The Value of VoIP Analytics: Giving Tier 1 Support Tier 3 Tools

Author: John Macario, VP Marketing at Edgewater

EWN_Logo_1SEP11Most telcos that talk about Big Data are focused on their benefits for marketing, sales and
customer retention initiatives. Improving customer satisfaction gets a lot of lip service, but many service providers fail to take the most basic step towards that goal – integrating full access to analytics at every point in the customer support organization.

Why is this so important?  When service providers equip their front-line support teams with advanced analytics tuned for rapid troubleshooting, first call resolution rates soar.  No customer wants to wait on hold or be continuously transferred up the support chain to get their problems fixed. By turning your Tier 1 support teams into “techxperts” overnight, your customers will think of you as a highly competent organization able to take care of issues immediately – a perception that quickly leads to higher customer satisfaction rates.

VoIP Analytics in Customer Support

 The main differences between a VoIP analytics tool and a monitoring tool is breadth of vision and speed of results. Monitoring tools can provide both current and trend data on specific aspects of a VoIP service – MOS scores, jitter, latency, etc. While all of this data is valuable, it does require a certain amount of expertise to sift through the data to see where a problem lies.

On the other hand, a VoIP analytics tool offers a powerful “search engine” that lets users quickly cull through the data to find the issues that relate to specific customers and service conditions.  For customer support organizations, the ability to cut through the noise and quickly get to the source of the problem is critical for the kind of rapid resolution that customers want.

Step 1: Understanding the Problem

 When it comes to real-time communications systems, voice and video quality issues are often hard to articulate – typically, customers call support because they are experiencing a continuous series of intermittent issues or a high profile failure occurred (a Board of Directors conference call had so much static that they couldn’t get through the agenda or an important pre-launch video briefing with customers had so much delay that it had to be rescheduled).

Regardless of what prompted the call, the first step for the support team is quantifying the problem.  In companies without analytics, Tier 1 support techs have very little access to empirical data on the customer side.  This means they have to start by asking users to describe the problem and then run a generic remote diagnostic and hope that it fixes whatever may be going on.  If that doesn’t resolve it, the call is typically transferred to the next level of support.

When Tier 1 support techs have access to VoIP analytics, the traditional support process changes radically.  First, they have a powerful dashboard/interface that lets them see critical performance metrics – MOS, jitter and latency – in both the customer and service provide environment.  Now they can quickly determine whose systems in causing the problem – an important first step towards resolution.  If the problem is on the customer side, they can drill into client applications (PBX, conferencing systems, etc.) to see which element is having an issue. By investigating QoS metrics, they can understand problems stemming from lack of network resources. If the problem is on the service provider side, they can quickly scan for unacceptable performance KPI levels and drill into the results to see which network element is causing the failure.

Because all the network data is collected in a single repository and the manipulation of it is so fast, Tier 1 support techs can quickly diagnose even the most complex issues in a few clicks.

Step 2: Resolving the Problem

 With root cause intelligence, Tier 1 support techs can provide customers with concrete answers for resolving their problems.  If the issue does reside in the service provider environment, they can quickly open a trouble ticket and tell the next person in the support chain exactly what needs to be fixed (switch 301 is failing, etc.).

Making “techxperts” out of your front line support teams is the fastest way to reduce mean time to understanding and mean time to repair.  While those stats are important for optimizing internal operations, they do translate to higher customer satisfaction over the long run.  By empowering Tier 1 support techs, you can transform your customer support processes and create a more efficient, resolution-focused team.

Are you looking to boost first call resolution rates?  What tools do you consider essential to the process?  Let us know in the space below.

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