Whilst unsavory scenes of people clambering over one another for the best Black Friday deals seem to have subsided in recent years, an ever-growing number of retailers worldwide are embracing this US imported sales event and one point has become abundantly clear; Christmas shopping now officially starts on the last Friday in November the world over.
Whilst some agree, myself included, that kick-starting the holiday shopping frenzy actually brings benefits for contact centers supporting the influx of sales, without carefully considered preparation a negative snowball effect could roll well into December and forever tarnish a companies reputation.
On Black Friday last year, BT saw the number of calls carried to their customers’ contact centers leap by more than a third compared to 2015 and this trend is set to continue.
Unfortunately, when carrying out peak-load planning, a number of companies still place their focus on the obvious areas of the business and miss the finer details.
For all organizations, it’s the contact centre team that is at the forefront of clearing up the debris left in the wake of this annual shopping bonanza, and whilst staffing levels are addressed months in advance, the underlining infrastructure is often overlooked and failing to fully test the performance of systems when placed under pressure can have catastrophic consequences.
It’s the little things that count!
Modern contact center technology is a complex beast that requires regular updates to the underlying infrastructure. As these changes are made throughout the year, they can have very little impact when systems are running at 20% or even 30% of peak traffic.
However, once traffic hits a peak and continues over a sustained period your infrastructure, like an ill-informed or tired agent, can become overly stressed and this is when the problems start to appear.
Nip it in the bud!
If a risk is calculated by multiplying probability by impact, stress testing your systems with Occam Networks Enterprise Testing Software (ETS) prior to peak allows you to uncover those hidden issues before they generate impact.
You’ll also reduce the probability of issues arising in the first place thus mitigating risk.
Automated testing can replicate 1000’s of calls being placed on your systems while highlighting and recording any problems that may exist.
Be the hero!
No one knows your system better than you and your Genesys channel partner. Traditionally, automated testing solutions relied heavily on third-party professional services to build and carry out automated testing scenarios. Not only is this costly and time-consuming, it also inhibits your ability to initiate change and drive improvements.
ETS automatically provides an interactive map of your entire IVR environment, not only to highlight any potential errors such as loops and dead ends but to also capture all the elements required to build future tests. Eradicating the need to employ external professional services to help build testing scripts and import data, saving both time and money.
IVR – The Super Agent!
When executed properly, IVR will offer a faster and more effective service for customers with a simple or routine inquiry whilst diverting calls away from agents.
However, we’ve all been in the situation where a temporary IVR is setup and quickly tested only for it to have a negative impact further down the call flow that wasn’t considered or thoroughly soak-tested.
Incomplete or ineffective IVR’s only create more frustration and anxiety for the customer, which results in a more challenging call for the agent when they finally connect.
ETS can test an entire IVR path in minutes, giving you the freedom and flexibility to install temporary IVR route as and when required by the business without fear of creating unforeseen issues.
ETS is for life not just for Christmas
An annual ETS license offers unlimited testing opportunities, so once you’ve carried out your load test and are happy that the functional changes you’ve made to your system are operating correctly ETS can place regular calls, at predetermined intervals to ensure things continue to operate as expected.
Regardless of how you use automated testing, the ultimate goal remains the same, to take a proactive approach in identifying and resolving issues before they impact your customer.
And we all know the benefits of a happy customer!
This blog post was co-authored by Gregg Lander. Gregg heads up the sales and marketing division within Occam Networks, providers of ETS, ones of the worlds’ most advanced automated CX testing tools. With over 15yrs experience within the telecommunications industry and a strong understanding of the e-commerce environment across both Europe and North America, Gregg has been advising C-level executives of multi-national brands across a broad spectrum of strategic issues and continues to assist clients in improving customer-centric operational performance.