Posts Tagged ‘VoIP technology’

The Benefits of Computer Telephony Integration in the Call Center

Posted on: September 26th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Exceptional customer service is the backbone to any company, as it paves the way for significant business growth.

Considering the increasing demands of today’s customers, however, providing an exceptional customer experience is no small feat.

Luckily, rapidly advancing technology tools are here to help out. Computer telephony integration, in particular, is a technology that helps call center agents to win the battle for customers. Check out how below!

What is Computer Telephony Integration?

Computer Telephony Integration, or CTI, is a technology that allows computers to interact with telephony systems and forms of digital communication. A CTI system can handle both incoming and outgoing communications such as phone calls, SMS, email, fax and video chat, and route them to the appropriate person or device.

A Cost-Effective Solution

Call centers managers are always on the lookout for cheaper solutions for their call center. And a computer telephony integration system is one tool that allows call centers to help cut their expenses.

A CTI system doesn’t require a PBX and key system telephones, meaning that agents only need their computer in order to be able to work. By adopting a CTI system, you can forget about the costly purchasing, maintaining and replacing of physical hardware solutions.

CTI systems also support remote work: a VoIP system, for example, matches a session to every agent, so agents can use different computers remotely from home, allowing the call center to significantly reduce costs related to office space and IT infrastructure.

As such, computer telephony integration is not only more cost-effective but is also highly flexible, enabling call centers to easily scale up by hiring remote agents when it’s needed.

Improved Agent Productivity

A CTI system allows agents to take and receive calls on their computer with a single click, saving significant time in picking up phones. Agents can also leverage call control functions, including call answer, call hold, hang up call transfer and call mute on a single screen, without having to switch between applications and leave their desks while on the phone.

 Furthermore, good-quality CTI systems come with handy features that enable call centers to improve their productivity. The “interactive voice response” feature, for example, filters customers and route them to the most skilled agent, boosting first call resolution and customer experience. And features such as “click-to-call” allow agents to start a call without having to dial a number.

Last but not least, the fact that a lot of customer information is available even before a call begins (more on this below) means that call duration times can be reduced, as agents do not have to start calls with questions they already have the answers to.

Provides Valuable Customer Information

They say you need to know your customers in order to be able to provide them with outstanding customer experience. It’s no surprise, therefore, that collecting customer data is now crucial for any call center that strives to shine in the long run.

With computer telephony integration, agents can assess all customer information they have from a single platform, making customer interaction far more efficient.

Important customer information such as name, company and previous interactions or purchases can be made available to agents, allowing them to add personalization to customer interactions.

Furthermore, CTI not only helps make your agents’ jobs easier, but also makes your call center supervisors’ job easier as well, as it supports call monitoring, call recording and real-time statistics.

Amongst other things, supervisors can track agents’ performance and even use call monitoring to assist them in real-time if necessary.

Moving forward in our ever-competitive business environment is a major challenge. But if you leverage CTI technology, you’ll be able to take customer excellence in the call center a step further. 

How Much Bandwidth Does VoIP Technology Require?

Posted on: September 20th, 2018 by Tamás Jalsovszky No Comments

The internet has revolutionized how businesses communicate with their customers like nothing before. There’s no doubt that the last 15 years have seen an astonishing explosion regarding internet access.

Indeed, the evolution of the Internet has completely changed our world, giving businesses the opportunity to now use multiple platforms to connect with their customers anytime, anywhere.

Times have definitely changed, and so have available call center technologies. Not so long ago call centers had no choice but to rely on physical telephone lines, but now they can contact customers via the internet using VoIP technology.

And since VoIP technology is cloud-compatible, call centers only need an internet connection in order to leverage it. 

For voice communication via VoIP technology, however, bandwidth requirements are essential, since voice data is a type of data that is much bulkier than conventional text.

In this article, I’ll tell you about how much bandwidth a VoIP call requires. Read on and make sure bandwidth issues are not stopping your call center from sending and receiving high-quality calls!

VoIP technology and Bandwidth – behind the definition

Communication has always been the core activity for any call center. As already mentioned, although call centers relied for a long time on PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network when setting up their telephone lines, today they use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as internet telephony) technology to leverage their internet connection.

VoIP was created to allow businesses to switch from the comparatively expensive PSTN solution when sending and receiving voice calls and multimedia communications over the internet. With the fast evolution of technology, today VoIP technology can be used with voice, video, and text, as well as other types of data.

