks call agents through challenging calls in real-time
- Increases call agents’ sales and support communication skills
- The expertise and efficiency of call agents improve the customer experience
- Helps call agents manage calls from important clients with professionalism and finesse
- Increases call agents’ confidence and job satisfaction
- Requires a manager to dedicate time upfront to monitoring and coaching call agents
- Upfront onboarding takes a bit longer
- New call agents will have lots of questions
- Some call agents may have trouble focusing on conversations during call whispering
With call whispering, you’re making a stronger investment in the early stages of training, but the payoff comes with call agents that get up to speed faster.
Building the Foundation for Call Center Success
Call center success begins with a solid training foundation and the right call center software.
Your call center agents will benefit from periodic refresher courses in customer support or sales techniques. Occasional workshops or webinars will help call agents sharpen their skills in the areas of attentiveness, patience, problem-solving, and phone etiquette.
Call agents will also benefit from continuing education in product knowledge or developments in service protocols so they represent your company’s offerings well. Education can take place during calls with a call whisper feature.
Call team meetings regularly and share call center metrics and analytics. Proven results will inspire confidence among your call center agents after they see proven results.
Regular training, along with integrating the right technologies and giving your call agents the best tools to perform their jobs, are the best ways to create a solid foundation for success.
Aircall’s cloud-based phone system offers call whispering to complement call center coaching. Aircall works with other apps to enable deeper call metrics and produce a richer customer experience.
These are a few of the integrations you should consider to enhance your call center coaching efforts:
- Avoma – Offers AI-powered transcription, summarizes action items, and identifies conversation insights.
- Gong – Captures and analyzes sales conversations and enables searching conversations by keyword.
- EvaluAgent – Imports sales and support conversations from Aircall in real-time and analyzes calls for quality assurance.
Aircall also offers a public API so you can create a customized app of your own.
Call whispering provides benefits that take call coaching to the next level. Consider adding call whispering to your overall call center coaching platform, along with the other features of Aircalls’s cloud-based phone system, where you can easily add useful tools and integrations for essential functions.