Q&A with Liam Dunne

Tell us briefly about Spearline and your role.

Spearline is a technology company that proactively monitors toll and toll-free numbers for connectivity and audio quality globally.  As well as supporting telecom based organizations, such as contact centers and conferencing companies, we work with other major organizations to ensure their global telecoms infrastructure is performing to the highest standards. Our customers include large enterprises across diverse sectors, such as financial, pharmaceutical, travel and retail multinationals.  They have toll and toll-free numbers in two or more continents.

Spearline mainly assists companies, and individuals within those companies, where contact center operations are centralized.  When telecom issues happen globally, it’s difficult for them to resolve them due to time-zones, language barriers and many more factors.  This is where Spearline comes in as we have a support service 24/7, 365 in 70 countries worldwide. 

My role at Spearline is chief commercial officer (CCO).  I lead sales and enterprise solutions strategies for Spearline and manage our global sales office.  Our team is growing at a rapid pace due to international demand for our product.


How would a multinational company, with thousands of toll and toll-free numbers, know if one of their numbers goes down?

Typically, they do not have a defined process and they rely on customers (research shows only 4% issue a complaint) or people internally to eventually flag it up the food chain if there are issues.  This is a reactive approach that does not provide any data so the company cannot tell which link in the telecoms chain has caused the issue(s).

With Spearline, multinationals can proactively test their phone numbers and we can tell them the root cause as well as CDRs and exact timestamps.  We represent and replicate the customer experience and the call path.


If the multinational organization already has network monitoring/network monitoring situality, where does Spearline come in?

Network monitoring provides full visibility of everything on the SIC network, but outside of that network there’s a blind spot.  When a number is down in-country, customers know about it, but the organization that has the number isn’t aware. When companies don’t treat their numbers as an asset, their customers experience the negative impact of that everyday. 

To overcome this, Spearline educates companies to start looking at their contact numbers/customer facing numbers as an asset. Organizations are spending millions building contact centers and millions monitoring them.  It can all go downhill when there are issues with a number that has a minimal cost per month to rent. It’s logical to monitor these numbers as well. By treating them as an asset, organizations will know how they’re performing, including KPIs in terms of performance and benchmarks.  Spearline helps these organizations to control the flow of information, and we pinpoint the root of the issue so they have the ability to achieve optimum performance on their telecoms infrastructure. We are not a replacement for network monitoring, but rather we work alongside it.


What are the main benefits of Spearline?

Without Spearline, if an organization is experiencing an issue with a number, in order for the company to figure out  where the issue resides, they have to bring all of the teams together. Everybody sits down and they go, “Right, you speak to the carrier, I’ll speak to the IVR, or you see the company who run the call center applications.  And between us all, we’ll meet back here in an hour and we’ll see, is there an issue in either one of those locations”. Or if there’s a big enough number of outages, they would pull all the engineering teams together all across the globe.  This is all regardless of time zones. Everyone is woken out of bed no matter what time of the day and those engineering resources can be quite costly. They’re all sent off in the respective ways to investigate, but it might be only one area that actually has the issue present. 

However, what Spearline does, is we identify where the issue resides.  We give organizations the ability to send the alert to the right team with the right CDRs and the right route calls, so they’re not wasting engineering resources, generating multiple redundant tickets that convolutes the whole place.  Therefore, the cost of dealing with the outages becomes much more minimal than it does traditionally without using a service like Spearline.


What is PESQ and why does Spearline use it?

PESQ stands for perception evaluation of speech quality.  It’s an international telecom union (ITU) standard created by all the carriers.  It gives us the ability to report on call quality using the scientific standard as opposed to a subjective measurement.  That’s key for Spearline because everything that we do is about the objective measurements, about identifying root causes, being 100% absolute in outcomes.  That’s why we use PESQ. The Spearline Platform does the testing; it’s not a human that can make subjective errors. We’re using their own standard to help improve audio quality across the globe.


How is Spearline able to do all of this?

Spearline has a cloud-based platform and fixed line infrastructure, physical servers with PRI lines, in 70 (and growing) countries.  If you’re from a nontechnical background, what that means is that we’ve got a physical phone system located in the UK, in Brazil, in Canada, Mexico and so on.  That phone system is connected to the largest incumbent carrier in each country. We replicate the customer experience by using the largest and common carriers that represent 80% market share e.g. BT in the UK.  Simply put, we’ve got a phone system in each country that allows us to dial those calls locally at source. The reason that’s so important is you can’t dial a toll-free number unless you’re physically located in that country.  You can dial a normal local number along with DID by putting the international prefix in front of it, but that doesn’t replicate the customer call path. The USP Spearline offers is our in-country presence in 70 countries, where we can provide this type of proactive testing of numbers, truly replicating the customer experience.

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