Call in Using Computer: Trouble Hearing or Being Heard

The audio experience, both hearing our contacts and being heard when speaking to them, is critical to your callers and your program.  Issues with audio range from user error, to hardware or equipment troubles, to large-scale infrastructure causes. To best deal with this wide range, we offer this summary of trouble being heard when using VOIP by selecting "Call using computer."

New Feature

We now offer the choice for callers to use their computer's microphone and built-in audio to expand options for callers who encounter the following and other limitations:

  • Quality of cell phone service, i.e. less than 3 bars of reception
  • Issues with providers that do not allow calls to the dial in number for connecting to the system
  • Conflicts caused by installed application and device permissions that do not allow fully disengaging the "WiFi Calling" option (Android) or "Make Calls over WiFi" setting (iPhone)
  • Device issues with producing the correct tones for connecting to the dial number for connecting to our system

Note: Those who wish or need to use the "Call using computer" option should use the latest version of Chrome browser for the best experience.

Since the VOIP option available by selecting "Call using computer" during the agent login process uses significant bandwidth, we highly recommend that callers first attempt to connect to the dialer system by calling the dial in number.  If they should encounter any of the above listed issues while making calls by calling in, these users should switch to calling via the "Call using computer" option.

In situations where internet bandwidth limitations are not a factor, such as the available internet connection provides over 30 mbps of download bandwidth, callers may choose their preference.

Individuals using accessories like earbuds with microphones, full headsets, AirPods and other Bluetooth devices should make sure that if they choose the "Call using computer" option that they have these devices connected to their computer, not their phone.

Troubleshooting the Cause

When using the "Call using computer" option, the factors that could cause issues are going to be limited to:

System Settings

Audio and device settings at the system and hardware level are the most difficult to offer troubleshooting support, considering the wide range of manufacturers for audio cards.  We cannot offer support for users with driver issues for audio devices in Windows or Linux-based devices, or for the plug-and-play functionality of the audio system with Mac devices.

The best way to handle concerns about system settings regarding the ability to be heard during "Call using computer" dialing will be for users to test their microphone and audio system output prior to connecting to the system.

  • Use the system settings available for testing and confirming microphone output.  Test any built-in microphone equipment first, and then repeat the same test using any preferred accessory devices.
  • Specific to issues being heard:
    • Try recording some audio using both any built-in microphone equipment first, and then using any preferred accessory devices.
    • Check the recordings - how do they sound?
    • Try different combinations of microphone sensitivity and microphone output volume, again using both any built-in microphone equipment and then preferred accessories.
  • Specific to issues hearing:
    • Try playing some audio using both any built-in speakers or other external speakers first, and then test the same audio using any preferred accessory devices.
    • How do the audio tests sound?
    • Make sure that system volume settings are satisfactory, and be sure as well that any volume mixers have an adequate level of volume applied to browsers and other applications.
  • Once satisfied with the output levels and the configuration, attempt calls using the "Call using computer" function. 
    • If call recipients report trouble hearing the caller, the caller should increase their sensitivity and/or output volume settings and test again as described above.
    • If the caller reports trouble hearing the call recipients, the caller should retest their sound system making sure that audio played from the Chrome browser is at a satisfactory level.

Headset or other Accessory Complications

Accessories such as earbuds with built-in microphones, full headsets, or AirPods, are fantastic for improving the caller experience by keeping hands free. We highly recommend using them.

It may seem obvious, but often times the devices may not be securely, firmly connected. In other instances, the devices may simply have failed since the last time they were used - as many are flimsy, and all are built with intentional product obsolescence and therefore short life spans. 

Try these troubleshooting steps among your very first efforts:

  • If the laptop is equipped with built-in speakers and microphone, try a few calls without the accessories connected. Desktop models will not have speakers and microphones built-in, so test alternate accessories during calls connected by the dialer.
  • Try the calls again with the accessory connected.  Can you hear and be heard during your test calls with and without the accessories?
  • If the device is Bluetooth based, confirm that Bluetooth is active and that the devices are recognizing each other.
  • Check all physical connected devices and adapters for firm, solid, connections.

Infrastructure issues, outages and other concerns

With the power of our calling tools, we are often calling ranges of geographies at different times- people living in cities, exurban areas, and in rural communities.  We may be calling entire states in many instances, and therefore be reaching contacts living in any potential type of community at the same time.  Keep in mind that issues at the infrastructure level stand out more at the pace and volume of calling we can produce.  When we are calling from phone to phone directly, we have all at some point experienced a bad connection, a misconnection where we talk to someone at a number other than the one we dialed, or echoes on the line.  We encounter these in the same percentages of likelihood with our dialer, but they can appear to be more common simply due to the volume of calls - even though those instances are just as rare as calling directly phone to phone.  Here are some further details:

  • It can be worthwhile to take note of calls that connect where it is hard for callers to be heard by the recipient - whether that is from static on the line or a bad connection caused by local infrastructure or outages.  Analyzing trends can help soothe caller concerns or help shape strategy for avoiding geographies that consistently produce problematic connections
  • Hearing echoes on a line can be a result of two things: a bad connection due to infrastructure issues, or simply that the other person has hung up prior to speaking with the caller.  It is very common to hear an echo of oneself when one speaks on a dialer line that is no longer connected to the contact
  • Reaching people who report that the number dialed is not the number connected does happen in exceedingly rare cases.  If you are concerned about these instances, note the phone number dialed from the dialer screen (on the left side), as well as the number the contact reported that actually connected, and then visit with our live chat agents for a quick check on what numbers were or were not dialed and precisely when those calls were placed 

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