In recent years, an intriguing trend has emerged within the business world, with companies increasingly embracing Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) at an unprecedented rate. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global Contact Center as a Service Market will reach $15.07 billion by 2029, with a CAGR of 17.5%.
CCaaS, a cloud-based service that enables organizations to outsource their contact center operations to third-party service providers, has swiftly become a game-changer in customer service management. This shift in preference can be attributed to the numerous advantages and benefits that CCaaS brings to the table. From enhanced flexibility and scalability to cost-efficiency and advanced analytics, CCaaS empowers businesses to streamline their customer interactions, optimize agent productivity, and ultimately deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Another report by Allied Market Research predicts that the global CCaaS industry pegged at $4.3 billion in 2021, is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 16.8% from 2022 to 2031.
While these growth predictions are, no doubt, great news for CCaaS providers, it is critical that they understand that call quality is key to business longevity and success. Losing clients becomes a real risk without having the right tools to attain and maintain the mandatory call quality level.
In this article, I will discuss the critical role of voice monitoring in the success of CCaaS providers, introduce the consequences of not utilizing the right tools and provide some practical tips.
The Voice of Success: Unlocking the Benefits of Voice Monitoring for CCaaS Providers
A CCaaS platform provider lives and breathes the challenging need to balance competing objectives: keeping costs in check while improving the service delivered to customers and agents. Surely, moving to the cloud is key to lowering infrastructure costs, but reliable and accurate data is mandatory to verify that the service availability and user experience provided indeed match user expectations.
Let me be blunt for a moment – no business should be lost due to bad voice quality. That means that service and network performance data needs to be actionable, to ensure efficient operations, reduce the impact of any issue, and ultimately lower the cost of service management. Luckily, this data can be provided by voice monitoring solutions, specifically the ones that cover all aspects of voice monitoring, including availability, call management, and in-call quality.
These tools provide accurate data on any standards-based voice service, including call center services. This data enables efficient operations based on deep SIP and RTP traffic analysis and even auto-detection of impairments such as dropped and silent calls. They support performance optimization through data aggregation for routes and destinations, enabling trending, alarming, and benchmarking. And they, therefore, allow providers of CCaaS services to offer transparency by delivering simple user experience KPIs to attract and retain customers.
Let’s take a closer look at what the right voice service monitoring tool can do for you, as a CCaaS provider:
- Accurate data – get reliable and accurate data on all live calls with rich signaling information and high temporal detail on in-call user experience.
- Operational efficiency – have the ability to mitigate any issues, increase operational efficiency, and reduce costs through assisted root cause analysis, significantly shortening time-to-fix.
- Control over service performance – monitor service and network performance in the cloud, for routes, destinations, VIP groups, and other relevant entities.
- Control over cost – with very selected tools, you can quickly adapt monitoring performance in the cloud to changing traffic volumes, enabling you a true pay-as-you-grow model.
Not All Voice Monitoring Tools Were Created Equal
There are many voice monitoring tools available today, from open-source to commercial solutions.
Let me start with open-source tools. As you would expect from any other open-source project, their code is freely available to anyone to inspect, modify, and redistribute. This makes it a very transparent and auditable solution. Some of them are robust and scalable systems that can handle large amounts of data. They were designed to be used in production environments. They also offer a wide range of features, including packet capture, event monitoring, and reporting.
From the very nature of being open-source tools, they typically have a large and active community of users and developers, which can offer support, at a certain level, when needed.
But you know how the saying goes, don’t you? There’s no such thing as a free lunch. You can definitely try these free open-source tools, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Setting up, configuring, and maintaining most of these open-source tools often require a certain level of technical expertise. Administrators and users should have good knowledge of networking protocols and Linux as well as DevOps skills to effectively utilize and troubleshoot the tool.
- As with any new tool, there is a learning curve for users who are unfamiliar with its architecture or customization options. Open-source tools often lack substantial documentation and training courses (if available at all) to familiarize with the system typically incur unforeseen costs.
- While they have an active open-source community, the level of support may vary compared to commercial monitoring tools. Organizations relying heavily on support for critical issues may find the community-driven support model less appealing.
- Open-source tools may lack certain enterprise-grade features that are commonly found in commercial carrier-grade monitoring solutions. These features could include advanced reporting, advanced analytics, and comprehensive management interfaces. Organizations with specific enterprise requirements may need to evaluate whether these tools meet their needs.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are commercial solutions, like Qrystal, that are carrier-grade and vendor-agnostic. Qrystal analyzes all call-related traffic, automatically checks for impairments, isolates root causes, and aggregates the data to create accurate statistics on relevant business entities. This enables providers of CCaaS platforms to maintain full control over the user experience of customers and agents while benefiting from the flexibility and elasticity of the cloud.
