There are many factors that affect voice quality. There are complex software, hardware, networks, and resources that make up an IVR and phone (often VoIP) environment. Customers are increasingly on mobile phones that are affected by cellular networks. In addition, a high volume of calls could diminish voice quality. Testing voice is a challenge for contact centers as there are a wide range of variables that affect voice quality.
- Codec incompatibility, the software that allows us to efficiently move voice traffic by compressing and decompressing the voice signal
- Excessive transfers which may result in a loss of volume with each transfer
- The caller’s voice network provider — the most obvious example is a poor cell signal based on location
- Bandwidth constraints which can result in packet loss leading to jitter (voice signal breaking up), echoing, low volume, and other conditions that make it difficult for the customer and the agent to communicate effectively
- Hardware issues such as headset or softphone incompatibilities
Voice Quality Testing Approaches
With such complex contact center environments, companies need ways to voice test and locate sources of voice quality issues. Voice quality testing should be run at every stage of the development lifecycle, including functional and, regression testing during development, load testing before deployment, and monitoring in production. Load testing is particularly important to ensure that quality does not diminish during high call volumes. Equally important is monitoring for voice quality on an ongoing basis.
Solutions are needed to support new test approaches: testing from the customer’s perspective, and; testing end-to-end in both directions (bi-directionally), including to the agent handset. Here are the approaches.