Improving ASR and ACM for International Virtual Numbers: Reliable Telecommunications for Global Companies

The Internet continues to provide global enterprises means for reaching as many customers worldwide as possible with minimal costs and effort. While most communication can be handled via emails, organizations will still require the ability of customers to reach them via phone, without incurring unnecessary expenses for long-distance calling on either side.
Providing effective long-distance services for customers requires organizations to consider options for improving the success rate of customers contacting them. Specifically, organizations should consider options to improve the Answer-Seizure Ration (ASR) using virtual phone numbers.

What is the ASR?

Answer-Seizure Ratio (ASR) is an important measure of network quality, as defined by  International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ASR is determined as the number of successfully answered calls, divided by the total number of attempted calls (also referred to as seizures). Network carriers with high ASRs are viewed as more successful in routing calls through the network. If routing based on the ASR is considered, then preference will be given to carriers with higher success rates in transporting and terminating phone calls.

Why is the ASR Important?

The ASR can provide a variety of information about the carrier network and the calls on it, including:

  • If customers are using bad data sources. It is important to remember that calls that result in a busy tone or are rejected by the receiver are considered failures. As a result, these calls will adversely affect the ASR if a customer has high-volume traffic but bad connectivity.
  • If there is enough capacity to appropriately route calls. Networks experience lower ASRs but have few, if any, customers using the network with bad connectivity then there may be issues with the network capacity. In these cases, the capacity should be evaluated, with respect to call attempts. It should then be determined if more capacity is needed.
  • If there are network infrastructure issues. When the aforementioned issues are not present, then any network hardware could be the problem.

What Factors Can Affect the ASR?

Network carriers can experience low ASRs for a number of reasons:

  • Congestion.In this case, there is more network traffic than capacity available to support it.
  • Long Post-Dial Delay (PDD). PDD is the time between a caller dialing a number and hearing a dial tone or busy signal. When the PDD is greater than a certain time interval, the caller typically assumes there is no connection and hangs up. This is considered an unsuccessful call attempt, and can significantly impact the ASR.
  • Call Looping. In this case, calls move from one carrier to another, and then back to the original carrier. This handoff may occur multiple times. If it does, then it results in a long PDD. In addition, each attempt at the originating switch results is considered a new call attempt. In most cases, the call never reaches the destination.

It is important to note that, because of the additional factors affecting call qualities (e.g. busy tones or rejected calls); the ASR is not the sole indicator of call quality. The quality of any voice service is usually measured in terms of Grade-of-Service (GoS) and Quality of Service (QoS). GoS measures the probability that a call is either blocked or delayed for a specific time interval. Therefore, in order to increase the ASR, the GoS must be reduced.

What are Virtual Numbers?

Virtual phone numbers are an attractive solution for global enterprises seeking to maximize their ASR for long-distance calling. Also referred to as access numbers, virtual numbers are not associated with a phone line. Instead, the numbers are programmed to forward incoming calls to a pre-determined client number. This pre-determined number can be either a fixed landline, mobile, or VoIP phone. Using this approach, virtual phone numbers can serve as a gateway between the traditional landline, or PSTN, and VoIP.

How Do Virtual Numbers Work?

Enterprises serving customers in a specific country, region, or city can create a virtual phone number using that location’s area code. The virtual number connects to the PBX to offer local calling services. Customers use this virtual number to contact the company without having to incur long-distance charges. When the customer dials the local (virtual) number, the call is appropriately routed through the Internet to the appropriate landline, mobile, or VoIP phone.

What are the Benefits of Virtual Numbers?

Virtual numbers provide a number of benefits for global enterprises with customer bases in other countries:

  • Local contact numbers without the expense of foreign exchange lines.
  • International toll-free virtual numbers are available.
  • Operation is similar to regular phone numbers, including customizable voicemail options.
  • No special equipment requirements.
  • Low monthly pricing and, where necessary, setup fees.

How Do Virtual Numbers Improve ASR?

Improving the ASR requires reducing customer calls that are blocked, rejected, or dropped. Virtual numbers allow businesses to:

  • Provide 24/7 customer support.
  • Change the receiving number mapped to the virtual phone number.
  • Create as many virtual lines as needed.

These features allow global enterprises to ensure that customers attempting to reach them have a much higher success rate than traditional long-distance services. The ability to change the number mapped to a virtual number allows businesses to ensure travel by key personnel does not impact accessibility. In addition, customers are ensured support regardless of when they contact the organization.

Enterprises needing to manage large amounts of traffic from across the world have a variety of options available for virtual number creation and management. A key to successfully improving ASRs, and ultimately business performance, is ensuring access to as many customers as possible. The low pricing and removal of special equipment makes this technology a key asset for any enterprise seeking to remain competitive in the global market.

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