September 20, 2010
VoIP Monitoring: Poor Voice Quality Costing Companies Customers and Billions of Dollars
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Service quality assurance solutions for new IP communications provider, Empirix (News - Alert) Inc., has released the result of a global survey highlighting the hidden costs and consumer impact issues often at the heart of methods of communication organizations deploy to satisfy customers.
The survey was conducted for Empirix by the Customer Experience Foundation (CEF). The results of this study indicate that 79 percent of consumers have experienced poor voice quality, which can drive down sales volumes, increase call lengths and the number of calls that are forced to be redialed. This can result in increased churn rates of both customers and staff.
The overall study included the participation of 3,925 consumers who shared information about their experiences in dealing with contact centers. The high percentage that highlighted poor voice quality as a common problem points to a significant issue within the industry that is costing organizations billions of dollars.
“The word most associated in the study by consumers with poor voice quality was stress, which is not a word organizations want associated with their customers’ experiences,” said Tim Moynihan (News - Alert), vice president of marketing, Enterprise business unit, Empirix, in a statement. “Nearly half of the consumers who commented also felt that poor voice quality was a sign that companies really didn’t value their business—at a time when ensuring customer loyalty is more important than ever in any industry.
“When you analyze the problems with the core issue of poor voice quality, it equates to costing the industry billions of dollars, directly impacting the bottom line of organizations across the globe. Empirix has always been committed to providing enterprise solutions that guarantee the highest possible quality,” added Moynihan.
According to the survey, 42 percent of all call center calls are affected by poor voice quality; 30 percent of consumers who experienced poor voice quality experienced it in more than half of their calls and 68 percent would hang up as a result and call a competitor instead; 26 percent of consumers say they need to redial to complete a transaction; one in six companies use specialist tools to manage voice quality; 72 percent of businesses had frequent voice issues and could not identify root causes; consumers experiencing poor voice quality most often felt stressed; and case studies show consumers often have to repeat themselves as a result of poor quality.
“Consumers are quickly losing patience with companies that suffer from poor voice quality—truth is, it’s a consumer’s market; they have choices in today’s market,” said Professor Morris Pentel, chairman at Customer Experience Foundation. “Consumers are having major issues that they will not tolerate, which has obvious ramifications for businesses.
“Customer and agent churn will increase if they are unable to communicate with each other, not to mention the loss of new business opportunities, such as upsells or new products and offerings. Organizations with a reputation for poor customer service are simply pushing their customers toward their competitors, which impacts market share and the bottom line,” added Pental.
Poor voice quality can be the result of background noise, poor headsets, loose connections, bad home VoIP, the use of Skype (News - Alert), poor transit by carriers and bad mobile phone connections. When poor voice quality within the enterprise is added, the issue becomes a major hotspot for consumers. Without the proper monitoring tools – which most companies do not have – the issue becomes a major problem.
Empirix offers testing and monitoring solutions that are designed to help companies to quickly identify and fix problems before they reach the end-user. With such solutions in place, organizations not only assure voice quality, but also the entire end-to-end customer experience. As a result, customer churn can be reduced and the overall customer service process is streamlined.
Companies cannot stay in business is they push customers to the competition with something as simple as poor voice quality. Monitoring is essential and when selecting customer-facing solutions, a company must stay away from a decision process that focuses on “low cost” and instead move to “high value” to ensure they can deliver the experience consumers expect.
To find out more about Empirix, visit the company at ITEXPO West 2010. To be held Oct. 4 to 6 in Los Angeles, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Gordon Eddy, Director of Enterprise Product Management is speaking during “Is VoIP a Victim of its Own Success? Maintaining Quality in the Wake of VoIP Proliferation.” Don’t wait. Register now.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi