Dropped Calls Starter Guide: Learn the Basics

Have you ever been in the middle of an important call when suddenly the line goes dead?

Dropped calls are an annoying and sometimes costly reality for many mobile phone owners and businesses. But what are dropped calls, why do they happen, and how can you prevent them from occurring in the future?

Let’s take a look at all of these questions and more in this starter guide to dropped calls.

What Are Dropped Calls?

Simply put, a dropped call is when a phone call suddenly terminates before its parties are finished talking. This can be due to many reasons, such as connection issues, bad infrastructure, and even user error.

When a dropped call occurs, the caller will hear either dead air or an automated message from their carrier informing them that the call has been disconnected.

Sometimes the call can be reconnected, but if the problem is not resolved quickly, the call will likely be lost.

Why Do Dropped Calls Happen?

There are numerous reasons why call drops occur, both on the user and carrier sides.

Poor Signal Strength

If you’re making a call to a customer or colleague from a weak signal area, there is an increased chance that the call will be dropped. This is because the signal strength of your device decreases as you move further away from a base station or cell tower.

It’s important to note that aging phones and low-end devices can also contribute to poor signal quality.

The solution: If you need to make an important call, ensure that you are in an area with a strong signal.

Spotty WiFi Coverage

If you’re using a cloud-based call center or VoIP service, then spotty WiFi coverage can also lead to dropped calls. This is because the signal strength of your router or modem may not be strong enough to maintain a stable connection.

Most cell providers also offer WiFi calling, so this is an issue that applies to both businesses and individuals.

The solution: Make sure that your router is placed in an open space with minimal obstructions. If you’re using a cloud-based phone service, ensure that the service provider has strong coverage in your area.

Network Congestion

If you’ve ever been to a music festival, sporting event, or another super-crowded place, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I mention network congestion.

When large numbers of people are all using the same networks, it can lead to an overload and cause dropped calls. This is especially true in urban areas where cell towers are overcrowded with users.

The solution: WiFi can usually handle more users than a single cell tower, so if you’re in a crowded area, use WiFi to make your calls (if possible). If not, then move to an area with fewer people.

Entering a Dead Zone

Even if the stars are aligned and there’s no network congestion, you can still experience dropped calls if you enter a dead zone.

Dead zones are areas where cell phone signals are blocked due to topography, building materials, or other obstructions.

The solution: Don’t plan important calls while driving through or near a dead zone. If you do, make sure that you have an alternative signal source, such as WiFi.

Faulty Devices

In some cases, call drops have to do with the device itself. Older phones, for example, may not be able to maintain a steady connection or produce enough signal strength.

Bugs and glitches with certain devices can also lead to dropped calls, so it’s important to make sure your device is up-to-date before using it.

The solution: Always keep your device’s software and firmware up-to-date. If you’re using an older model phone, consider upgrading to a newer one that has better signal strength.

App Settings

With hundreds of options for customizing your iPhone or Android, it can be easy to get lost in all the settings. And if you’re not careful, one wrong setting could cause dropped calls. To avoid any potential issues, be sure to double-check your network settings before making any other changes.

Often, app setting configurations can affect the way your device handles calls.

The solution: Make sure to review your app settings and ensure that they are properly configured for call quality. If needed, reach out to the app developer for help.

Business Implications for Dropped Calls

Unfortunately, dropped calls can have a considerable impact on businesses. Customers may become frustrated if they are unable to reach someone over the phone, and this could lead to lower customer satisfaction scores.

Businesses should also be aware of missed calls—when customers hang up before getting connected or when the call is dropped after being answered. Missed calls may indicate an issue with the phone system, such as a slow IVR menu or long wait times for customer service.

And since over 89% of companies see customer experience as a critical factor in growth, it’s important to ensure that your phone system is functioning properly.

A few issues you might run into if your calls consistently drop:

  • Slower response time and difficulty communicating results in fewer deals closed for sales teams.
  • Customer success teams can’t handle customer inquiries or complaints quickly, leading to a decrease in customer satisfaction.
  • Technical support teams can’t troubleshoot issues and answer questions properly, leading to costly delays.
  • With less data, customer feedback, and customer interactions to analyze, teams are unable to get a full picture of the customer experience.

How Can You Prevent Dropped Calls?

The best way to prevent dropped calls is to be aware of your surroundings and try to maintain a strong, stable connection.

If you’re using a mobile phone, make sure that you stay in areas with good signal strength or switch to an area with better coverage if necessary.

If you’re using a VoIP service, then ensure that your router is up-to-date and has sufficient bandwidth for your needs.

It’s also helpful to keep an eye out for dead zones and try to move away from them when possible. You can find these by using an app that shows cell phone coverage in your area.

You should also make sure your device is updated with the latest software so that you don’t have to worry about any bugs or glitches that could lead to dropped calls.

If your device is more than a few years old, it’s probably a good idea to upgrade it as well.

How to Tell Who Is Responsible for a Dropped Call

If you’re experiencing a lot of dropped calls, then it’s important to determine who is responsible for the problem.

If the issue seems to be related to poor signal strength or dead zones, then it might be time to switch providers.

On the other hand, if you’re still having problems even when you have a strong connection, then the issue may be on your end. In this case, it’s best to check your device for any bugs or glitches and make sure that everything is up-to-date.

If you’re still having trouble, then it might be time to contact customer service at your VoIP provider or phone manufacturer.

Fixing Dropped Calls On a Cloud-Based Phone System

If you use a cloud-based phone system (i.e., VoIP) to make and receive calls, then there are a few things you can do to make sure that your calls don’t get dropped.

And luckily, you don’t need to be an IT wizard to get things up and running.

Spot issues with the network

Depending on which VoIP provider you use, they’ll probably send you notifications when there are any issues with the network that could lead to dropped calls. Weak signal strength, network congestion, and dead zones are all things to watch out for.

These pop-ups usually come with instructions on how to fix the problem and can be very helpful in preventing dropped calls.

If you’re having problems with your network, a few quick fixes include:

  • Resetting your network
  • Restarting your app
  • Checking for updates
  • Switching to a different router if you’re using a VoIP system

If not, connection errors may signal a problem with the connection between the callers. In these cases, make sure the person you’re speaking to has a strong WiFi connection.

Identify and isolate bottlenecks related to your software

Chances are, your VoIP provider will have a variety of settings and features that you can use to optimize your connection.

For example, most providers allow you to adjust the codecs (voice compression algorithms) used in calls, as well as the bandwidth and jitter buffers, which help ensure a steady connection.

If you’re having trouble with dropped calls, it’s worth checking these settings and playing around with them to see if you can improve the connection.

Check your internet speed

One of the most common causes of dropped calls is having a weak internet connection. Performing a speed test can help you determine if your internet connection is too slow or unstable to support the kind of call quality that VoIP requires. Plus, it only takes a minute or two.

Screenshot of results from Fast.com internet speed test
determine whether a weak internet connection is the source of dropped calls with fast.com’s internet speed test.

If it’s not up to snuff, then you may need to switch providers or upgrade your current plan in order to get a faster and more reliable connection.

Use an ethernet cable connection

Ideally, you wouldn’t have to worry about dropped calls in the first place, so it’s important to take preventative measures.

Have an ethernet cable handy just in case, as this is still the most reliable way to connect to the internet.

If your router has ethernet ports, then you can quickly plug in and make sure that your connection is rock-solid before you make any calls.

Relocate your router

Occasionally, walls, furniture, and even appliances can interfere with your router’s signal. Not all router locations are created equal, and if you’re having a lot of trouble with dropped calls, then it might be worth experimenting to find the best spot.

In general, your router should be placed in an open space as far away as possible from any potential sources of interference.

So if you have walls or furniture blocking the signal, then it’s time to move them or try to place the router in a different spot.

By experimenting with your router’s position, you can trial-and-error your way to the strongest WiFi signal possible in any room. Run speed tests periodically to check on your progress and make sure you’re getting the best results.

If your internet connection is weak the further away from the router you are, you may want to look into getting a WiFi booster. Also called a WiFi repeater or WiFi extender, these devices can give your network’s signal strength a much-needed boost in areas with little to no signal.

Reboot your system

If your VoIP system has been running for a while, it’s possible that you might be experiencing memory leaks or other software problems.

These include problems with the audio drivers, network settings, and even the hardware itself.

If you’re having trouble with dropped calls, try restarting your system to see if that helps.

If it doesn’t, then you may need to look into updating your drivers or resetting your network settings.

Contact your internet service provider (ISP)

If all else fails and you still have trouble with dropped calls, contact your internet service provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose the issue and offer solutions that you can try.

They might also be able to increase your bandwidth or switch your connection to a more reliable technology like fiber-optic cable.

In some cases, they might even be able to provide you with a new router or modem if the one you have is causing signal problems.

It doesn’t hurt to ask, and it’s worth exploring all your options before giving up on trying to fix your dropped calls problem.

Final Thoughts About Dropped Calls

When it comes to improving your customer service, getting rid of dropped calls is a must. And even at the individual level, dropped calls are a source of frustration and confusion.

The key to avoiding them is ensuring you have a strong, reliable internet connection and use the right hardware. You should also take preventative measures like using an ethernet cable or relocating your router, as well as contact your ISP if the issue persists.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can get a better handle on your VoIP service and improve your call quality significantly.

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