Ask an Expert: Are contact center tools like barge and drop call useful?

Ask an Expert: Are contact center tools like barge and drop call useful?

At CallTrackingMetrics, we’re always looking to use our system to the fullest of its capabilities.

– Frank Roberts, Director of Customer Support, CallTrackingMetrics

What are the most useful contact center tools for leaders of support teams?

Our software is known by many customers as a marketing attribution tool, but we also offer the full suite of call management tools. We don’t think it’s quite enough to know where your calls are coming from; we think it’s just as important to make sure those inbound (and outbound) calls are handled well.

Our team has been working hard to release features that support managers of contact centers. Perhaps no one but a leader of phone agents would know just how crucial it is to route, manage, and analyze calls, so we checked in with Frank Roberts, our Director of Customer Support, to learn more.

One of the Live Listen tools in CallTrackingMetrics is the “Barge” button, which sounds like it could be very useful in the right situation. In your experience, why is Barge an important feature to have in contact center software?

Ah… to barge or not to barge, that is the question. Oftentimes a change of voice can make the difference between success and failure with a customer. The barge feature gives a contact center supervisor the perfect opportunity to redirect the tenor of a live call when they feel that their agent might need assistance. I have used the barge feature only two times since being introduced to the platform.

The first time I used it was when training a new agent. There were times during the call in which the agent took some long pauses and the caller grew a bit impatient. I used the Barge tool to explain to the caller that the person with whom they were speaking was new to the team and was getting help from a team member. I apologized for the long pauses, and the caller understood. The new agent was able to complete the interaction and the caller rated the experience as good.

The other time I had to use the feature was with an abusive customer. They were not happy with a change in the software and called in to our team in a rather angry and profane manner. The agent allowed the caller to vent and was trying to explain to them that the issue was known and a resolution was expected in less than 10 minutes. Each time this experienced agent attempted to speak, there was more anger and more profanity from the caller. I had already been listening to the call and decided to Barge to come to the aid of my team member and try to get the caller to focus. I identified myself and took ownership of this caller’s experience. I was able to ensure the caller that we were nearing a resolution of the problem, and promised a personal follow-up once the issue was fixed. Upon the release of the fix, I contacted the caller to close the loop and verify that their system was functioning as expected.

What’s your experience with the “Drop Call” tool in the Live Listen feature set? Do you feel that Drop Call is an integral part of any comprehensive contact center software? Or is it more of convenience – nice to have, but not necessary?

Drop it like it’s hot! Although I have not had to use the Drop Call feature, I can envision the day when it will be necessary to end a call that is irreversibly heading down the wrong road. I’m glad to have this tool in my belt, and I can see it providing a ton of value to other contact center supervisors.

As the leader of many support engineers here at CallTrackingMetrics, are there are other aspects of our contact center software that you rely on to manage the team efficiently?

At CallTrackingMetrics, we’re always looking to use our system to the fullest of its capabilities, so I was excited to take advantage of some of our newer contact center tools.

The introduction of the “whisper” feature has provided our team with another level of confidence, because it enables our senior technical team members to whisper instructions to support and sales agents during live calls. This helps us ensure that the correct message is always delivered to our callers, which should improve satisfaction overall.

We’ve also recently added the ability for a caller to schedule a callback from the next available agent when we’re experiencing higher than normal call volume. This uses a combination of the keypress option in the waiting section of our queue, the auto dialer, and the agent whisper tool. In our use case, when a caller schedules a callback, the agent receives a call first, in which a whisper is played informing the agent of the callback. From there, our auto dialer reaches out to the original caller and adds them onto the line.

Also, if you’re a contact center manager, you’re keenly aware of the need to manage your Key Progress Indicators. Close monitoring of KPIs will very often determine the success or failure of your team. I look to the Call Reports offered in CTM to monitor our KPIs, including our Average Hold Time (AHT), Average Talk Time (ATT) and Service Level.

Speaking of which, the “Agents” view provides me with both AHT and ATT for the group and the individual agents. We had found that our answer times were increasing, so I started reviewing the AHT and ATT reports closely. The information I gathered there led us to take another look at the call distribution method we were using, known as “simultaneous” call distribution. Since then, we’ve switched to the “longest waiting” call distribution method, and the initial results are promising: we’ve recently experienced a 25 percent AHT reduction!

The “Agents” view also gives me some visibility into which agents are more efficient than others. Along the same lines, the “hour of day” view provides me with the information I need to ensure enough we have enough agents allocated for our call volume. The “status” view gives me a better look at the level of service we’re providing, by providing charts and data relating to the calls answered vs. the calls left in other statuses.

Our 2018 Service Level has increased more than 4 percent over 2017, which was itself a 13 percent improvement over 2016. Throughout 2018 and moving forward, we will continue to monitor the status view in an effort to further increase our Service Level.

I actually display both the real-time agents report and the live call log on a screen mounted on the wall above my desk. This allows me to see at a glance if there are calls waiting for agents, which of our agents are available, and which of our agents are currently engaged in calls.