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How to Deliver Cloud-Tested Customer Experience
Transitioning communications technology from a premises deployment to the cloud has the potential to dramatically enhance the customer experience you deliver. All these "as a service" components are readily available at a moment's notice and can provide a tremendous amount of benefit related to security and resiliency, thanks to the cloud's redundancy.
Initially, however, you might find the move daunting. Even though you might have an ironclad SLA on paper, the entire technology platform is no longer yours to oversee. You're trading all the hardware that used to be under your wing for the advantages of the cloud. Let's delve into exactly why this tradeoff is worth it in the long run.
In the old days, provisioning call centers required you to anticipate and build for peak demand. Even though peak demand might only last 30% of your calendar year, you were saddled with those expenses for the entire period. The benefits of the cloud in terms of elasticity of capacity, security, redundancy, and resiliency are tremendous. However, because you no longer control the infrastructure, you must ensure that your cloud provider is living up to its SLA. That's where testing comes into play.
Testing involves generating peak traffic across multiple channels to ensure applications, databases, and integrations work as intended under load. No matter where the unified communications or contact center technology lives, whether that's in the backroom in your own data center or in a hybrid environment with some of the components in the cloud, you must access, interact with, and exercise it in a way similar to real-world use. As you transition to the cloud you must make sure that the technology you've put into place can handle the expected load and deliver a great customer experience.
If you perform effective testing ahead of time, you can make sure that the cloud transition will provide the capacity and quality that you expect -- and that your brand demands. When your customers interact with technology that was relocated to the cloud, it will work at capacity just as expected.
How can you determine if the customer experience continues to be delivered according to your brand's standards? By performing ongoing experience testing on an operational basis. Act as a secret shopper by trying to log into the Website, trying to initiate a transaction using the IVR, or perhaps even by making sure that calls are properly routed to the agent desktop (based on skills-based routing or outsourcing).
Ultimately, this manner of testing helps you to continuously confirm that all the benefits of moving to the cloud are fully realized. You can be confident that the customer experience is at the high level that you and your customers have come to expect.
Mike Burke has banked more than 45 years in telecommunications, contact centers and networking while working at Honeywell, GTE, PNC Associates, Verizon, IQ Services, and, now, IR Testing Solutions.