79 Percent of Consumers Have Experienced Poor Voice Quality with Call Centers Costing Organizations Billions Globally, Study Reveals

Empirix, the market leader of service quality assurance solutions for new IP communications, today announced it commissioned a global survey that highlights the hidden costs and consumer impact of issues that are at the heart of how an organization communicates and satisfies their customers. According to a recent survey undertaken by the Customer Experience Foundation (CEF) on behalf of Empirix Inc., 79 percent of consumers have experienced poor voice quality. The study asked 3,925 consumers about their experiences in dealing with contact centers and identified technology related trends and common problems that are affecting customer service and costing organizations around the world billions of dollars.

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The high percentage of global consumers that highlighted poor voice quality as a common problem points to a real issue in the industry. The study also revealed that poor voice quality drives down sales volumes, increases call lengths and the number of calls that are forced to be redialed. As a result, churn rates can increase for both customers and staff. The magnitude of the problem is indicative of how much businesses are struggling to come to terms with this issue, while consumers are quickly losing patience.

“The word most associated in the study by consumers with poor voice quality was stress, which is not a word organizations want associated with their customers’ experiences,” said Tim Moynihan, vice president of marketing, Enterprise business unit, Empirix. “Nearly half of the consumers who commented also felt that poor voice quality was a sign that companies really didn’t value their business—at a time when ensuring customer loyalty is more important than ever in any industry. When you analyze the problems with the core issue of poor voice quality, it equates to costing the industry billions of dollars, directly impacting the bottom line of organizations across the globe. Empirix has always been committed to providing enterprise solutions that guarantee the highest possible quality.”

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Other key survey findings

  • Consumers say that 42% of all call center calls are impacted by poor voice quality.
  • 30% of consumers who experienced poor voice quality said it happened in more than half of their calls, with 68 percent of those saying they would usually hang up as a result, and if they were calling about a new product or service, they would call a competing company instead.
  • 26%of consumers say they need to redial to complete a transaction.
  • Only 1 in 6 companies said they used specialist tools to manage voice quality, so it is no surprise that 72 percent of the businesses polled said they had frequent voice quality issues for which they could not identify the root causes.
  • “Stress” is the most commonly used word when consumers were asked to explain how they felt after a poor voice quality call was completed.
  • Case studies show that consumers are often forced to repeat themselves on calls as a result of poor voice quality.

“Consumers are quickly losing patience with companies that suffer from poor voice quality—truth is, it’s a consumer’s market; they have choices in today’s market,” said Professor Morris Pentel, chairman at Customer Experience Foundation. “Consumers are having major issues that they will not tolerate, which has obvious ramifications for businesses. Customer and agent churn will increase if they are unable to communicate with each other, not to mention the loss of new business opportunities, such as upsells or new products and offerings. Organizations with a reputation for poor customer service are simply pushing their customers toward their competitors, which impacts market share and the bottom line.”

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Poor voice quality has a number of root causes, which explains why consumers think it is such a large problem. Background noise, poor headsets, loose connections, bad home voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), use of services such as Skype, poor transit by carriers and bad mobile phone connections and handsets have all been associated with the problem. Add poor voice quality within the enterprise to these problems and it is no surprise that this issue is such a major hot spot for consumers. Most companies do not have the tools to monitor voice quality and so it is no surprise why this issue has become such a problem—at a time when the move to VoIP is a dominant strategy. As such, Empirix offers testing and monitoring solutions that help companies quickly identify and fix problems before they ever reach the end-user. With Empirix’s solutions, Enterprises can not only assure voice quality but also the entire end-to-end customer experience, thereby reducing customer churn and streamlining the overall customer service process.

The survey had more than 5,140 responses online and by telephone, which came from call center and IT Professionals in the U.S., UK, France and Germany, as well as 3,925 consumers.

As part of Empirix’s commitment to understanding the importance of voice quality, the company previously commissioned CEF to conduct a survey that focused on the loss of revenue and business impact resulting from delayed implementations of critical contact center technologies.

About the Customer Experience Foundation (CEF)

CEF is the academic arm of Customer Experience Services Ltd and provides thought leadership and business science services through a number of partners including Empirix, grameenphone and New Voice Media and supports major financial institutions on a number of areas of best practice. The Foundation also delivers contact centre training and standards in three countries.

The Board of the Foundation comprises leaders with experience from some major institutions including Barclays, Cable & Wireless, BT, Lloyds TSB Bank, Virgin Atlantic and Deloittes.

The Foundation also provides research programmes to develop business tools that establish information that supports the development of ROI business cases in relation to business risks such as customer experience and business reputation. It also offers tools that support the business case in the sales environment and provide intellectual capital to support the use of these tools. In addition the foundation supplies training and assessment programmes worldwide.

The business and Foundation is headed by Professor Morris Pentel BA (Hons) MBA DBA who is also the Head of the Institute of Contact Sciences and the Contact Foundation. He was also the 2009 chairman of the World Class Contact Centre Forum and has been a keynote speaker at many events.

About Empirix
Empirix is the recognized leader in end-to-end network performance visibility with the unique ability to analyze customer behaviors by application in real time. We help service providers, mobile operators and enterprises optimize business processes to reduce operational costs, maximize customer retention and grow top-line revenue. Through monitoring, analytics and intelligence, Empirix helps companies around the world realize the full value of their technology investments.

Empirix is a trademark of Empirix, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Walsh
Marketing Manager

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