How to Use Big Data to Improve Your VoIP Strategy

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Original Article

Even with a modest telephone system, your communications with partners, customers and suppliers will generate a ton of information – Big Data – that can be used to enhance your dealings with all of them. And increase your bottom line.

With the shift to Internet-based telephony, data files and multimedia content may be added to the mix.

But how do you exploit big data in order to ensure that you gain maximum ROI, especially when it comes to VoIP?

A Better View of Your Customers

By incorporating big data analytics, each call made or received by your staff over VoIP can be a fresh source of geographic, demographic, and behavioural data on your customers.

Coupled with intelligence from other sources like your help desks, customer relationship management (CRM) system and learning management systems, this information can greatly extend your view of the customer base – approaching the “360-degree” ideal that makes for easier and more effective marketing and sales.

In addition to the standard personal profile information like location, age, gender, relationship and employment status, less tangible data like where people look for product or service information, or what influences their buying decisions may be determined.

With data coming in from internet sources like social media, VoIP and big data can be exploited to predict purchasing behaviour, and to help you gain a better understanding of the people who use your services and buy your products.

Enhanced Customer Service

call centre data and voip

Traditionally, automated call distribution (ACD) has been the basis for routing calls on customer service and help lines. At its simplest, it’s essentially a “first come, first served” arrangement, with customers waiting on hold being patched through sequentially to the next support agent who becomes available.

With big data on VoIP, the enhanced alternatives to ACD – skills-based and analytics-assisted routing – come into play more effectively.

The skills-based option divides your support team into categories, based on their areas of expertise. From call queues, the needs or queries of waiting customers are determined from their initial contact with the ACD system. They are then routed to the next available support agent having the skills necessary to meet their demands.

The analytics-assisted call routing takes into account big data analysis elements like the caller’s previous contacts with your support network, demographics and the like to predict which of your team will have the best combination of skills, phone style and personality to suit the caller concerned.

Managing Your Infrastructure and Platform

Big data tools for VoIP networks include software for analysing how best to manage the platform. This begins with analytical tools for your network hardware, software and infrastructure. One aim is to keep the network live, and to ensure that your users are constantly connected.

Platform management analytics tools also help VoIP service providers manage the network requirements of their customers, based on studies of the variations occurring in their use of the services to which they subscribe.

Improving Collaboration and Operations

improve collaboration with voip

It’s often the case that a company’s workforce is widely distributed. There may be branch or franchise offices, remote sites, and mobile workers.

VoIP client software and apps for mobile devices can assist in maintaining contact between your different areas of operation. They also provide assessment tools and performance analytics that can feed information back to management for employee assessment and in formulating strategies to improve processes generally, and to boost the performance of individual staff members.

Improved Tracking of Expenses

Big data analytics are finding applications in enterprise finance management, and the growing field of Telecoms Expense Management or TEM. It’s all about managing budgets, and keeping costs down.

The Big Data tools are well suited to tracking expense trails across multiple departments and networks. Their analytics dashboards are geared for spotting trends in data and bandwidth usage for VoIP connections, as well as at the hardware level. The behaviour and usage trends of workers can also be included, to give an overall picture of where the money’s going, and how savings can be made.

Better Security Measures

how secure is your voip

Malicious attacks on VoIP networks by fraudsters and other parties can be mitigated, if threats can be spotted sooner. Big data analysis of the traffic, call and usage history on your network can reveal potential vulnerabilities, and “likely suspects” for hacker-style activity.

Analytics can also be employed to help reduce the volume of unwanted traffic flowing through a network. Spam emails, and their pernicious VoIP derivative, Spit (Spam over Internet telephony) are a case in point.

Knowing What’s Important

There’s a temptation with big data to just throw everything into the pot, and hope something good comes out at the end.

Insight and useful analysis – whether for improving the customer experience, streamlining your operations, or beefing up security – can only come if you identify what’s important, and ask the relevant questions.

However, data has become the lifeblood of many organisations, and those that organise and analysis it, are more likely to be performing at the top of their industry both in terms of customer service and financial performance. With this in mind, consider how you can add your data strategy to your VoIP strategy, especially if you use unified communications or have a high number of incoming or outgoing customer service calls.

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