Migrating Your Contact Centers to the Cloud? Follow These 5 Best Practices


Today, most enterprises are moving their contact centers to the cloud to deliver seamless customer experiences. In this article, James Isaacs, president, Cyara, explains five quality assurance best practices to follow when migrating the contact center architecture to the cloud.

As the cornerstone of business-to-customer communication, the contact center has become the epicenter for digital transformation in the enterprise. Today, companies must deliver innovative, flawless customer experiences to stay competitive. To achieve this, the majority of enterprises are moving their contact centers to the cloud. 

According to a global customer experience (CX) report,Opens a new window 81% of respondents say that moving to the cloud has improved their organization’s flexibility and 77% say it contributes to future-proofing their technology infrastructure. While there are plenty of compelling benefits for making this move, many enterprises are held back due to concerns about security, cost, systems integration, the management of legacy infrastructure and leadership inertia.

Once the transition is complete, the cloud offers contact centers increased flexibility and rapid access to new features and capabilities. However, migrating contact centers to a cloud-based platform can be a significant undertaking for many organizations. To make the transition to the cloud successful, there are five quality assurance best practices that enterprises should follow when migrating contact center infrastructure over.

1) Set a Baseline of the Customer Journey Before Starting the Migration

When starting any migration, it is crucial to document the baseline of customer journeys and channels. Many customer journeys have evolved over time and are supported by out-of-date legacy systems. This is particularly true of interactive voice response (IVR) systems that have been consolidated and updated over many years. IVRs are phone systems that use menu options for callers through phone keypad selection or speech recognition to route calls to specific departments or specialists.

Creating a baseline is crucial because, without one, it is not clear if any technical issues found during migration are pre-existing or new ones introduced by the migration. That said, the process of developing a baseline manually is resource-intensive and takes significant time. For an IVR system, enough manual calls must be made, every possible dial menu option must be tested, and every customer journey must be accounted for. It’s common for large B2C companies to have complex IVR systems with thousands of paths, so manually documenting them can take teams weeks or even months. Additionally, manual IVR documentation processes are usually more prone to errors. To establish a baseline faster and more accurately, CX teams should use a discovery mapping capability. Discovery mapping enables teams to document an IVR in hours or a few days for even the most complex IVR pathways. 

Learn More: Designing a Digital Contact Center Customer Journey That Ensures Satisfaction

2) Update and Optimize Customer Journeys for Omnichannel

As today’s world has evolved, so has the need for omnichannel customer contact solutions (whether it be chatbots, IVRs, email, phone, etc.) to meet the needs of a more globalized customer base. Today more than ever, consumers expect seamless shopping experiences where each channel knows their context and history without having to repeat their information and issue. One of the key benefits of the cloud is having the flexibility to update and optimize customer journeys. To master this, companies must assemble cross-functional teams to re-design journeys from the customer’s perspective. 

Today, it’s typical for customer journeys to start in self-service and end in agent-assisted service. Therefore, it’s important to design these omnichannel journeys taking consumer feedback and experience into consideration. Customers expect to be able to easily access account details, check on the delivery status and immediately connect with a live agent for help when necessary. To connect these siloed channels and provide a cohesive CX, the backend technology infrastructure is highly complex and comprises many moving parts.

3) Create Functional CX Tests

Another best practice is to be sure to test as you develop new journeys. For this process, you’ll want to use a design-driven testing solution that automatically creates and updates tests as the design is done. This assures that you are testing what was built exactly against the original designs, ensuring you built what you designed. 

However, it’s not enough to only test new functionality as you roll it out; it must be tested from start to finish from the customer’s perspective before the launch. Basic testing only tells you if the transfer from an IVR to a live agent is successful, but it falls short in other areas. For example, it won’t measure the quality of the connection from the customer or the agent’s perspective or provide the context of the interaction, such as if the call was passed to the agent in a timely manner. 

CX issues are constantly evolving, making it challenging for contact centers to identify issues before customers experience them. Cloud-based contact centers allow IT and CX teams to respond to issues rapidly and enable them to easily share performance data with key decision-makers at the company. This is possible with cloud-based contact centers because of the amount of data and documentation they collect and store. 

Learn More: The Challenge of Data Silos in Virtual Contact Centers: How To Prevent Them

4) Assure That New Functionality Performs at Scale

When it comes to customer experience, there are no second chances. Therefore, another key step for cloud migration success is performing a load test to ensure that the new contact center platform, the applications built on it, and the network performs at scale and operates smoothly under pressure. 

A one-and-done load test is not enough. As part of ongoing quality assurance practices, organizations need to perform load tests on a regular basis to test ongoing system and network performance, in addition to changes that have been made since the last test. CX technical defects are highly visible to customers, and especially today, there is an extra risk to the brand if unhappy customers share their negative experiences on social media. That’s another reason why each customer journey operates seamlessly before customers notice issues. 

5) Set Up Production Monitoring

It’s imperative to know if there are problems with the customer experience before the customer encounters any issues. If your IVR systems start glitching and hanging up on customers while waiting for an agent, you must catch this technical issue before customers experience it, get frustrated and complain. IT teams should set up ongoing testing to monitor systems once in production. By emulating a customer and engaging with your production systems at regularly scheduled intervals, you will quickly identify any issues, allowing you to rapidly resolve them. This type of monitoring is critical, as with highly complex systems, there are multiple moving parts and many points of failure which may not be monitored by traditional monitoring technology. 

When monitoring CX, be sure to cover all customer journeys, channels and connections to backend systems, business rules, agent routing and other components. It’s critical to monitor and assess agent availability, transaction completion, performance and other important attributes that impact a customer’s experience with the brand. 

Learn More: Contact Center vs. Call Center: What’s the Difference?

Long-term Benefits of Cloud Migration

While the benefits and opportunities of cloud-based contact centers are compelling, there is a lot of complexity and risk involved that can hold organizations back. