Advanced call center software & customer service software blog team
The Sytel Blog Team (from left):
       Ian Turner (Development Manager)
       Michael McKinlay (CEO)
       Garry Pearson (CTO)
How to Juggle with
4 Balls (and a Chainsaw) – Part 2

The Challenge of Converged Multi-Media
in the Contact Center


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 Jan 2012

<< Part 1

Last time, we looked at how choice of technology in a multi-media contact center can enable speed of response. This time, we address the other requirement of customer satisfaction: quality of response.

Contact center agents are empowered to provide excellent quality of response by continual evaluation, training and improvement. The tools that enable this to happen are standard for voice-only interactions, but how about web chat, email, SMS, video and others? Rather like juggling with 4 balls (and a chainsaw), this is a challenge.

Multi-media Monitoring

Call center agent monitoring is essential for maintaining quality of service. It allows supervisors to check that agents follow established protocols and procedures, and reveals areas that need further training.

Just as supervisors can monitor, coach and barge with voice calls, the same is required with email, chat and other media types. Whereas voice calls just require an audio connection, the challenge for other media types is to also provide access to the agent screen, at several levels:

SMS, email, web chat, etc (text-based interactions)

  • Monitoring – requires view-only screen
  • Coaching - requires sharing mouse and keyboard with agent/ view-only screen plus audio
  • Barging – requires taking over mouse and keyboard from agent

Desktop sharing and take-over requires either built-in monitoring software or integration with third party remote monitoring tools.


This requires special handling (rather like that chainsaw):

  • Monitoring – requires view-only screen
  • Coaching - requires view-only screen plus audio
  • Barging – requires software that enables the supervisor to replace both agent-side audio and video with their own.

Supervisors can only continue to improve agent performance and satisfy customers’ needs if they have access to the right tools.

Multi-media Recording

This is typically useful for agent scoring, post-interaction coaching, complaint review and dispute resolution.

Whereas voice call recording involves creating MP3s, the challenge is to be able to handle other media types appropriately:

  • SMS, email, web chat – if there is a unified queue mechanism, simple text can be captured as it passes through the system
  • Video – requires capture of both agent and customer sides of the interaction, both visual and audio. If the agent portion is displayed on the agent screen alongside the customer portion, a single movie capture of the agent screen (e.g. an AVI file) is possible.

If the various types of interaction recording are fully and easily available, agents can be scored, targeted for further training or discipline, etc, helping to maintain high quality interactions and therefore customer satisfaction.

Multi-media Reporting

Reporting gives visibility on both what is happening, and what has happened, so that issues that threaten customer satisfaction can be addressed immediately.

Once again, multi-media interactions need a different approach to voice calls. Traditional key performance indicators (KPIs) for voice don’t work for text-based interactions or video, so new KPIs must be established for each media type.

And wouldn’t it be great if supervisors could respond directly from a reporting interface? e.g. move agents between media queues, or retrieve recorded interactions. This requires both a tight, unified approach to media queuing, and a seamless blend of data and system control in a unified interface. That’s quite a challenge.

If you are thinking “That’s all very well, but...” – it’s OK. A move toward supporting multi-media interactions need not be expensive. Remote agents and virtualisation are just as feasible as in a voice-only center, so the move would not require a complete overhaul of existing infrastructure.

Support for multiple media types throughout the contact center, rather like juggling, does present its challenges, but with the right approach, an awareness of the complications (look out for that chainsaw!) and the right software(!), all balls can be kept in the air and customer satisfaction can be kept high. Happy juggling!



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Related -
Multi-media contact center software, multi-channel call center software, web chat software, video conferencing software, voice calls, contact center technology, call center performance management, contact center management, service level agreement, SLA, key performance indicators, KPI, agent monitoring, measure performance metrics, call recording