It will be hard to find a thriving call center today that overlooks the benefits of having superior Voice over IP (VoIP) call quality, considering that most of the industry now relies on a VoIP infrastructure to ensure higher customer satisfaction. Without VoIP, technical issues and diminished call quality can make the customer experience unproductive and even overwhelming since agents may not deliver the clarity and assistance customers expect.
If you want to deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction consistently, it has become essential that you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to your call quality. It also requires you to be proactive regarding the obstacles, such as maintaining clarity and limiting latency, among other things that can impact your calls’ quality. Are you confused about where you should begin? This article aims to educate you further about your VoIP infrastructure’s setup and how it operates with cloud-based VoIP call center software. Furthermore, we will run down the usual difficulties that trouble many VoIP phone systems and the most efficient and effective ways to correct them, including setup and how it operates with cloud-based VoIP call center software. We will also run down the usual concerns that stress most VoIP phone systems and the most efficient and effective ways to correct them.
Why Your VoIP Call Quality Should Matter
In the mid-2000, VoIP technologies and solutions have been gradually and widely adopted by businesses and service providers in favor of their older phone systems. Affectionately called Plain Old Telephone Systems or POTS, yesterday’s standard phone systems continue to be recognized today for its undeniable sound quality and trustworthy stability. Except possibly in extreme weather conditions that can lead to widespread phone line outages. However, it rarely, if ever, happens. While cellular technology is another viable alternative, the high quality of calls depends entirely on how close you’re standing to a cell tower.
Let us first define what VoIP technology is. VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol allows a voice to transmit over the internet by converting voice into digital signals or data packets relayed for VoIP phone calls. Therefore, when we discuss VoIP call quality, we try to measure the call transmission’s overall clarity and responsiveness. These two factors significantly decide whether the VoIP communications experience was satisfactory for both your call center agent and their customer, including whether they could hear the other party and whether the other party could hear them without any annoyances as well.
You might easily disregard your calls’ quality after becoming accustomed to consistently superior marks regarding their clarity and responsiveness. On the other hand, you mustn’t ignore that it can just as quickly turn on a dime or worsen as time passes despite notable past performance. The bottom line is you need to take charge and closely monitor your call quality regularly. The only way to guarantee that your customers always have the best experience is to have the best call quality with VoIP. Don’t worry. The positive experience that follows goes a long way toward encouraging their brand loyalty.
If you want high-quality VoIP communications between your customers and call center agents, first, you will need the proper cloud-based phone system. You will also want to look into the recommended software integrations to further enhance your customer satisfaction from end to end.
Assessing Your VoIP Call Quality
During your phone call, a wide range of issues can affect VoIP communications’ clarity and trouble the phone call with every kind of disturbance, such as echoing, distortion, popping, and other irritating noises. Likewise, it might result in one-way audio or even in a dropped call.
Before you can completely comprehend why these types of obstructions occur, you must first know the basics of how VoIP functions from start to finish.
You’ve already made VoIP calls. However, you might not know that when you place a call via VoIP, your voice is first made into a digitized signal so it can travel over a digital stream. Digital signals are divided and compressed into digital packets transmitted along the internet to your recipient. Once that call is received, the data packet is once again decompressed, reassembled, and reformed into your original voice message so the person on the other end of your call can hear and understand your message. Everything from decompressing to reassembling to routing involved in VoIP all happens in the background in real-time, so you’re usually never aware of all the complex mechanics behind it when everything runs smoothly.
Unfortunately, since VoIP runs on such an elaborate backend system only briefly described above, the chances are high that your digital voice signal can hit snags at numerous spots during its journey through the digital stream. As a result, you should never count on high-quality calls every time based on just one call because the only thing assured is that every call will vary in quality every time.
It is why we recommend observing and tracking the quality of your calls, so once these issues do pop up, you’re in the best position to address them before they hurt your business. The question is, once again, is where to start? You can begin by recording and reviewing calls with customers. You can also take advantage of helpful call monitoring innovations that come standard with most cloud-based phone systems like call whispering. These features will provide you with tools to listen better for disruptive noises, large and small, such as distortion, echoing, jitter, and cutting out, among many others. Furthermore, you can more carefully detect latency signs and other issues that reduce the quality and performance of your VoIP calls.
Causes for Poor VoIP Quality
While you should count on your VoIP phone system to have no issues as long as you install it correctly and obey the right infrastructure, it isn’t always the case. It’s only after becoming more familiar with the problems that generally occur and keep your VoIP service from performing at its optimum. The good news is that the difficulties that result in decreased call quality are surprisingly simple to identify and mend.
