Enterprises migrating contact centers to the cloud are often turning to WebRTC interface for agent communications, rather than using legacy SIP-based stacks to access their Cloud Contact Centre (CCaaS).
However with this migration there can be new network performance problems, software faults and human errors which can impair WebRTC call quality.
Customer experience and call quality
Where end-customers are communicating with a contact center agents using a cloud-based platform, such as Amazon Connect, Twilio Flex or Genesys PureCloud, the customer leg of the conversation occurs over the PSTN, Mobile or OTT and the agent leg of the conversation occurs over the public internet using a WebRTC protocol model. In between these two points lies a complex ecosystem of networks, infrastructure and software.
Many contact center support teams are charged with ensuring a good quality of experience for the voice communications sessions between agent and customer. They need visibility into the WebRTC leg of the call to measure quality and identify issues. Audio quality for the WebRTC leg of the conversation can suffer for a variety of reasons, including:
- Performance problems in the underlying IP networks, i.e. the agent’s end-to-end connection through the networks such as public internet to the CCaaS platform. These can occur at any point in the network from the CCaaS vendor to the customer site, including switches, routers,
- Software errors in the WebRTC stack running in the agent’s browser, such as problems associated with signaling, media engines or encoding/decoding etc.
- Hardware being used at any point in the chain. E.g. Routers, Switches, Headsets, Hard phones.
- Human errors, such as contact center agent configuration mistakes, user error.
Each of these links in the chain is a source of potentially poor customer experience.
Network performance issues
Even though WebRTC features advanced technologies that enable it to overcome many problems and deliver excellent user experiences, subpar networks can still cause call quality impairments because the network’s performance can vary widely.
The consumer network service used by a work-at-home agent may differ significantly from the commercial service that connects a brick-and-mortar contact center. Consumer services can suffer from in-home network congestion, mobile coverage issues, poor Wi-Fi coverage, bandwidth throttling and traffic shaping. Service can vary widely by location based on infrastructure quality.
A poorly performing network can introduce gaps into the conversation, cause garbled or robotic-sounding speech, and generally degrade voice quality.
Agents who work outside the confines of the corporate contact center are far more likely to experience excessive delay, jitter or packet loss than on-prem agents connected directly to the enterprise network. Consumer ISP connections are far less predictable and reliable than their enterprise counterparts.
Remote agents use Operata to evaluate network conditions before engaging a customer. This intuitive, browser-based tool lets agents quickly assess network performance before placing or accepting a call.
Human and configuration issues
Configuration and human error can also lead to dropped calls and garbled communications. Examples include:
- Unintentionally closing a browser tab and thus aborting a call.
- Incorrectly configuring browser permissions and accidentally disabling media.
- Misconfiguring application settings and selecting an inappropriate microphone or speaker.
- Accidentally connecting to a poorly performing network, e.g. 3G mobile instead of Wi-Fi.
- Running too many resource-intensive apps on a PC, degrading system performance and call quality.