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Don’t Let the Cloud Impact Your Call Quality

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Whether you’re supporting business calls or conversations between contact center agents and customers, you know the importance of a crystal-clear audio connection. That’s why the idea of migrating a phone system from your premises to the cloud can be daunting — lose the connection to your UCaaS provider or suffer from latency and jitter as calls traverse the cloud, and you’re going to hear about it.
 
Melissa Swartz, a cloud communications expert with Swartz Consulting, put it this way in a recent No Jitter on Air podcast sponsored by Spearline: “If you can’t connect to the cloud, then you can’t communicate.”
 
A variety of options are available to help mitigate the risk. These include onsite gateways and SD-WAN setups with dual Internet connections for best-path routing based on connection quality, Swartz mentioned. But you also need to ensure that the architecture of your cloud solution addresses risk mitigation, too, so you don’t suffer from quality degradation. “Assuming you pick the right provider, you don't have to worry about architecting a resilient architecture and figuring out how to do data backups. That's all on the cloud provider,” she said.
 
During the podcast, Swartz shared her advice on how to ensure consistent high-quality voice calling in the cloud.
 
First, select a cloud provider that really understands the importance of providing reliable voice quality, Swartz said.
 
You should be able to tell this from the conversations you have with them about their solutions and from their talking points in proposals and presentations, she added. They’re also going to want you to do a full network assessment before they install the service and, if you don’t, they’ll ask you to sign a waiver that acknowledges that you haven’t taken this important step and therefore they can’t be held responsible, she noted.
 
You should also be able to tell if they take voice quality seriously by looking at their data center architecture and checking to see how much resiliency they’ve built-in, Swartz said.
 
Second, ask them about their PSTN connections. “Who are the underlying carriers? Do they continually test the connections? And do they route calls over the one with the best quality? Are they doing the same sort of SD-WAN type of stuff that you want to do in your connection to them?” Swartz said.
 
Third, make sure you have tools that allow you to pinpoint and diagnose problems for quicker resolution, and that you’re able to report on quality over time and evaluate trends, she added. “Cloud providers that understand the importance of voice quality typically provide these tools,” and you can take advantage of third-party tools, such as from Spearline, as well.
 
Lastly, carriers that place a premium on quality will offer strong service-level agreements that include financial penalties for when they fail to meet service levels, Swartz said. “And, of course, the more nines on the service level [for uptime], the better. … Every time you lose a nine, it’s exponential — 10 times more outage time.”
 
Changing a business communications deployment model doesn’t come with an easy button, Swartz said. But with a studied approach to the cloud provider’s solution and architecture, you can mitigate the risk, she added.
 
For more advice from Swartz on how to manage change and maintain call quality, click here or on the player below.
 

In addition, click on the players below to tune in to learn about how two cloud communications providers, RingCentral and Aircall, work to ensure they deliver first-rate call quality. 

For the full series to date, click here.

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