Moreover, Qrystal enables operational efficiency while ensuring that call quality meets customer expectations. This is done through leveraging unique, dual-visibility into both the control and media plane KPIs. Dual-visibility entails the combination of monitoring both SIP signaling to control connectivity, and monitoring RTP media in detail, to control in-call user experience. This combination provides superior insights into the real user experience unmatched by other solutions
Data-driven insights, reporting capabilities and a highly scalable system architecture are combined, making it an essential tool for any CCaaS platform provider.
A Case in Point
PhoneBurner is an AWS-based power dialer and outreach solution that helps agents maximize quality conversations while minimizing time-consuming tasks and workflows. Following some architecture changes, agents started to complain. For a couple of weeks, PhoneBurner handled customer complaints mainly about:
- Customers couldn’t hear the client’s employees due to one-sided calls
- Dropped calls after a few minutes for no apparent reason
To understand these call-quality issues, PhoneBurner used freely available tools such as Homer and Wireshark. It was difficult for the company to assess call quality or link it to specific network problems, as these tools offered limited visibility into the media plane or RTP stream. In addition, the tools were also not able to group and aggregate signaling and media data in a meaningful way.
It was fortunate that PhoneBurner is a cloud-based platform and was able to update its processes in order to resume operations. It did, however, have to replace its main interconnection partner. Service disruptions and frustrated customers resulted from these issues
Only when PhoneBurner adopted a carrier-grade monitoring tool that offered visibility into both the signaling and media planes, problems on the network could be intuitively monitored and resolved. One-sided and dropped calls were caused by issues isolated by PhoneBurner’s engineering team and resolved for customers.
What is it that we can all learn from the PhoneBurner case?
- It shows that while open-source tools might have some advantages, in this specific case PhoneBurner was not able to get relevant data out of them.
- It illustrates the serious consequences of lacking visibility on business outcomes.
Above all lessons learned from this case, I think the most important one we should all remember is the business impact of poor voice quality on CCaaS providers and their customers. The incident for Phoneburner has been near-catastrophic. There can never be enough emphasis placed on the importance of good voice quality.
In such a case, the goal should be to minimize the impact and return to normal as soon as possible when affected. By using the cloud, services can be scaled and adapted in real-time without the limitations of legacy infrastructure. In order to reap the benefits of the cloud without sacrificing visibility, CCaaS platform providers need advanced tools and services. Tools that give complete visibility over the network and cloud, helping to maintain call quality and provide a better customer experience.
Selecting the Right Voice Monitoring Solution for You
Now I get to the practical tips I promised at the beginning of the article. If you have reached this far, hopefully, you now have a better idea of how crucial voice monitoring is to the success of CCaaS providers, and what the consequences of not utilizing voice monitoring tools can be.
What’s next? You want to explore what tools are out there and which one is the best fit for your specific needs.
There are 6 important questions to ask in this process:
- Does the solution offer visibility for both SIP and RTP data?
- Does the solution offer truly actionable insights?
- How does the solution correlate all measurements of a call?
- How can you slice and dice the data?
- Can the solution perform on-demand packet recording?
- What service quality metrics and KPIs does the solution provide?
The best voice monitoring solutions will provide dual visibility for both SIP and RTP data, correlate all measurements of a call, and offer flexible reporting options. They will also provide a range of service quality metrics and KPIs, including real-time call quality metrics. On top, you will get training and support as part of the package.
Additionally, you need to make sure voice monitoring services are compatible with your existing operations. This includes:
- Cost transparency (as in no hidden costs)
- Support for different deployments (i.e., cloud, hybrid)
- Integration with third-party systems
By asking these six questions, CCaaS platform providers can ensure that they choose the right voice monitoring solution to meet their needs and improve their services by taking full control of call quality.
Final Words: Join the Growth Trend and Make Sure You Don’t Lose Any Deals
It is obvious that call quality plays a crucial role in the success of CCaaS providers. The growth of the CCaaS market underscores the importance of understanding the impact of inadequate call quality on client retention and the bottom line.
Voice monitoring tools offer valuable benefits such as accurate data, operational efficiency, control over service performance and costs, and enhanced user experience. Providers must carefully choose the right voice monitoring solution and insist on a solution that provides visibility into both SIP and RTP data, actionable insights, data correlation, flexible reporting, and scalability. Commercial tools that provide all of this may appear costly at first, but they will pay off with the first major incident – 100% guaranteed.
By prioritizing call quality and leveraging advanced monitoring tools, CCaaS providers can ensure customer satisfaction, improve service quality, and achieve long-term success in this competitive business landscape.