Are you accurately testing your communications network?

Discover why your business needs to utilize number testing to monitor and manage your external communications network.
On Thursday 10 June 2021 by Lorraine Kelleher

Most organizations understand the importance of having numbers where their customers can reach them to discuss issues, raise questions, or receive additional information on products and services available to them. Businesses understand the value of such numbers in providing an omnichannel offering, improving customer experience, and enhancing brand reputation and loyalty. However, crucially few companies are actively monitoring their number performance through proactive measures.

Many utilize network monitoring to receive essential statistics such as downtime and internal network performance. Unfortunately, this type of monitoring leaves you with significant blind spots. With no testing occurring on the external network, your organization may be largely unaware of how your customers are experiencing number performance and you may not be aware that numbers are experiencing downtime until significant time has elapsed. You may not know of the problem, but customers, on the other hand, are left feeling frustrated, and eventually take their custom elsewhere.

Usually, calls originated in an international country transit across multiple hops and from one carrier to the next. Calls may be routed through a significant number of countries before they reach their destination and endpoint. Network monitoring does not identify issues which occur on the majority of such call paths.

To truly measure the performance of your numbers and their audio quality, in the same way that your customer experiences it, the full path of the call needs to be tested, from end to end. To do this, you need to test your contact number from the same country and lines that your customers would use. This allows you to accurately measure the call’s audio quality and the real experience of your customer.

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Audio quality and codecs

At a foundational level, your phone lines need to provide your agents and customers with a strong level of audio quality that allows conversations to be conducted efficiently. Poor audio quality will not only impact on the experience of your customers, but also on the productivity of your agents, leading to higher handling times and lower first call resolution.

Typically, businesses recognize the importance of providing their customers with the best possible service and often pay their telecommunications providers for the highest quality lines in order to ensure this occurs. However, it is not always the case.

Carriers have the ability to transcode audio quality from excellent quality codecs such as G711 to lower quality codecs, such as G729 or even GSM. This could occur consistently without the knowledge of the business who is paying for service. It may also occur on an intermittent basis when the carrier needs to conserve bandwidth during peak traffic periods. Unfortunately, without external monitoring, the business often lacks awareness. It can also be hard to prove issues and address them with suppliers even when there are strong suspicions that such practices are occurring.

 

The Spearline solution

Spearline tests will determine where problems occur and help organizations to fix the issues as quickly as possible. This ensures that issue resolution occurs before poor-quality lines negatively impact customers.

Spearline uses the industry-recognized standard PESQ (Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality) to measure the audio quality of calls. Spearline’s testing also takes into account other parameters such as noise on the line, audio clipping, and variable delays. The audio quality score is then benchmarked against an extensive database of test calls in over 70 countries worldwide. This helps to give businesses an accurate reflection of the interactions their customers experience on their lines on a daily or even hourly basis. 

A recording is also made of each test call so that engineers and operations teams can listen back and better understand the problem. Each test call comes complete with the relevant call detail records so that tickets can be raised with carriers and root cause analysis can occur.

 

Conclusion

While internal network monitoring does have advantages for your business, it can leave you with large blindspots where significant customer-impacting problems can occur. This lack of awareness means that huge volumes of customers can have negative experiences before the issue is identified and resolved.

With Spearline’s proactive monitoring and testing tools, your organization can identify issues before they impact your customer, preventing negative outcomes like customer churn, high agent attrition, and potential loss in revenue. The Spearline tests will determine precisely what the problem is, helping you to fix the issue promptly.

Hear how audio quality degrades in our blog 'Understanding PESQ' here.

 

Find out more about Spearline

If you are new to Spearline and would like to find out more about how you can benefit from the platform, we would love to speak with you. Please send us a brief message, and we will be in contact with you shortly.

Spearline's platform proactively tests inbound telecommunications services, as well as dial-out. Connectivity and audio quality are monitored on fixed-line, SIP, or mobile networks, globally. Spearline enables organizations to provide uninterrupted services to customers around the world. For further information, or if you have any further questions please get in touch with us.

 

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