, a leading provider of Real-Time Service Management (RTSM) software, announced the results of an independent survey (1) among "voice over Internet protocol" (VoIP) users in the U.S. In the survey, conducted among VoIP subscribers representing both specialized VoIP providers and cable companies, customers of cable companies were the happiest with their service, with 61% expressing satisfaction. Despite this positive outlook, 34% of cable VoIP users said that a technician had to visit their home within 90 days of the initial service installation due to a problem. A full 16% had a technician visit their home two or more times.
VoIP customers of cable providers are almost twice as confident about the reliability of their VoIP service as the customers of specialized providers, which focus solely on VoIP delivery. The good news for U.S. cable providers offering new VoIP services to consumers is that the majority of subscribers prefer to receive multiple services from a single provider, such as a combination of VoIP and broadband access. In fact, 80% of cable VoIP customers surveyed said that they also receive their broadband service from their cable provider, validating the notion that receiving multiple services from a single provider is important.
Those who experienced problems with their VoIP service said that their "primary frustration" is recurring quality or reliability problems, accounting for 29% and 24% of responses, respectively. These issues can occur when cable VoIP users are trying to download or upload data with their Internet connection, while simultaneously talking on the phone. Of the 39% of users who expressed a problem during the upload or download of data, 59% said that the most common problem was that their voice transmission was hard to understand.
Industry analyst group Yankee states that there are many reasons why customers have problems with their VoIP service, but the number one reason is ineffective installation and preliminary testing procedures. Yankee Group analysis indicates that, "The most common cause of problems with new VoIP installs is a lack of initial testing to determine whether the service works properly(2)." Moreover, Yankee estimates that technician visits to subscribers' homes for VoIP service after initial installation can cost service providers $130 each.
SupportSoft ServiceVerify software helps to avoid unnecessary truck- rolls and can assist in keeping customers satisfied by confirming that triple play services such as VoIP are installed and working reliably from the first day of installation. Moreover, ServiceVerify can help ensure that the installation of VoIP service does not conflict with or degrade the quality of an existing service such as broadband. If a problem does occur, SupportSoft ServiceVerify can bring together critical data from a service provider's network with premises-based diagnostic information from devices in the customer's home, such as personal computers, video set-top boxes, broadband modems/gateways, VoIP adapters -- or even information provided to customer service representatives (CSR) by customers themselves.
"When digital service providers roll-out VoIP service as part of a triple-play offering, it's critical to verify the best working state of the new service at the time of installation. They also need to ensure that services already installed in the home aren't affected by the addition of the new service to avoid costly truck-rolls down the road," Marc Itzkowitz, director of product marketing and management at SupportSoft. "This is especially important as VoIP becomes more widely adopted among less technically savvy consumers. SupportSoft support automation solutions can help service providers preempt technical problems at the time of VoIP service installation and also help prevent latent issues from arising. As a result, service providers can more quickly introduce new services, lower operational costs and enhance customer satisfaction through more reliable performance."