Agent Conference is now Generally Available

  • Connect agents and customers with a simple API.
  • Allow supervisors to privately coach agents during a live call.
  • Allow supervisors to take over a call from an agent.
  • Let agents dial outbound to customers from within a conference, so that customers connect immediately when they pick up.

We are excited to announce that Agent Conference, Twilio’s solution for bridging customers to contact center agents, is now Generally Available. With this simple API, developers building contact center solutions can easily connect customers with agents and add supervisors to the line to coach agents through the Twilio Programmable Voice API.

Twilio’s <Conference> verb can be used to create two kinds of conferences: those intended for large group collaboration with up to 250 participants, and small conferences with up to a handful of participants – typically a customer, an agent, and perhaps a supervisor. While both conferences share a number of features that are useful for both types – like mute and hold – we are building Agent Conference to handle the specific workflows of contact centers, like agent coaching and outbound dialing from within a conference.

Agent Coaching

 

Quality assurance is crucial for contact centers to provide great customer experiences. In most contact centers, supervisors listen into calls to monitor agents and coach them when they need help. The listening part has always been possible with Twilio by adding a supervisor to a conference and placing them on mute. But if you want that supervisor to be able to coach an agent in real-time, mute won’t help.

The Agent Coaching feature of the Agent Conference API now adds the ability for a supervisor to hear all participants in a conference and speak to only one participant—your agent.

The API for Agent Coaching is straightforward. Using the coach param, specify the call SID of the agent in that conference who should be able to hear the supervisor.

The above TwiML will put a supervisor into the conference. They will be able to hear all participants, but they’ll only be able to speak to one participant – the agent:  CA1bd06ff67e14ccf3d5ac9ba896305a6b. In this case, only the agent will hear the coaching from their supervisor, not the customer.

Now, let’s imagine that the call is not going well and the supervisor needs to step in to take over the call from the agent. Agent Conference can support that workflow as well. To do that you would use the transfer API and then return this TwiML:

We now offer full monitor, coach, and barge functionality within Conference. While switching between monitor, coach, and barge requires a participant to leave and rejoin the conference, we will soon streamline this process so that you can change the mode without leaving conference.

Outbound Conference Call API

When you’re placing outbound calls to connect agents to customers or prospects, you also want the experience to be as responsive and smooth as possible. Most CRM dialers and Voice API platforms have significant lag when connecting customers after they answer the phone, which can cause disconnection and hangup rates to skyrocket. To create a better experience for customers and fewer hangups for agents, we’ve added a new API for placing outbound calls from Agent Conference.

This API has a few unique properties. It’s a declarative API for specifying the action to “create an outbound call and connect it to a conference.” Instead of creating an outbound call and then having Twilio fetch TwiML once the call connects, calls created with this API are connected to a conference immediately on creation.

As you would expect, agents can now hear the state of the outbound call (like ringing or disconnect messages) while still being in a Conference. We call this “early media.”

An example request for this API is below:

Pricing

Agent Conference offers advanced features for building agent-centric call flows on Twilio, and has the same pricing as our collaboration-focused Conference API. This allows you to choose the best solution for your needs without worrying if a workaround might be cheaper.  

What’s next?

When building a contact center, better building blocks help you create better experiences for your customers. Twilio is the only communication platform that has an API specifically designed for contact center workflows, and we’re not stopping here. As we move forward we will continue deliver more features for Agent Conference such as:

  • An API to seamlessly switch between monitor, coach, and barge without using TwiML
  • Conference announcements using <Say> or <Play> to everyone in a Conference or to individual participants
  • Orchestration using DTMF keys
  • SDKs to orchestrate conference features from browser
  • Support for adding custom labels to participants, like “Agent,” “Customer,” and “Supervisor”
  • A single API to dial an agent and bridge to a customer (click-to-call)

The Agent Conference API is the best way to build your contact center workflows, and with so many features on the way, you’ll want to get started with Agent Conference today.

If you have any questions about the Agent Conference API or how to implement it, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Sales team.

We can’t wait to see what you build.