Want to see something magic? Ok, let’s start with a little word association: cloud, calls, 2020, remote working, quality, customers… Read the words, focus on each one in turn, really let them sink in. Now as you stare into your screen, I’m going to read your mind and tell you what you’re thinking!
I’m pretty sure it goes like this: The cloud’s been great for getting everyone up and running from home, but suddenly call quality’s taken a hit. I don’t hear about the problems until my customers or end users complain. It’s a painful, protracted process to find the root cause of their issues, involving several different systems. I have no idea how much value my cloud communications really provide. I wish it were easier to manage my providers. I wish I had more visibility. What shall I have for dinner?
Woah, impressive, right? Am I clairvoyant? Actually no. It’s just a story I’ve heard from a lot of different businesses this year, all scrambling to deal with the same set of challenges. Challenges they might not have expected before moving to the cloud.
These same pains – lack of visibility into voice quality, difficulty calculating ROI from comms spend and the sheer amount of time lost to managing your carriers – are things we’ve heard from our customers. And they’re the exact issues we’ve solved with the launch of Voxbone Insights.
PSA: Why You Really, Really Need to Look at Call Quality
Before I delve into Voxbone Insights, here’s a quick Public Service Announcement for anyone getting ready to click away. In 2020, call quality is something you absolutely need to think about if you’re not already.
As the industry for business voice services has grown more complex, with many overlapping offerings across UCaaS, CCaaS, CPaaS and any other acronym you care to mention, the ability of these various competing services, tools and platforms to positively impact the customer experience you provide has become arguably the defining differentiator.
Another point worth mentioning is that the global COVID-19 pandemic massively accelerated the transition to the cloud for countless companies. Cloud-native communications solutions bring myriad benefits to the table, including the ability to go global in the blink of an eye and slash operating costs in half. But they also bring new, different challenges.
One is call quality, which is easy to take for granted if you’re used to legacy voice services. With cloud communications, voice can get choppy. Not just because of the quality of your provider’s underlying network architecture and service delivery mechanisms, although these things do play a role, but because of the way that most companies tend to route calls between themselves and their providers.
We go into a lot more detail in this guide. Suffice to say that if you connect with your cloud voice provider via a public data connection, namely the internet, then you’re going to run into issues due to contention, congestion and unpredictable routing. The internet’s great for many things (and awful for others), but one thing it’s not so great at is real-time communications.
It’s why we built our own private global VoIP infrastructure to carry calls in and out of the PSTN in 60+ countries. And connecting to our network with a secure, private connection just makes the experience that much better.
So voice quality is crucial and many companies aren’t set up to measure it because it’s not something they’ve needed in the past. OK, now onto the good stuff…
End-to-End Call Performance Metrics
Voxbone Insights is our new call quality and performance platform. It provides our customers with full real-time visibility into all their calls in and out of the Voxbone network. At its heart is Metrics, a collection of Call Detail Records (CDRs) for all inbound and outbound Voxbone calls that have been enriched with granular quality metrics including mean opinion score (MOS), round trip time (RTT), jitter and packet loss, as well as a holistic rating for each call, call status, duration and billing data.
These CDRs are available in real-time, within seconds of a call completing, so we’re talking immediate actionable intelligence that you can filter and export as needed, or build into automated flows via our improved CDR API. Think, for example, about the build real-time dynamic routing logic based on Insights call quality metrics and you’re starting to see the power that this gives you. Billing reconciliation is another use case you can now potentially automate away.
However, the real magic is that these metrics cover the whole call journey. You have the ability to drill into the numbers and understand how calls perform 1) during the ‘carrier leg’, as they pass through our network and any upstream providers; and 2) during the ‘customer leg’, as they cross the distance between our network and yours.
That’s a lot of actionable intelligence to help you rapidly isolate issues for quicker troubleshooting and more immediate problem resolution. And because we’re Voxbone, we’ve done all the hard work of ensuring that we store this CDR data is compliant with local data privacy laws such as GDPR – so you can offload that regulatory burden and just access the metrics you need, when you need, via our platform.
If you’re a Voxbone customer already, you can use Insights immediately. It’s available now within our platform and Metrics is free on your 500 most recent CDRs, with subscriptions available for longer retention periods if you need quality data on more CDRs.
Monitoring & Alerts
Having all this data is great, but we decided to take things a step further by building additional tools and features to let you consume the data from Metrics in a more proactive manner.
Monitoring and Alerts are the end result.
Monitoring lets you visualize your moment-to-moment channel utilization in real-time so you can quickly see when your call capacity is not being used efficiently and smartly reallocate channels in order to avoid dropped calls or wasted capacity.
This is also a great way to further demonstrate the value that Voxbone brings to your communications by ensuring you get the absolute most from your monthly spend.
Alerts lets you do precisely what it says on the tin… giving you the power to create fully custom real-time alerts in the channel of your choosing, based on configurable thresholds for any of the data presented in Metrics and Monitoring.
Access to Monitoring and Alerts is via additional monthly subscriptions.
Taken as a whole package, Metrics, Monitoring & Alerts give you the tools required to get the full picture on the performance of your calls. Because we believe in the quality of our services, we’ve made sure this real-time data is at your disposal with the ability to dive into call journey stages so you can see when an issue is on our end and when it’s caused by something else. In other words, we’re saying ‘Hold us to Account!’.
With Insights, we are able to demonstrate the underlying quality of Voxbone’s services and really do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of monitoring call quality performance. Finally, you can do away with expensive third-party solutions that only give you half the picture half a day later, or labour-intensive proprietary setups that require major capital investment and ongoing maintenance to give you the same visibility. Instead you get just the data you need, in easy-to-use formats, straight from the cloud.
Voxbone Insights lets you reduce the operational overhead of managing your carriers, speed up troubleshooting and give you greater understanding into how your calls perform.