Voice quality: The unsung hero of agent experience

Last week, I needed to call my favorite airline about my booking. After two hours of listening to the same music on loop in the background (who decided that was a good idea?), I finally got through to an agent.

“Sorry, what did you say?” 

“Could you please repeat that?”

“I’m sorry, I really didn’t understand what you said.”

Those were among the first things that I said to him. He just wanted to know who I was.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could hear each other, and the network just worked?

Focusing on the agent experience

Customer experience (CX) has long been a focus area for companies.

And recently, this focus has expanded to include the agent experience. Contact center agent tools, internal workflows, and employee well-being have become the long-deserved center of attention.

As a customer, I rarely call contact centers, so issues like poor network quality aren’t as frustrating—but what about the agents that spend their entire day on the phone?

For your contact center, poor network quality leads to dropped calls, unresolved cases, and longer resolution times. In short, this contributes to agent fatigue and burnout, frustration and inefficiency, and negative agent and customer experiences.

The carrier’s new role in your contact center

When you’re selecting your new cloud contact center, you have so much to think about: Interactive Voice Response (IVR), automatic call distribution, computer telephony integration (CTI), call recording, reporting and analytics, dialer, workforce optimization, customer collation, and beyond.

Paired with the convergence of Unified Communications (UC) with your Contact Center (CC), connecting your internal-facing workforce with your customer-facing agents is complicated (to say the least).

Voice seems like such a small part of your contact center functionality. And let’s face it, nobody will thank you for providing great call quality. As long as it works, it’s taken for granted. But when it doesn’t, your customers and agents will notice.

Removing friction can create delightful experiences

Poor voice quality can lead to a lot of friction.

Your voice provider may be a small part of your contact center ecosystem, but it’s incredibly important to your overall contact center experience. Calls can be resolved faster and more efficiently if both parties can connect with (and hear) each other.

So how can you achieve a high-quality voice network? 

If you are selecting one of the leading CCaaS platforms as your voice-services provider, then you’re probably safe! How do we know? Because they aggregate network services across the world’s most trusted carriers.

But if you’re going down the Bring Your Own Carrier route for its added migration control, cloud innovation, or flexibility, then you need to choose your carrier (or carriers) carefully.

What to look for in a contact center voice provider

Here are some qualities of a carrier that can help you deliver the agent and customer experiences you want:

  1. Cloud-based 

Should you go with a Traditional or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) carrier? As long as you have a strong internet connection, VoIP calls offer more flexibility, scale, and lower costs for businesses. And, amidst the ISDN shutdown, VoIP can offer a future-proof communications solution.

  1. One-hop PSTN access

Some carriers are simply network aggregators, while others own and manage the infrastructure you’re using. If you value transparency, quicker time to resolution, and a direct line to support, look for a carrier that’s in control of the call flow end-to-end. Fewer network handovers and shorter routes typically lead to better-sounding calls.

  1. Infrastructure innovation

Look for a voice provider that has BYOC integration and third-party integrations with mission-critical contact center tools. Solutions like voice authentication and IVR can be hard to migrate to the cloud or fit into a hybrid environment.

Also, think about business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)—what if a natural disaster hits? Does the network have inbuilt resilience, so that calls still come through?

  1. Transparency

Is your voice provider transparent about quality, and do they hold themselves accountable to SLAs? Do you have insights into call completion rates, so you can follow up on the reasons for failed or dropped calls? Look for reports on commonly used quality metrics, such as Jitter, Latency, Packet Loss, and MOS.

  1. Composability

If you’re looking to create a winning CX, it’s important to fill your ecosystem with innovative providers. Building a best-in-class contact center requires a voice network that can weave everything together.

For example, voice authentication and artificial intelligence in your IVR require a network that has control over the whole call flow, so it can pass the call metadata to your solution providers of choice.

Don’t let your voice provider impact CX

Good audio on your toll-free network contributes to both agent and customer satisfaction. Don’t settle until your toll-free provider offers high call quality, a 99.999% core network uptime, and more reliable service.

The Bandwidth way

Your carrier plays a vital role in the contact center experience. High call quality directly correlates with more effective agents and more satisfied customers.

At Bandwidth, we have taken a radically different approach to our Toll-Free network, to ensure quality and uptime, we have technology that convinces with 5x redundant toll-free service; in addition, we offer Insights & Analytics tools, integrations with other platforms, and an awesome support team.