Quality Assurance via Customer Service Call Barging

A set of interlocking gears symbolizes the integral nature of quality assurance.

Call barging is one of the features that can be extremely useful and effective for contact centers and sales organizations, where it sometimes becomes necessary to monitor phone calls. It can be used as a tool for supervisors and sales managers to keep track of how well new sales personnel are doing, it can be an ideal tool for training purposes, and it can provide some built-in quality assurance, as well as confirmation of high-quality customer service.

If you haven’t heard the term before, call barging is one of the many features available through VoIP technology which was not possible in the days of Public-Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phones. A great many companies around the world are discovering some of the highly beneficial features provided by VoIP systems, such as digital faxing, voicemail transcription, integration with CRM systems, and help desk software.

Call Listening, Call Whispering, and Call Barging

Call monitoring has been available for a long time, even on older phone systems which preceded the advent of VoIP. Almost everyone has heard those recorded messages which are triggered when you connect to your telephone destination, which advises you that your current call is being monitored so as to assure quality customer service. VoIP technology has taken this to a whole new level beyond simple monitoring, and it can allow managers or supervisors to actually sit in on conversations between customers and sales personnel.

In the case of call listening, a manager can simply be included in a conversation between a sales rep and a customer without actually participating in the call. If appropriate, the manager can make notes about the employee’s performance, so that it can be discussed at a later time from a quality assurance perspective.

With call whispering, a supervisor can be in on a telephone conversation and make suggestions to a sales employee without the customer being aware of it. This is useful for instances where a new employee might be caught off guard by a customer question, or where the employee’s knowledge is not quite up to snuff yet.

Call barging takes this all a step further, and it allows the supervisor to participate in the phone call to the extent that both customer and sales rep can be talked to at the same time. In effect, call barging converts such a telephone conversation into a kind of conference call between the three parties.

Call barging allows your quality assurance team to silently monitor your customer service calls and intervene when necessary.

When is Call Barging Appropriate?

While it’s fairly obvious what the benefits to call barging might be, there’s also a fine line to walk with regard to how this might be taken by the customer. Some customers could be offended by the interruption from a manager and might consider it to be an intrusion on the privacy of the phone call. When you’re considering barging in on a call, you should first gauge what the customer reaction might be, and then you should only barge in if you’re really adding value to the exchange. Unless your contribution can legitimately help the customer, it’s probably better to hold your peace. On the other hand, if it’s apparent that a novice salesperson is really floundering in the conversation, or if the customer is extremely upset about something, these might be justification for barging in on a call for quality assurance purposes.

How Call Barging Provides Quality Assurance

The great thing about call barging is that it provides an opportunity for a manager or supervisor to break in on a call right at the time it’s happening so that the customer experience can be improved. If call barging was not possible, any recommendations for improvement on the part of the salesperson would have to be deferred until later, and by then some of the valid points might be lost, or there could be difficulty remembering the details of the conversation.

Call barging can also be extremely helpful for relatively new sales personnel when they are at a loss for answering a customer query, or when their product knowledge is somewhat lacking. While it might be a bit embarrassing for the salesperson, they would probably still appreciate the support being provided by a manager, so as to salvage the situation with a customer.

For a very specific situation like when new products are being launched, call barging can provide a very effective way of helping to manage a large volume of user feedback. Situations like these provide perfect opportunities for knowledgeable managers and supervisors to provide extra support and deliver the most appropriate answers to upset or inquisitive customers. The last thing any company wants is to have miscommunication between sales personnel and customers, which can damage company reputation and lose customers.

Another tremendous benefit of call barging is that it can be used very effectively for training purposes. Instead of relying on exclusively training sales personnel in a classroom or face-to-face setting, live calls can be monitored, and feedback can be provided to employees in real-time. Call barging can also be used when sales agents are working from remote locations or from home because the feature is available in both those situations to provide the same level of effectiveness with regards to quality assurance. A considerable enhancement over the old days of call monitoring, call barging takes its place as one of the most useful features provided by a full-blown VoIP system.

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