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Why a Virtual Customer Could Save Your Contact Center

Being able to deliver a delightful customer experience can be the difference between the success or failure of a business -- and that makes a 360-degree view of contact center performance management an imperative, as discussed in my previous No Jitter post, "Delivering Omnichannel Experience in Multichannel World." Exploring this idea further, it's also important that organizations get a customer's perspective on how the contact center is performing.

Performance management looks at your environment to get an understanding of the customer experience -- are all systems up and running? Are calls routing correctly? Is call quality acceptable? Ultimately, this insight comes from monitoring the internal ecosystem. The challenge is in turning the viewpoint around so you can have the same experience as the customer. But, short of having people sitting there trying to dial in to the contact center, how achievable is this?

Be the Customer
What you need is a "virtual customer," one that will behave exactly the same way as your actual customers do. It should be able to dial into your contact center, go through your IVR, interact with your live agents and all other systems, log onto your website, and log onto mobile devices. By performing these tasks, a virtual customer would be able to experience your customer service from the outside, just like any other customer.

When you're opening your contact center at the start of a business day, you want to be completely certain customers can get through and experience the interaction as you planned it. They're dialing in from different parts of the country, looking forward to the great service your contact center will provide them. No matter what time of day or night, your virtual customer would be there to make sure everything is working according to expectations.

The virtual customer would need to be able to do a regular service check that tries out every nook and cranny of your contact center. It would look at every single function to make sure any customer who calls in during the business day will get the service you want to deliver. It also should be able to perform checks periodically throughout the day, during the night, or even during off hours.

Withstand Peak Demand
Whether during Black Friday, storm season, open enrollment, new product releases or a major marketing campaign, you know you can expect a deluge of people contacting your organization. The question is, how will your technology stand up -- just how big will the stress be on the system?

Proactive testing ensures the rich omnichannel experiences you offer will be load-tested. You can see exactly how much of a load your systems can handle before they break. The ultimate goal is to be completely certain your websites, telephony, mobile interactions, and other channels will all be up to the task.

We all know what it feels like to be a customer attempting to use a system only to watch it fall over. It could be in government, retail, financial services, healthcare, or utility companies (especially during storm season; see related post, "Test Your HA Architecture Before Peak Season"). At a bricks and mortar store, all it takes is a shopping cart with a squeaky wheel to sour our entire impression of a company.

Today's squeaky wheel is a website error or dead-end in an IVR. Unfortunately the impact is amplified, impacting many more customers, and often difficult to detect. Of course, no amount of actual human effort will result in the testing of every nook and cranny of an environment. That's why it's absolutely necessary to deploy virtual customers to have peace of mind that you are consistently delivering an outstanding customer experience.