Chris O’Brien at Cyara explores how proactive, continuous testing can save you significantly in the long run.
No one has to convince call centre executives of the value of achieving a high bar of customer experience. Regardless of your industry, if you’re running a call centre, CX is your bread and butter. Your ability to deliver in this area dramatically affects your bottom line.
Still, when you look at the costs of what it takes to reach that high bar, you might pause. Surely there’s a shortcut, right? Will it really pay off to go all the way to make sure our CX reaches its full potential?
As is always the case with any decision about how to invest your business’s resources, it’s not really about what it costs to get where you want to go. It’s about what it will cost if you don’t do what it takes to get there.
And for call centres, the cost of relying on outdated, reactive testing methods is far greater than the cost of becoming proactive.
Paying for CX Assurance
There’s no way around it. Achieving true CX assurance carries a significant upfront cost. Many call centres still rely on legacy tools and infrastructure, and roughly half have yet to transition their operations to the cloud. For many, years of growth and acquisitions mean they’re working with a cluttered mess of IVR systems.
Not only that but the methods they rely on for testing those systems are typically built on manual labor and processes. As a result, the volume and frequency of testing are nowhere near what they need to be to ensure a strong customer experience.
A call centre in this situation may have no idea how extensive its customer service issues are because it isn’t testing or monitoring the IVR environment enough to get a complete picture.
To change this requires a substantial investment — likely tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on company size — in cloud migration and continuous, automated testing and monitoring.
Those big numbers can be scary. But, again, it’s not fundamentally about those numbers. The real question is, what will it cost you if you don’t go there?
The True Cost of Staying Reactive
When you’re dealing with thousands of customers all over a continent — or even the globe — there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Poor voice quality misrouted or dropped calls, and outdated menus are just a few common issues that can cause serious problems.
The only way to avoid these issues is to shift from a reactive testing approach to a proactive one. To understand why, consider the 1-10-100 rule, developed by George Labovitz and YuSang Chang in 1992.
To put it simply, the rule states that, for every $1 it takes to prevent a problem, it takes $10 to correct that problem after the fact — or $100 to deal with the repercussions if you don’t correct it at all.
Now, consider a call centre using a reactive testing model. Because it relies on largely manual testing processes, it’s forced to limit the amount of testing it does.
Rather than building functional and regression testing into the entire software development process, it may only employ basic load testing and monitoring in the live environment or right before software deployment.
When you only catch problems at later stages of development or in the live environment, you’re already too late.
That means you’re either postponing deployment so developers can sift through layers of code to correct the issue, or you’re dealing with downtime and dropped calls that are affecting real customers.
For a typical call centre with 10,000 employees servicing 20 million calls annually, those costs alone can amount to over $1 million per year. And that doesn’t include the price of a damaged reputation with customers and potential long-term revenue losses.
The ROI of Being Proactive
With reactive testing, all your costs fall in the latter two stages of that 1-10-100 rule. Proactive testing moves most of them to that first stage. Instead of $10 or $100 to fix problems or deal with the fallout, you’re paying $1 to prevent those issues in the first place.
Consider a call centre that uses this model. Instead of a smattering of late-stage testing and occasional live monitoring, this call centre employs automated testing throughout the entire development process.
Functional and regression tests happen early and often — without significant manual labor — while software is being coded. Developers catch code errors before they snowball into deployment-stopping disasters.
In the live IVR system for this call centre, monitoring never stops. Developers are alerted to issues long before they cause downtime or lead to a frustrating customer exchange. They can respond accordingly to fix the problem without any interruption in service.
It’s easy to see how this proactive call centre would experience substantial savings compared to the reactive one.
According to the rule, for every dollar the former spends on CX assurance, the latter spends $10 or $100. Beyond those costs, that call centre probably still can’t achieve the same level of CX and faces the residual costs of customer attrition down the road.
In our experience, this has proven true. According to an economic impact study conducted by Forrester, a typical company that uses Cyara realizes a boost in cash flow of over $5.7 million over three years, despite the cost of investing in our software and services. That’s a 283% return on the investment you make to ensure you have the proactive tools and systems you need.
Invest in High-Quality CX
When you’re counting the costs of investing in CX assurance, it’s never enough to look only at what will come out of your pocket in the short run. When you look at the true cost of CX assurance, you’ll find the benefits far outweigh what you’ll spend upfront.