Eileen Haggerty

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Contact centers are ground zero when it comes to making or breaking the most vital corporate relationship—with the customer. In a recent Microsoft State of Global Customer Service report, for example, 58 percent of respondents named customer service as a very important factor in their choice of a brand, and 61 percent said they have stopped transacting with a business after a poor service experience with a call center. In response, companies are increasingly turning to unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) to deliver the range of options and services customers demand. And in a world where the customer experience increasingly rests on instant access and response, it’s crucial to deliver flawless UC&C performance.

UC&C Performance and the Complexity Effect

As businesses increasingly deploy UC&C services, ensuring consistently high call quality has become critical. If agents can’t hear customers because of poor voice quality or calls are dropped midstream, customers will be unhappy. Call quality issues may also make it difficult for contact center agents to deal with the reason the customer called in the first place, resulting in frustration for the agent and the caller. This can have dire consequences for the business and its reputation, not to mention the bottom line. IT needs visibility across a wide array of moving parts in order to diagnose and fix performance issues, and that’s when things can get tricky.

While visibility into call quality is vital, it’s complicated by the many components involved, including servers, network infrastructure, firewalls, session border controllers, and other infrastructure elements. Although IT teams can monitor individual devices—such as looking at CPU utilization to see how servers are performing—gaining critical insights into how the service itself is performing can be difficult, particularly in a converged network environment.

Packet Data Holds the Key to Holistic Visibility

What is the key to building an end-to-end view across such a complex environment? Packet data, which can see how everything communicates across all borders and dependencies. Using hardware- or software-based appliances, companies can achieve pervasive visibility into packet traffic and application workloads. By processing and analyzing this packet data at the point of collection, companies can then view key performance metrics that deliver a centralized analysis into the performance characteristics of all infrastructure and application components and dependencies. Known as smart data, these metrics reveal important UC&C service measurements, such as mean opinion score, to evaluate voice quality. It also reveals error information in call set-up protocols such as SIP. Packet data delivers the holistic visibility needed to get to the root cause of issues very quickly. By ensuring the performance of these vital systems, businesses can deliver the flawless customer experience so crucial for success.

NETSCOUT’s Ray Krug talks UC&C trends on the CUBE. Guarda il video.

Haggerty is an area vice president of product and solutions marketing at NETSCOUT.

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