Friday, November 18, 2011

The True Customer Experience of a Voice Service

Customers perceive the quality of a voice service and the reliability of a voice service based on many different experiences. Such experiences may be good or bad, but very often customers notice only the bad experience – obviously as they buy a service that is meant to work 100% at any time and from anywhere.

Bad experiences are often caused by network related problems:

• Calls with degraded voice quality
• Interrupted or Dropped calls or VoIP Dropped calls
• Unsuccessful call attempts
• Missed calls that did not ring or calls that were not signaled

Also end device related problems bring negative user experience:

• Empty battery on smartphone
• End device & VoIP Endpoint crashes
• Inability to setup 3 party conference call

For all voice operators, over-the-top (OTT) and legacy networks, these end-device related troubles are very important. Because in the end the customer does not care at all why something is not working! He will blame it on his voice service provider anyway.

As a result when considering the management of customer experience in next generation voice networks, it is very important to look beyond your own network infrastructure. Internet connections, utilization and network problems on the customers’ corporate LAN and end devices cause a large portion of the problems. So it would definitively not be a good idea to consider a service running well, simply because in one’s own network, all systems are up and running.

Instead operators also need to manage:

• End device & VoIP Endpoint firmware versions
• App/softphone software versions
• IP link quality characteristics
• Performance and problems at your Customers’ premises
• Error logs from the end device

Very often problems can be solved by optimizing configurations, codec settings, centralized firmware updates or pro-actively contacting the customer about up-coming problems with his device or software. So a tool is needed that see the endpoint or VoIP device as well as the network. But for all of that, a customer experience management system must provide the full set of information about how the customer truly perceives the service End-to-End.

When looking at customer experience management for VoIP networks, operators should choose a holistic approach and carefully select software solutions that are designed to look far beyond the usual scope and take care about the most important stakeholder in this game – the customer.

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