The global contact center market is growing at an unprecedented pace. Already valued at $28.09 billion in 2022, it’s expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.9% from 2023-2030.
More than any other factor, the demand for increasingly fluid and intuitive customer experiences is driving this fast-paced growth. In the post-pandemic era, customers put a premium on business interactions that happen on their terms, their time, moving with them across different channels and technologies.
The end game for customer experience (CX) is changing at an increasing rate, resulting in an ever-expanding web of complex software — not to mention more frequent and faster software deployments — for contact centers. And with increasing software complexity comes a greater need for more effective testing. To ensure this new software delivers on its promise of enhanced CX, contact centers must keep up with the latest developments in continuous testing services.
To that end, we’re highlighting four of the biggest trends to watch for in contact center software testing in 2024.
Two-Fold Testing With Artificial Intelligence
No recent technology has generated more buzz than artificial intelligence (AI). The public launch of ChatGPT in late 2022 unleashed a frenzy of excitement and anxiety over the role that generative AI would play in society and contact centers are right in the thick of this.
According to Deloitte’s 2023 Global Contact Center Survey, 81% of contact center executives are investing in AI to enable their agents to efficiently deliver excellent service. High-profile financial institutions like Morgan Stanley, for instance, have deployed generative AI-powered chatbots to help their employees more easily access important company knowledge.
But, AI deployments don’t stop with helping agents. As McKinsey and Company reports, companies at the highest levels of AI adoption are using it to facilitate more digital self-service. Top performing companies handle over 95% of interactions through chatbots and conversational IVR on their mobile apps, website, and interactive voice channels.
What does all this mean for software testing in 2024? AI presents both an opportunity and a challenge. On one hand, AI can make testing faster and more effective by generating countless testing possibilities and automating the entire process with ease.
Yet, on the other hand, AI is itself imperfect and must be subjected to rigorous, continuous testing. Especially with the generative capacity of today’s CX tools, AI chatbot testing and other forms of conversational AI testing are critical for contact centers. Companies used to only test their bot's response to simple inquiries. Now, they must ensure it correctly applies complex processes like natural language processing, sentiment analysis, and intent tagging.
Testing in a Digital-First (and Mobile) World
Many contact centers have embraced the need for digital transformation and this process is only gaining steam. As data from Mordor Intelligence shows, the market for contact center transformation is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.91% from 2018–2028.
This transformation begins with cloud migration but goes on to touch every aspect of customer and employee experience for contact centers. The cloud makes seamless omnichannel service possible, whether through enabling remote agents to answer calls from anywhere or by enhancing the ease of flow across online, mobile, social, and voice channels.
Unfortunately, many brands still struggle to achieve a seamless transition across their communication channels. A 2023 Gartner survey revealed that 62% of customers still perceive these transitions as "high effort," despite our awareness that seamless transitions yield improved CX outcomes. Ensuring high returns is not optional when making these investments.
This puts the impetus on contact centers to ensure their omnichannel experience delivers. It starts with effective testing during the cloud migration process and continues with extensive, regular testing of every service and sales channel. As chatbots and customer self-service take center stage in digital CX, contact centers must prioritize AI chatbot testing and other continuous testing services.
An Intensifying Focus on Quality Assurance (QA)
As contact centers increasingly embrace digital transformation, the pace and frequency of updates and software releases continue to quicken. Many organizations have already embraced DevOps methodologies on a broader level but have yet to integrate them into their entire software development lifecycle (SDLC).
Yet, as the pace of transformation accelerates and CX expectations heighten, this integration is proving to be essential for contact centers. Quality assurance must become a constant rather than a final box to check. This can be achieved through a process that many developers and testers are now calling QAOps.
QAOps brings the DevOps mentality and approach into the software development process. Rather than separating the QA team from the development team, they should be intertwined from start to finish. By integrating QAOps into the SDLC deployment process, contact centers ensure they catch bugs and defects earlier in the process. This helps to prevent CX mishaps and save time and resources.
With so much focus on using AI to support agents and customer self-service, a failure to move toward continuous testing and QA could prove disastrous for the ROI the contact center needs to produce.
Continuous Testing for Compliance
As we look toward 2024 and beyond, data privacy stands out as an ongoing concern. Recent laws like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GRPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act demonstrate that standards will only continue to tighten in this area.
Contact centers have become repositories for more customer data than ever before and that data is now moving off-premises and into the cloud. This may make contact centers more nimble, but it also increases the risk of cyber attacks. There has been no shortage of data breaches in recent years. This is especially evident in sensitive industries like healthcare and finance. AI only raises further questions about the privacy and safety of sensitive customer information.
If a contact center lets its guard down, just one cyber attack could result in catastrophic damage to its reputation, not to mention major fines and lawsuits. Consistently rolling out security updates requires frequent testing to ensure their effectiveness and prevent the loss of sensitive customer data.
However, compliance also goes beyond these serious security concerns. For instance, contact centers can face significant fines for failing to keep their toll-free number database up to date. These and other compliance concerns only put a stronger spotlight on the need for high-volume, rapid, and precise software testing protocols.
Is Your Software Testing up to Speed for 2024?
Contact centers have transformed rapidly over the past few years. This trend looks set to continue throughout the rest of this decade. Digital transformation is here to stay and it puts a new emphasis on AI, the omnichannel experience, and a fast-paced software development lifecycle. To keep up, testing practices must be fully integrated into the development process and provide comprehensive quality assurance.
Not sure if you’re ready? Cyara can help you take the next step. Our automated CX assurance platform is built on the DevOps methodology. It ensures seamless testing and monitoring of conversational AI and IVR systems at each stage of development Our continuous testing services have delivered up to 8X greater test coverage to our customers and up to an 80% reduction in overall testing time. Whether you need chatbot testing, omnichannel assurance, or toll-free number testing for compliance, we have the solution for you.
Reach out today to learn more.