Internet Telephony: Why Background Noise Reduces Unified Communications and Customer Experience ROI

In today’s age of flexible work arrangements and mobile workforces, the ability to connect employees with colleagues, customers, and partners wherever they are physically located is more important than ever. It’s one of the reasons unified communications services continue see increased adoption.

Of course, you are all aware of the crazy time we’re in right now, with an unprecedented number of people working from home. It’s caused an immediate increase in the use of unified communications and collaboration tools and services so employees are able to remain productive.

But beyond the current health crisis, that will hopefully subside soon, the challenges businesses are facing and the ways unified communications and collaboration tools are helping overcome them highlight an important fact – working in non-traditional settings can mean having to deal with unconventional problems, like noise.

Even working from home, this can be an issue, and it can be disruptive to conversations. Just last week, I was on a conference call and had such an experience. One of the parties on our call had windows open, so when a town truck pulled up and began some street work. Because the window was open, we could hear the noise clearly, which made parts of the conversation difficult to hear. The obvious solution was to close the window, of course, which helped, though we could still hear the machinery at times. It was a bit distracting, to say the least.

Much of the UC conversation tends to focus on features and functionality to enable high levels of productivity and mobility. Call quality is part of the conversation, but other than reliable connectivity, HD-codecs, and such, it doesn’t account for background noise.

The truth is that, at some point, you’ve all probably been on a call with someone who is outdoors, at the airport, on a busy warehouse floor, convention center, or other noisy environment. It’s hard to have a productive conversation when you have to constantly ask them to repeat what they’ve said.

If you’re running a customer service team, think about how that can impact customer experience when your agents – or voice-driven AI tools – can’t clearly hear your customers. It’s a recipe for disaster, regardless of which side of a call the noise is coming from.

I recently had a great discussion about the problem of background noise and the impact it can have on business conversations. Whether it’s human conversations or AI interactions, conversation clarity is an important factor. Just think about the difference between a standard voice call and an HD quality call. The difference is not only noticeable – it’s remarkable.

During the discussion, I heard something that was even more remarkable, though. David Liu, CEO of Deltapath, which has developed a noise cancellation gateway for VoIP and UC implementations, had two of his team members place two separate phone calls. One was a standard call with the caller standing outside near a construction site, and the other was from the same location with the call running through the noise cancellation gateway. The difference was amazing – see for yourself.

In fairness, in this instance, the calls were pre-recorded due to the current coronavirus situation. But, when I first saw this demo conducted live several months ago, the experience was exactly the same. Suddenly, the background noise that can make it hard – even impossible – to hear a conversation, was gone completely. When you add this to the mobility and collaboration features of today’s UC solutions, suddenly you’re ensuring both your internal users and customers can fully enjoy the benefits and can have productive conversations that result in real, positive outcomes.

I encourage you to check out the on-demand webinar to hear more about how audio quality impacts business communications – and especially the growing trend of remote and mobile workforces. If you’re investing in the technology to enable employees to be productive, or your customer service teams to deliver great experiences, it doesn’t make sense to let controllable outside factors minimize the value of those investments.


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