Contact centers weren't always the AI-driven, predictive, omnichannel complex operations they are today. Once upon a time, customers found companies' contact info in the yellow pages, and "dialed directly into a particular person with the organization," said Ann-Marie Stagg, chief executive of UK-based Call Centre Management Association, in an interview with MyCustomer.
Not that they always reached this person on the phone.
So, many of them wrote in. Via snail mail.
Good boy conducts old-school customer experience monitoring
Back then, it was thrilling just to have a dedicated group of people to answer incoming phone calls on a first come, first served basis.
You remember – back when you tried telling your family that one day, they'd have an entire computer in their pocket, and they rolled their eyes at you as if you said you believed in unicorns. (For the record, CB Insights did report that there are currently 495 unicorns in the world).
Contact centers have seen quite a few disruptions since then, and that's not expected to stop anytime soon.
Get a Crystal Ball and Become the Most Proactive Contact Center You Know
One of the best parts of disrupting your contact center with CX testing automation is that it's a like giving yourself a crystal ball.
When you tap into automated call center testing and practice customer experience monitoring, you can use predictive analytics to discover challenges before customers do, and fix them before they become real issues.
Mahalakshmi Chandran, senior advisor of solutions engineering at Anthem, stated during her presentation at Cyara Xchange 2020:
"The objective of the predictive analysis is basically to identify the risks for and correlate to the areas which are more prone to risk, and identify how it could be automated and tested in a better fashion, so that we could reduce the risk."
It's not just about predictive analytics, though. It's also about shifting from reactive to proactive practices, explained Mukherjee in his own presentation at Xchange. According to Mukherjee, his contact center team was never sure what would happen during a day. Once they started automating CX testing prior to opening hours, they were able to discover issues and fix them before they turned into incidents.
Alternatively, do what Assurant does. Mark Shaw, engineering manager at Assurant, who also presented at the Xchange conference, said his company schedules tests to run after hours, and gets the results the next day.
Prevent Glitches from Escalating into Incidents, to Keep Technological Peace
In his presentation, Shaw also told attendees about that time he and his team found out that text messaging was failing for a couple clients, and it was due to changes made on the system of record side, nothing on their side.
This was a major problem, as 63% of a 2019 Avochato survey respondents "would switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel," reported PR Newswire.
It's easy to understand why they would do that, with cell phones being such a big part of our lives. According to Fortune, "nearly three-quarters of Americans (71%) who own smartphones [even] sleep with them – either by putting their phone on a nightstand, in their bed, or, for 3% of people, holding it in their hands."
So, the last thing you want, as a company that enables other companies to connect with their customers via text, is to be responsible for texts disappearing into space. Unless you're into testing the "aim your text message to the moon, and if you miss, it'll still reach the stars" metaphor, of course.
But until you hear back from the stars, what's a company to do?
That's right – automated CX testing.
As Shaw put it:
"We developed a complete set of regression [test] cases for every client that's eligible to receive text messaging. And we can set that up and we run it, you know, probably once a week, if not more often, just to make sure text messaging is going out."
Gain Superpowers to Operate Faster at Scale
Contact centers are big into efficiency and speed. After all, anyone in charge of customer experience monitoring can recite stat after stat of how little customers are willing to wait on hold or wait for a written response.
According to a 2020 Drift and Heinz Marketing report, "46% of respondents reported that they expect a response within 5 seconds or less when using a chatbot; 43% expect the same using online live chat; and 33% when using a phone or video call. In fact, this need for immediacy grew across the board averaging an increase of 25%."
But hey, we guess 5 seconds is better than the answer Velaro got in 2012, when it asked respondents how long they'd be willing to be put on hold. 32.3% said, "None. They should be answering."
That said, while some members of your team are actual human beings and can't always provide a response within 5 seconds or less, automated call center testing can help you figure out how to provide faster, more efficient responses to customers than you do now. And it's also critical for the backend.
Thanks to test automation, Shaw discovered an unexpected bug one Wednesday evening and fixed it within less than 24 hours. In the past, they would have had to wait until their usual Monday test sprints and retest everything manually. Now, using Cyara's CX testing automation platform, "we could just click 'run'," Shaw shared.
Chandran has seen automated CX testing make a positive impact on Anthem's operations too, including reaching near-zero defect leakage. In her presentation, she told Xchange attendees that "our operational efficiency enhanced by more than 20%... That includes our cycle time production [and] our productivity."
Create a Cascade of Savings in Every Aspect of Your Contact Center
Operating contact centers isn't cheap. Tom Moroney, EVP and chief commercial officer at TLC Associates, estimated that the minimum cost for the first year alone of a 50 person contact center is $2,855,056.
And, of course, the costs don't stop there. But you can start moving your contact center from a cost center toward a profit center by tapping into the significant savings that automated versus manual testing provides.
Automated CX testing "improves your quality," and "the lesser [the] defect rate [is], obviously your productivity increases," said Chandran in her presentation. Plus, reducing manual effort "indirectly cascades to reduction of resources," which leads to reducing about "2-3% of [costs]… in each and every step as we move forward," she added. For a deeper dive into the ROI of contact center testing automation, check out this Forrester report.
"From the pure cost perspective, savings are… considerable by replacing mechanical human efforts with automation – a set of tools that don't get tired, don't take bathroom breaks, and help us remove [the] element of the human error," said Mark Kayserman, VP of professional services at Genesys, in his presentation at Xchange.
Plus, it's better financially to resolve things before they become issues. "It's far more expensive to deal with residual quality issues after the customer is already in production" and the damage has been done, Kayserman said.
At Anthem, for example, Chandran and her team were "able to reduce at least 50 outages" since they started automating CX testing, Chandran said.
They were able to save on employee work, maybe even on paying extra hours – but also on the cost of customer frustration.
Not only does it take "12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience," but "customers will share their negative experience with about 15 people," reported HubSpot. Thankfully, by leveraging automated call center testing and customer experience monitoring, you can create the opposite effect.
Uplift Customer Experience to Create a New Profit Center
"It's imperative that we deliver quality solutions to our customers… It is not negotiable," Kayserman said.
Mukherjee emphasized the same, saying one of the biggest benefits to automating Healthfirst's contact and call center testing is "uplifting customer experience" without drowning in Excel sheets.
Companies who do the same manage to increase revenue significantly. "Even a minor improvement to a brand's customer experience quality can add tens of millions of dollars of revenue," revealed Forrester's 2020 Customer Experience Index report.
Their contact center is no longer a cost center. All of a sudden (read: after intentional strategy implementation, technology adoption, employee education and customer experience monitoring and improvement)… it's a profit center.
To learn more about our experts' CX testing automation strategies, including real life case studies that show how they found success, so you can adopt the best action plan for your contact center CX, watch the Xchange conference sessions.