The difference between call whispering and live chat whisper messages

Call whispering and chat whisper messages: the two sound similar. Both describe a method for supervisors to covertly assist agents during a customer support session.

Is it just that one assistance method is for calls, the other for chats? Sort of – but there’s more to the difference between call whispering and chat whisper messages than the labels suggest.

So, here’s a closer look at how the two guiding ‘whisper’ modes work in a contact centre.

What is call whispering?

Call whispering is a telephony feature used during calls between contact centre representatives and customers. It allows those with access rights – supervisors, administrators, managers – to listen in on active telephone conversations. And, importantly, it also allows them to ‘whisper’ advice into the agent’s ear.

These ‘whispered’ support messages happen without the customer’s awareness. The ‘whispers’ are audible only to the agent, who can then repeat the information or take the advice onboard as the call continues.

So, call whispering combines monitoring with mentoring. And that’s a handy tool for any call-based customer service crew.

For managers, it allows ‘in the field’ training and problem-solving for agents during tricky calls. For agents, meanwhile, it provides real-time guidance and timely conflict resolution support. Both of which help to give customers better experiences.

What are live chat whisper messages?

Live chat whisper messages happen, unsurprisingly, in live chat sessions. That is, conversations between web chat users and contact centre agents. As with call whispering, they allow supervisors to ‘whisper’ advice to agents during active chats.

This is not a literal whisper — it’s not even anything audible. Rather, whisper messages are text-based messages that appear directly in the agent’s view of the chat. So, only the agent can see them, not the customer. (Hence the name ‘whisper.’)

Live chat whisper messages, then, allow a supervisor to:

  • • Monitor a chat
  • • Discreetly step into it
  • • Send private messages that assist the agent in real-time

The similarities

It’s clear there are similarities between the two contact centre ‘whisper’ modes. To recap, both:

  • • Have the name ‘whisper’
  • • Involve supervisors ‘listening’ in on support conversations
  • • Allow supervisors to give advice and info to agents during a contact session
  • • Assist with creating great customer service
  • • Help to foster a supportive work environment for agents

The differences

For all these similarities, chat whisper messages and call whispering also have distinct differences.

The first, and most obvious, is the contact channel in question. Call whispering happens over calls, chat whisper messages over chat.

But looking beyond the skin-deep, there are also more significant contrasts.

Distraction level

First, consider the level of distraction to agents presented by the two types of whisper. Chat whispering is much less distracting to the agent than call whispering.

It’s not easy to maintain a conversation with someone if another person is whispering something in your ear. This means that agents are more likely to get mentally fatigued trying to listen to two people at once.

They might miss something the customer has said, because they were focusing on what’s being whispered to them. Vice versa, they could miss part of the whispered help because they’re listening to the customer.

Memory element

There’s also a difference in the amount of memory required of the agent with call whispering compared to whisper messages.

Chat whisper messages can be re-read and referred back to during the chat. The words are there, permanently, in the chat window. So, if the advice details multiple steps, agents don’t need to rely on their prospective memory to follow them.

This is not the case with call whispering. Once the advice is whispered, the agent must engage their memory to remember what they can do and what they need to do. (Else, have the supervisor continue to repeat instructions into their ear while they maintain a chat with another person.)


Finally, there’s a difference between the efficiency of call whispering compared to whisper messages.

This is because of concurrency. Chat whisper messages allow supervisors to easily whisper to and support multiple agents with different contact sessions at any one time. They can read more than one chat in a short amount of time, but they can’t easily listen to more than one telephone conversation.

This means that a supervisor can help more agents in a shorter time frame with chat whispering.

Call whispering vs chat whispering

Be it chat or calls, whispering is a truly handy ability to have in a contact centre.

It’s true that chat whisper messages do have a few advantages over call whispering, However, that doesn’t negate the power of supervisors being able to stealthily help their agents no matter the channel they’re on.

So, do you need to add whisper abilities to your customer support arsenal?

Useful links

Whisper messages: a feature dive

Calls vs chat: the clash of the real-time titans

How to improve call centre performance across your live chat channel