VoIP technology makes it easier for call centers to set up and expand their operations, so it’s no surprise that more and more companies are transferring their network operations from PSTN to VoIP. Furthermore, as VoIP calls are cloud-compatible, the new technology allows call centers to utilize home-based agents.

Finding the right system for your call center is no easy task. So, if you still have doubts, make sure to check out our article comparing call center technologies.

However, when it comes to transferring network operations to VoIP, the amount of bandwidth businesses need in order to send and receive high-quality calls has very specific requirements.

Before we immerse ourselves in the topic, let’s quickly define what bandwidth is. Bandwidth is the ability to transfer data (such as a VoIP telephone call) from one point to another in a fixed amount of time. The higher bandwidth speed you have, the more data you can transfer.

Bandwidth is measured by checking your download and upload speeds, in other words the rate of information traveling to and from your computer. Whichever of the two numbers is lower is considered your bandwidth.

Bandwidth requirements for VoIP calls

The amount of bandwidth (upload and download capacity) your call center needs per agent for your VoIP calls greatly varies depending on the call center software you’re using.

For example, if you use VCC Live®’s system we recommend on average 100kbps per call placed by agents, both for download and upload speeds. The exact number, however, varies by the codec (coder/decoder) used, but 100kbps is a good rule of thumb.

What is codec? Codec is used to encode audio from an analog signal to a digital signal, so that it can be passed across a data network Bandwidth handles this conversion and enables communications to be carried across applications almost seamlessly.

There’s no doubt that it’s best to turn to your solution provider for advice on your bandwidth requirements. There are a few general rules, however, that you should definitely take into consideration before switching to VoIP technology:  

1, VoIP is full duplex, meaning that it can both receive and send data at the same time. But while the average internet user requires high download speeds for streaming and downloading music and videos, for VoIP you’ll also need to be able to send data at a high rate, so you’ll need to consider the upload speed as your benchmark. Generally speaking, the higher your upload speed, the more reliably consistent the quality of your VoIP phone calls will be.

2, Upload speeds are usually slower than your download speeds, so don’t commit the mistake of calculating bandwidth based on the higher number (which will be your download speed). With reference to the amount of bandwidth for VCC Live®’s system mentioned above, this means that if your download speed is 10Mbps, but your upload speed is only 1Mbps, then your bandwidth will only cover 10 calls and not 100 calls.

3, Bear in mind that for VoIP calls a broadband connection is required. In fact, only a broadband internet connection can provide the minimum bandwidth for quality VoIP calls.

4, Over the last years we’ve become so used to having constant internet connection that it’s easy to fall into the mistake of assuming that a call center has the same requirements as for general internet use. The truth is that, due to the mass telephony and communication activities taking place at call centers, call center internet traffic requirements are considerably more demanding than general office Internet use.

5, In addition, these days most call centers leverage multichannel communication by providing customer service using a number of channels. And don’t forget that other applications, such as Facebook, Twitter or Gmail, use bandwidth as well. Therefore, you’ll need to assess the popularity and peak times of all your channels, as there may be periods of low-quality calls if all of your channels are burdened at the same time. Finally, don’t forget that while emails use very little bandwidth, attachments increase that bandwidth considerably.

6, Always make sure to rely on QoS or “Quality of Service”, which can reserve a proportion of your bandwidth and ensure that you’ll always have enough upload and download capacity to send and receive high-quality calls. While customers are willing to wait for an email to load, they are less tolerant regarding low-quality calls.

7, As we all know, an unexpected power outage can present a nightmare scenario for any business that does not have a backup solution in place. Therefore, consider installing two connections, which can operate in parallel but are also able to work independently in the event of a disaster.

Do the math and see for yourself!

If you’re considering switching to VoIP technology, it’s essential to use a bandwidth speed test to determine if and how many phone lines your connection can handle in order to sustain high-quality voice calls.

Generally speaking, the amount of bandwidth that is needed for VoIP calls depends on how many concurrent calls you’ll be making.

My advice is to always run your VoIP on a high-quality internet connection with at least 100 Kbps upload bandwidth available for each call in progress at the same time.

Using the table below, you can get an overall idea about how much bandwidth you’ll need for your calls.

Number of concurrent calls  Recommended minimum bandwidth
1 100 Kbps
5 500 Kbps
10 1000 Kbps (1 Mbps)
20 2000 Kbps (2 Mbps)

Take away

As VoIP technology solely uses the internet, your call quality depends on the internet service you choose. When switching to VoIP technology, always make sure to run bandwidth speed tests and do not forget about the above-mentioned factors that may influence your bandwidth requirements.