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Why testing is critical for UC and Contact Center Success

About the author:

As global head of product marketing, Skip Chilcott leads worldwide product marketing at IR. He is a 20-plus year veteran of the communications and collaboration industry, dating to the early 1990s with his time at Placeware Web Conferencing. Before joining IR, Skip spent 12 years at Microsoft, involved early on in real-time collaboration, unified communications, and cloud productivity products and services. Most recently there, he focused on the Lync/Skype for Business and Office 365 go-to-market strategy and execution.


More From Skip Chilcott
About the author:

As global head of product marketing, Skip Chilcott leads worldwide product marketing at IR. He is a 20-plus year veteran of the communications and collaboration industry, dating to the early 1990s with his time at Placeware Web Conferencing. Before joining IR, Skip spent 12 years at Microsoft, involved early on in real-time collaboration, unified communications, and cloud productivity products and services. Most recently there, he focused on the Lync/Skype for Business and Office 365 go-to-market strategy and execution.


More From Skip Chilcott
18-Jun-2016

Testing your organizations unified communications and contact center eco-systems is critical to delivering end-user and customer experience. In this latest podcast, Skip Chilcott - Global Head of Product Marketing - discusses why testing before issues occur can save a lot of time, money and reputations.

For more from the UC Podcast subscribe or follow us on SoundCloud  and iTunes

Transcript

Scott: It’s important to constantly test your contact center capabilities. Skip Chilcott with IR joins us to talk about it. Skip, what should we be testing?

Skip: Lot’s of areas that need to be tested. First of all, you know, load testing to make sure that peak, your systems can handle peak loaded events. So, from a contact center perspective, you might be taking X number of calls every day, every hour. It’s pretty predictable. You kind of know your business based on historical data. But what happens when there’s a peak loaded event? 

So let’s say you’re a utilities company and, you know, there’s a powerful storm coming. You know it’s going to generate an enormous amount of calls that you can’t really know if your system can handle so you need to test in advance that says hey, when that peak load comes, are we ready to handle it? Are our systems up and running? Are our vendors and our providers, are they ready to go? You know, can we handle, you know, that spike in calls that we built our system to handle? That’s something that you got to test in advance because most likely if you’ve never done that before, when it happens something’s not going to work right and so peak loaded testing or stress testing pretty important. 

From a unified communications perspective, same kind of thing. As you move users onto the system, you know, what happens if there’s some sort of an event out there and it starts generating a lot of phone calls? What if there’s a bad news article and all of a sudden now everybody’s starting to call each other to fix problems with software or respond to press or media. You can kind of think of some of the news stories out there around security, you know, things of that nature. You know, can they handle it or, you know, are they just going to get I’ve been calling this company all day and nobody answers the phone. It might not be a fact that they’re not answering. It might be the fact that the calls are just not getting through to the right people at the right time. So those are kind of the load testing aspects. The other angle is, you know, from a customer experience perspective, is the system operating and giving you the expected result that you want? Are customers getting their problems solved or are they not? Are they satisfied? If they go to the website and they interact with your company via the website, is it working correctly? In the customer service area, when you call in and go through the IVR trees, are the IVR trees working correctly and routing your call where you need to, or do you get into the proverbial customer no service frustration? You know, do they walk away frustrated? You know, there’s a lot of things you can test for and, you know, IR has the testing solutions for all of those scenarios to make sure that the system in which you invested so much money in is generating the results that you want.

Scott: I can imagine someone listening right now and saying, okay Skip, I get it. You’re right. I should, you know, do a load testing, make sure everything’s working the way it should and the customer experience, sure, that makes sense so I’ll test it and it passes and I’m done. Not true, right?

Skip: You know what? No test is ever—testing is something we believe that should be happening on an ongoing basis. Sure there’s a big project you probably want to do to say, hey, let’s test this thing out so that we know we’re ready for, you know, if we’re a retailer, we know we’re ready for the holidays and you test for it way in advance. Another example, you know, could be tax season and you’re, you know, H&R Block. Are you ready to take all those phone calls? If you’re going to run an ad campaign, are you going to be ready to take all the calls with the phone number that hits all the television screens? You know, things of that nature or your website address. But that’s just one time. You know, if it’s a, you know, ongoing basis, you know, that campaign’s going to run for a while so is it working every day after that? So it’s something you just need to kind of pulse test on an ongoing basis. Are the phones available and ready to be answered, you know, before we open up for business every day? Are the conference bridge phone numbers available? Are the bridges answering, you know, every day before all the employees get to work and start doing their online meetings? There’s a bunch of different things like that. So, it’s something that—and problems happen. They happen, and monitoring software is designed to kind of, you know, catch the technology side of things, but if the phone doesn’t answer or it’s not working right, you know, how do you know that? So kind of we call it heartbeat or pulse kind of ongoing testing of various degrees. You can test for all sorts of things. You just need to kind of design it out and then test for it every day, every hour, every minute. You know, whatever you want to do. It’s an ongoing basis so that, you know, you get that comfort that systems are operating every day.

Scott: And we’re not talking just about an emergency response exercise here, either, are we? I mean, I think there’s a prevention element as well.

Skip: Yeah, this is really about finding problems before you have to react to them. Find them in advance and that’s really the key. So an ounce of prevention goes a long ways because the costs of downtime are far more severe than if you can find the problem ahead of time and solve it. That time that you are down or out of service or whatever is far reduced if you find it in advance and sometimes it never even happens because you can switch to a backup or alternative. But prevention goes a long ways.

Scott: IR can help when it comes to testing and monitoring your UC and Contact Center eco-systems. Find out how at IR.com.

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About the author:

As global head of product marketing, Skip Chilcott leads worldwide product marketing at IR. He is a 20-plus year veteran of the communications and collaboration industry, dating to the early 1990s with his time at Placeware Web Conferencing. Before joining IR, Skip spent 12 years at Microsoft, involved early on in real-time collaboration, unified communications, and cloud productivity products and services. Most recently there, he focused on the Lync/Skype for Business and Office 365 go-to-market strategy and execution.


More From Skip Chilcott