The call barge vs the live chat takeover: which makes for a smoother experience?

There are many similarities between calls and live chats; the two real-time titans of customer service. Both make real-time conversation possible. And they both share similar features with similar goals.

But these similarities do not necessarily make for equal experiences. Take, for instance, the difference in experience between the call barge and its live chat counterpart: the live chat takeover.

Here’s a closer look at how these two contact centre supervisor intervention methods stack up.


What is a call barge?

  • What does it allow?

A call barge is where someone can join in on an existing phone call. Typically, this is a supervisor who then assists the agent with the customer call — be it by clearing up policy, providing answers, or anything else.

A call that has been ‘barged’ is a three-way call. That is, both the agent and the customer are aware of the barge and can hear what the additional call participant is saying. Once in the call, a supervisor can then transfer it to another agent, conference in agents, or take it over entirely themselves.

  • Why use call barging?

The primary reason given for call barging is quality assurance. It allows supervisors to cut in and make sure customers get the quality, on-brand conversations expected. They’re also helpful for agent training purposes, as supervisors can guide the agent and customer through a difficult interaction.


The call barge customer experience

That’s what the call barge looks like on the technical side, but what does it look like for the customer?

On the one hand, there’s the benefit to the customer of assured quality. They get a good experience with knowledgeable service from a supervisor.  

But on the other hand, it’s not a smooth journey to that good experience. With a call barge, the customer is unavoidably aware and alerted to the presence of a new person. They know that the agent they were talking to suddenly has help from a supervisor. And this leads to a few things.

  • • The customer may question why the agent couldn’t help them alone. This can be frustrating — it can feel like a waste of time. Conversely, it can be reassuring that they are talking to the right person now. But it’s not been a good journey to get there, and undermines your agents.
  • • The customer can find the change jarring. This is particularly the case if they then feel the need to repeat themselves, or are getting information they’ve already been told.

What is a live chat takeover?

On the other side of the question is the live chat takeover. The chat takeover is essentially the live chat version of the call barge.

  • What does it allow?

Akin to the call barge, live chat takeovers allow a supervisor or manager to take control of a customer interaction. Live chat takeovers basically look just like a transfer. In fact, it is a transfer, just initiated by someone other than the agent.

(Typically, in the case of chat transfers, the agent would click the ‘transfer’ button to request a transfer. With a takeover the supervisor would step in and take the chat on themselves, without agent prompting.)

  • Why use live chat takeover functionality?

The purpose of a chat takeover, like the call barge, revolves around quality assurance. It supports agents that are new or struggling, promoting a healthy, supportive atmosphere.


The chat takeover experience

The similarities between the call barge and the chat takeover end with the type of experience they create. This is because there’s no direct message to the customer regarding the takeover, the only difference for them is that the name of the agent will change.

This makes for a much smoother experience compared to that created by the call barge. There’s no interrupting the flow of the conversation with an introduction to a new agent. There’s no repeating yourself — everything that’s been said is there in the chat window in front of the supervisor that’s taking over.

In short, the supervisor can pick up the conversation without disrupting the customer. And then, they can provide that quality assurance and agent support that make for great customer experiences.


Call barge vs live chat takeover

The call barge and the live chat takeover have much in common. But live chat takeovers offer a much smoother experience in terms of disruption. There’s no new voice, no repetition, and no extra introductions.

The call barge, though a disruption, does help to make good customer experiences. But the journey there is not as smooth as with live chat software.

Want to explore the smooth experiences you can offer with live chat? Get started now with a 30-day free trial of WhosOn.


Useful links

Agent empowerment: what is it, and why is it so important?

25 ways to give bad customer service

ESAT: employee satisfaction and why it matters

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