Many customers complain of poor quality in the calls they receive or make to a contact center. This can result in a reduced customer experience and higher churn rate. As a result, many contact centers are witnessing a dwindling volume of voice calls.
Despite these issues, VoIP calls have some inherent benefits like cost reduction, scalability and lower chances of complete “breakdown” or disruption, in comparison to traditional landlines that you cannot ignore as a contact center owner.
It is in your best interest that you should try to resolve the “pain points” and enjoy the advantages of VoIP calls. Here is the list of some problems and their solutions.
VoIP and its many problems
VoIP or voice over internet protocol, unlike landlines, work on internet networks. A call from the source is broken down into small packets of information and these packets are then sent over IP networks. The disjointed packets are once again assembled at the destination to recreate the original voice which is played to the listener.
However, this setup has an intrinsic problem. The small packets of data can take different routes to reach the destination which means the duration of travel could vary by a few milliseconds. This could lead to generation of problems like “jitter”, “echo”, “choppiness” and “delay”.
Choppiness in a VoIP call can be caused due to loss of packet data during transit or due to high latency. Latency is defined as the amount of time taken by a packet of information to leave the source and reach the destination. If the packets travel at varying speeds, they will arrive at the destination at different points in time. This means, the call is reassembled with some parts missing. This means the listener would only hear the speaker’s voice partially with omitted words or sentences.
But this is easy to fix. Very often, it is found that contact centers use a single ISP/ITSP network for both web browsing/downloads and also voice. This can be resolved internally by configuring the router or the firewall so that the voice gets prioritized. Video downloads or conferencing on the same connection will have to be aborted to prioritize voice. The other option is to use a business class network connection.
Jitter is a technical term which is measured by the variability of latency across a network with respect to time. This means that the data packets arrive in varying times as well as in different order to the original call. This leads to poor audio quality of the assembled call. The listener either doesn’t receive portions of the original message or the order gets altered which makes the message gibberish.
You can resolve it easily. You will just need to install jitter buffers. These store the data temporarily to compensate for the variability in arrival of the data packets. This usually gives enough time for all the packets to reach the destination before the call assembling starts.
High latency can result in delay as well as echo. Echo is when the listener hears faint voices of the speaker after a time lag. This means interruptions and loss of flow. While some amount of latency is common, especially if it’s a long distance call, the problem may be exacerbated by poor quality of network cables or use of a router incapable of handling the load.
A business class router is the most common fix. An edge device would work too. In order to prioritize voice data over other forms of data in a network, multi-protocol label switching or specific bandwidth reservation (Voice calls require a lot of bandwidth) can help.
Improper configuration of internal network
Does your company still use the same network for voice and computer related activities? If your customers have been complaining about quality of service issues, it is time for you to inspect your internal network setup. You will have to configure the system to prioritize voice traffic, if you cannot dedicate a separate network connection for the calls. However, a business-class router specially designed for VoIP improves the call quality significantly.
Egregious network quality
A lot of ISPs are not capable of handling voice data. In addition, they often have more subscribers than they can handle. This leads to loss of data packets on way as well as delay. In this case, you can use a “ping” or a “traceroute” test to determine the problem and then contact your ISP. Ask them to give you the stats of the connection and also fix the problem. The best solution is to use a business-class high speed network which uses multiple protocols, making it easier to transmit and receive the data packets.
These problems may sound big but they can be resolved easily. Nevertheless, these factors are often responsible for a poor call quality. If you don’t troubleshoot them quickly, they would come back to haunt you later. So don’t let these issues disrupt your business.