If you’re asking yourself whether delivering a superior call quality is as much of a priority for your VoIP provider as it’s become for you–the answer is yes. VoIP service providers who want to remain competitive in today’s crowded marketplace will always place fixing their call quality problems at the top of their list. Rest assured, those who aren’t watching their issues as closely as you do will do everything, they can help you solve the problems anyway. (See Phone System SLA)
What typically are the frequent causes of low-quality VoIP calls? There are five main causes:
- Delays – When it comes to the quality of your VoIP calls, communications should stream smoothly from beginning to end. Experiencing delays and other disruptions like the presence of echoes can quickly make the conversation not only difficult but downright frustrating to have. It might even cause customers to hang up, which will be surely bad for business.
- Jitter – You can quickly spot this expected VoIP call quality issue when voices are interrupted continuously at unpredictable intervals, causing broken speech and hard to understand words. A delay in data packet transmissions causes this particular call quality disruption, resulting in a so-called “jitter.”
- Bad Connection – Your VoIP call quality is also dependent on the quality of your internet connection since its speed determines how efficiently voice signals travel from one point to another. If you have a terrible internet connection, your VoIP communications could hit several bumps that will cause interruptions or terminate your call entirely. As a result, VoIP calls necessitate unique protocols unrelated to the protocols you might apply for home internet use. (See Wrong VoIP Configuration)
- Insufficient Router Bandwidth – Like many small businesses, you might currently have only one router to serve both your data and voice requirements. While this arrangement can work without problems if you set up your router correctly to prioritize your voice needs over data needs (See Wrong VoIP Configuration), the more reliable solution is to upgrade to a router with better bandwidth. You are sure to avail of the larger bandwidth this will afford.
- Wrong VoIP Configuration – As mentioned above, you need a particular protocol to configure your router to prioritize VoIP use over data use if you only have a standard router set for general internet use. On the other hand, once you correctly modify your router settings, you can immediately experience higher VoIP quality thanks to this simple tweak.
Causes for VoIP Call Delays
Chances are, you have experienced latency at one time or another while making a phone call or using the Internet. Latency is a small lag or delay between different endpoints when data is transmitted electronically. For instance, have you ever experienced a delay when clicking to view a video online? This is an example of latency. Basically, it can take a few milliseconds for data to be transferred from one location to another.
With VoIP phone systems, voice latency denotes a small delay as audio data moves from one phone system to another. During a phone call, latency may cause the person on the other end to hear what you say just a few milliseconds later. It may also cause “glitches” in audio data. This may cause someone’s voice to sound muddled, or two peoples’ voices to overlap. Latency is to be expected when using the Internet, which includes VoIP systems.
Have you noticed a short delay during your VoIP call? This lag is called latency (taken from the word “late”). When you experience latency, it can produce muffled sounds or cause voices to overlap. Telephone latency is also known as mouth to ear delay, while audio latency is sometimes called Quality of Experience (QoE). However, latency is the rule instead of the exception when it comes to VoIP systems. It is so commonplace there’s even a unit of measure assigned to latency. We measure latency in milliseconds with a few hundred milliseconds’ delayed spans equal to a few seconds’ delay in the voice signal.
How do you accurately calculate latency in your VoIP call? There are two ways commonly used to measure it:
- One-Direction is the time it takes to transmit the first byte of data from the server to the client following a request. It’s why this gauge is sometimes referred to as Time to First Byte or TTFB.
- Round Trip is the amount of time needed for the VoIP data packet to go from the client to the server and back to the source. This latency measure is also known as Round Trip Time or RTT.
Therefore, if computer networks are running slow in the background, it will have a palpable impact on how efficiently the data packets that contain voice signals move around. It’s why improper timing can unexpectedly disrupt and delay your voice signals to significant effect.
From a real-world experience, latency will produce echoing and overlapping voices that will play havoc on communications. For example, one of the conversation participants won’t hear when the other person pauses to wait for a reply. Because of a disruption in the speech flow, one or both speakers may feel compelled to repeat themselves if they missed something due to the latency problems. When latency becomes a much larger issue than it should be, your only option is to do everything possible to reduce these disruptions and ensure that high call quality resumes quickly.
Troubleshooting VoIP Call Quality Problems
If you want the assurance that the quality of calls never grows to a make it or break it moment for your business, then it’s best to use our best practices below to address the problem as soon as possible. Remember, only by observing the proper VoIP infrastructure protocols can you guarantee the top quality of calls that will satisfy your customers. The best way to tackle this is by avoiding front-end issues right from the start. Once you choose to be proactive rather than reactive by regularly monitoring your VoIP phone system, you can anticipate most instances of lousy call quality and be ready with a solution when confronted with a problem.
