Why Are Your Customer Journeys Failing?

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Filed under - Industry Insights,

Today’s contact strategies are evolving fast to meet changing customer expectations, and new channels present opportunities to create service efficiencies, but they can also involve complexity and therefore risk.

Communication environments today are highly complex, and are made up of a blend of disparate technologies, some old and others more modern, usually from several different vendors. Successful customer journeys typically depend on the connection between these systems.

In the past, organisations either assumed that the vendor’s own testing was sufficient, or they relied on manual testing to validate their contact centre infrastructure.

However, manual testing just cannot do justice to the scale and complexity of today’s contact centres; and relying on vendor testing can also be problematic, because it is often the integration of multiple vendor systems where customer journeys breakdown.

How End-to-End Automated Testing Can Help.

Automated testing is capable of simulating thousands of customer calls into your contact centre, testing the caller connection, and also ensuring every step of the subsequent journey works as it should.

It also pinpoints the cause of CX failures.

Once a call gets through, is it delivered to the right agent? Or does the customer find themselves in an endless IVR loop? Does the agent receive any screen pops with the call? Do back-end system look-ups perform as they should?

Businesses that test and monitor customer service systems are better able to achieve maximum ROI on their customer service systems (CSS) by identifying and remediating problems quickly.

1. Carrier to Hosted Network

Resulting from a mismatch between supply and demand when the customer call is transferred from the carrier network to the contact centre, busy lines or dropped calls can make customers crazy.

They often go unnoticed by call centre operations teams, until agents start taking angry calls from customers, by which time CX is compromised.

Or, perhaps even worse, your agents may be waiting ready to take calls, blissfully unaware that there is an issue. Most people overlook the fact that contact centre queues are not always caused by a shortage of agents to take them.

Once reported, contact centre leaders face the question: was it a random event? Or is it an urgent
priority to fix? The root cause may be complex and well hidden. Posing an additional question: how do you identify where the problem is fast enough using existing resources?

Here are some scenarios you might recognise:

Random – seek confirmation ID root cause, prevent/pre-empt recurrence
Customer or carrier outage Misconfigured SIP trunks and controllers
Denial-of-service attack Peak demand beyond system capacity
Insufficient bandwidth

To add another layer of complexity, what about parts of your infrastructure for which assurance is offered by a third-party host? How much visibility do you have? And do you have a choice other than to take someone else’s word CX isn’t being comprised?

Or where compromised integrity of CX goes unnoticed because of the way operations and organisational priorities are structured?

For example, Session Border Controllers (SBCs), not usually on the radar screens of business leaders, are managed by IT – who may not notice any negative impact to call quality as they monitor enterprise bandwidth from Network Operating Centres (NOCs).

Even if many customers learned to adapt using other channels or to self-serve during the pandemic, there is a growing cohort of vulnerable customers for whom such failures may pose much more than an inconvenience, with sanction an increasingly real possibility for the organization.

2. IVR Services

Sometimes described as a black box experience for customer and organization, IVRs are where first impressions are made. Problems here are commonplace, manifest, and costly too. They infuriate customers, leading to longer call times, fewer positive outcomes, and agent attrition.

So, do you know how often customers are getting trapped in IVR loops because of a phone keypad that stops working? Or misconfigured messages offering incorrect information? How many negative experiences occur before you notice customers are not getting through in an IVR outage?

Here are some further scenarios in which testing will surface, pinpoint, and quantify challenges:

Capacity-related issues Possible causes
Callers cannot get through or have to wait Insufficient agent availability
Calls are disconnecting in the IVR
Cloud-based IVR not sufficiently scalable
Latency problems
Speech recognition issues Possible causes
User intent incorrectly predicted leading to misrouting Insufficient processing power
Poor audio quality
Incorrect configuration of speech licences
Dialect, slang, or noisy environments

Testing will deliver the insight needed to pinpoint and fix failures, while ongoing monitoring ensures they get picked up and fixed fast.

3. Routing to Agent Desktop

While routing used to be based on simple “first-in-first-out” logic, multi-skilling every member of a front-line team to deal with every issue isn’t usually possible.

But the random matching of this approach often falls short, adding to the cost of transfers and negatively impacting the customer being transferred. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting to be transferred to explain all over again to a new agent.

Today, with data-driven personalization strategies the norm, the challenge of oversight for expanding routing rules rises along with the opportunity to improve the customer experience.

But how do you verify the right data gets screen-popped onto the agent desktop? And whether it appears fast enough to permit agents to personalise the customer conversation in time?

Put simply, does each routing rule event happen as intended? And are they happening in a timely fashion?

Here, again, testing offers actionable insight in those ‘moments that matter’.

4. Desktop to Completion

Other desktop events can be tracked using testing. From verifying agent log-in success, through confirmation that customer data and outcomes are received in the appropriate back-end systems all the way to post call surveying.

So, there are many steps in the lifecycle of a customer interaction where service inefficiencies creep in and the user experience is compromised. Each step can be tested and validated by an automated monitoring solution.

Testing deployment will depend on needs.  For example, one-off, focused testing is most appropriate for an infrastructure upgrade, whereas for others, permanent, ongoing monitoring capability will be required to assure the contact centre is working as it should.

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 2nd Mar 2023 - Last modified: 7th Mar 2023
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