Sound of silence: Dropped VoIP calls lose customers.

VoIP and online service providers solve service issues and retain customers
with MSP Sensors service.

PRESCOTT, AZ – When Internet issues arise, especially Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and network related issues, customers can be quick to assign blame before considering that the problem is more likely with their own connectivity. VoIP and online service providers need a good way to determine whether the issues are with their own services or at the customer premise and prevent the finger pointing that can happen when services fail.

That’s the spot Mike Paradis, creator of Echo Networks, found himself in with his own VoIP customers. “We host VoIP servers for customers and use our phone services for our own business. When our business-level Internet would have issues, we’d hear about it immediately from our clients. Companies rely on their phones to be there, so even a small interruption in service can mean a lost sale or a frustrated customer.”

Despite subscribing to a business-grade Internet package with upgraded response times for his company, the tech support staff was often stumped when he’d call to report an outage or would deny anything was happening on their network.

“I was growing incredibly frustrated,” Paradis admits. “After multiple calls and trouble tickets, they would eventually discover something was going on with their infrastructure and dispatch a technician to fix it,” he added, “but not until I had spent hours on calls with them. Worst of all, our web and voice-over-IP customers were suffering and blaming us for their issues.”

He created the MSP Sensors software with a team of programmers initially for use at his own company, hoping the detailed tracking and outage reports would help clarify any patterns causing the downtime and also give him tools to prove what was happening with the business Internet connection. After helping a few clients experiencing similar issues, he realized he might be on to something.

“We installed a hardware device running the MSP Sensors software at a local manufacturing company that was experiencing intermittent outages,” Paradis said. “Their support technician called us to see if we could help find out what was happening. After running the software for a week, it became clear where the problems were occurring and he was able to actually pinpoint which connections were having issues and contact the provider to fix the issues.”

The MSP Sensors software agent monitors and tracks how your Internet is performing, with web-based reports that let you drill down into the details or just get the big picture. The basic software is free to install and use for monitoring. Detailed graphs and web-based reports are available for a low monthly subscription. An optional small router offers a hardware solution to customers who want to make sure they have 24/7 monitoring without leaving their computer turned on all the time.

Paradis hopes everyone will give the MSP Sensors service a try, whether they use the free subscription or pay for the more detailed graphs. “MSP Sensors helps us paint a picture of how the Internet is working. The more people we have running it, the clearer and more detailed the picture will become of what’s going on, not only with your local provider, but the national Tier 1 ISPs too.”

He believes MSP Sensors users could positively impact the industry by exposing connectivity problems and promoting transparency across the Internet. “We rely on our connections for almost everything we do in business,” Paradis says. “It’s imperative to know that we’re getting what we are paying for, not only for financial reasons, but to make sure our customers are being served. Imagine if our cars behaved like our Internet connections. Would we put up with a vehicle that randomly drives between 35 and 80 mph when we are driving down the freeway or suddenly stops running for no apparent reason only to start up again five minutes later?”

Paradis thinks well-informed customers could change the way providers support and respond to Internet outages. “It’s empowering to have data and details to back it up. Imagine never having to waste your time on tech support calls trying to figure out why your service is down. You have graphs and reports and can call your providers and tell them: ‘I’ve got the MSP Sensors service monitoring and I can see you’re having a problem. Let me show you.’”