Follow the top of the line techniques we’ve gathered below:
- Adhere to a consistent schedule for reviewing your system periodically, including checking your software, among other elements.
- Configure your router to treat voice data as a priority over other classifications of data.
- Guarantee that your present bandwidth is enough for your VoIP demands.
- Save time and money by preferring equipment and software that are unrestricted, so they easily maintain interconnectivity.
- Stay proactive about recording, reviewing, and tracking real-time calls to grade clarity and latency in your VoIP phone system.
- Request immediate feedback from your call center agents regarding call issues like echoing, jitter, latency, and other types of reduced call quality.
We likewise recommend strategically selecting a VoIP provider. It means asking the pertinent questions regarding call quality, call quality issues, troubleshooting tactics, and comprehensive tools they provide to assist you with continually monitoring calls to stay proactive regarding keeping a high criterion for call quality. You can also narrow down your choices by grading them for their expertise concerning call quality and the level of assistance they can contribute.
Solutions to Your Everyday VoIP Issues
Apart from regularly monitoring your call quality, you must also periodically test how strong your internet connection is. It also pays to review your Internet Service Provider beforehand for any problems that can affect your calls’ quality. You can additionally request your VoIP provider to perform a fast VoIP exam to collect the data you require, including the bandwidth of your system, the presence of jitters and latency, and your current internet speed.
Don’t forget that complex mechanics must work in unison behind the scenes to convert and carry your voice as data from your present location to the location you plan to send it. Therefore, any mistake, even tiny ones, at any step in the process can seriously affect the quality of your call and your customer’s overall experience. You might even be confronted with multiple problems at any time. You cannot overlook the value a comprehensive checkup of your system can contribute to helping you better understand what problems lead to a lower quality call.
Of course, for a more than complete checkup of your VoIP system, begin by asking the following questions:
- Are my router rules correct?
- Is my bandwidth sufficient?
- Are my firewalls configured, so they don’t interfere with my traffic?
- Have I measured my response time and system speed?
- What is the quality of my headsets?
If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask your VoIP service provider for assistance if it’s possible. They will have the in-house expertise and resources beyond your in-house IT personnel, so together, you can more effectively identify and fix problems proactively before they erupt into bigger ones. Unlike going it alone, having the qualified help of VoIP professionals will significantly reduce the time and effort required to find the issues and propose the best recommendations to keep your calls at a consistently high quality throughout.
Proven Methods to Find the Best Quality VoIP Phone System
Finally, when considering the most reliable VoIP phone system for your business, note how ready they will be to help you install and get your network up and running quickly.
To illustrate, what if your VoIP phone system, Best Quality Calls (BQC), suggests installing and configuring a Quality of Service (QoS) tool on your router. With your priority in mind to maintain the highest level of call quality, please expect BQC to explain why QoS, a method as described above that prioritizes your voice data over your other data needs, is required in the first place. Next, please expect them to make all the proper recommendations, such as upgrading your router to ensure its capability. As a result, BQC can significantly help you raise and maintain your VoIP system’s high quality with QoS more efficiently in tangible ways your business can benefit from by managing your data packets. Hence, they travel optimally and without further restrictions.
Imagine the best-case scenario where BQC functions in sync with other software integrations. Imagine having the ability to monitor your call agents and customers in real-time so you can strengthen the experience from the inside out, springing from the call quality and developing to further initiatives to grow brand loyalty.
If you are interested in what other software integrations can advance your quality assurance objectives, be sure to check out the following recommended apps in the Best Quality Calls App Marketplace:
- Agent Evaluation Track – This app will randomly set up calls with your call agents whether your goal is training, inspiration, or testing.
- Floss – Want the simplest way to capture, assess, and leave feedback for your agents? Use this simple, easy to learn app.
- DaVinci – Professionally evaluate agent performance using real-time data and automated assignments across all the relevant channels.
When it comes to customer satisfaction after interacting with your call center agents, VoIP call clarity and stability are critical to your success. By prioritizing the quality of your calls, you are giving your agents the best of breed tools to provide the exceptional experience your customers expect. Communications minus the distractions caused by lack of clarity and latency not only disrupts the conversation, it can frustrate the customer too. On the other hand, elevating and sustaining your VoIP calls’ high quality will ensure you meet their needs sufficiently and speedily. Here, you can depend 100% on Best Quality Calls’ cloud-based phone system and complete collection of software integrations for the highest level of call quality that guarantees the top-notch customer experience and customer satisfaction that are key to genuine brand loyalty.