Did You Say Millions or Billions? The Impact Poor Voice Quality Can Have On Your Contact Center Bottom Line


Did you know that, in large contact centers, as many as 30% of all calls can have voice quality issues? And that figure was from a study before COVID-19 and the fast, forced mass transition of agents moving to at-home operations that happened as a result. Can you imagine what those numbers look like now?

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How Much Does Voice Quality Really Matter?

Regardless of the pandemic, what impact does poor voice quality have on your business? Even if customers must repeat themselves a few times, with cell phone technology these days, aren’t we used to poor quality connections anyway?

The reality is that poor voice quality can have a huge impact on many of the metrics you use to measure the success of your contact center and, ultimately, your bottom line. Those issues can start even before your callers reach an agent. Poor voice quality in the IVR can cause issues with speech recognition, frustrating callers, and causing them to drop out of the IVR and request a live person. When that happens, frequently the caller will end up getting routed to the wrong group of agents, which will necessitate another transfer… and we all know how much callers love to be transferred.

In survey after survey, customers indicate that poor voice quality negatively impacts how they view their calling experience. That negative impact can show up in lower CSAT or NPS scores. If the voice quality on a particular call is bad enough, it could result in the caller hanging up and dialing back in. And when it takes multiple calls into your contact center to resolve a single issue, there goes your CX budget and reputation.

AHT Graph

Studies have also shown that poor voice quality increases average handle time (AHT) for calls. Research conducted by McIntosh Associates found that poor voice quality caused a 27% average AHT increase of calls into the contact center. Their study then correlated those increases in talk time to a significant negative impact on NPS scores from those callers. Despite this compelling correlation between higher AHT and lower NPS, Forrester’s Predictions 2020 report shows that AHT has been steadily increasing.

Let’s look at some math to put all these numbers in context. Let’s say that your contact center receives 200,000 calls per day and that 30% experience voice quality issues. If poor voice quality causes a 27% increase in AHT then, even conservatively, those issues could cost you over 800 hours in agent time per day. If we use a fully costed agent rate of $35 per hour, then poor voice quality could be costing you $28,000 per day, and more than $6,000,000 in lost labor every year.

Poor voice quality could be costing you $28,000 per day, and more than $6,000,000 in lost labor every year.

Those numbers represent just the agent labor costs and don’t even take into account repeat callers or the financial impacts on CSAT and NPS scores.

And if those numbers weren’t enough to convince you of how deeply poor voice quality can cut into your bottom line, then check this out. The momentum toward moving to cloud-based contact centers, accelerated by the pandemic, has put the spotlight on this issue and intensified the wattage.

Before, when you managed your contact center infrastructure yourself, you had developed the skills and tools needed to address any problem that occurred. Now, if you have moved your contact center operations to the cloud, you must hand over the control of voice quality and other issues to a third party. Will they be able to respond to issues as quickly as your own staff, or will you have to prepare for a finger-pointing party?

The Answer to Solving Voice Quality Issues

Unfortunately, there is a myriad of contributing factors that can cause bad voice quality, so there is no single solution. Instead, the key to minimizing the budget and business impact it can have is to continuously monitor agent-to-customer interactions so you can be the first to know about things like jitter, packet loss, dropped calls, volume issues, and bad connections. This allows you to troubleshoot with the agents affected or, for more complicated issues, call in tech support and arm them with the call data necessary to determine root-cause and resolve the problem.

At Cyara, we can help you test your contact center's voice quality from both the caller’s and agent’s perspectives. Cyara has the solutions and the expertise to help you test customer journeys built within your contact center platform before you put them into production. Then, once live, Cyara will continually monitor those systems. And, for real-time, live call data, Cyara offers you a solution that provides visibility of remote-based agent environments, measuring things like headset, mic, CPU and memory, browser configuration, jitter, packet loss, and voice quality. With this data automatically captured, aggregated, and shared with agents, contact center supervisors / managers, and the IT teams that support your contact center, Cyara facilitates faster root-cause analysis and drastically reduces troubleshooting and mean-time-to-repair so you can improve agent productivity, lower IT effort, and improve the quality of your customer experiences.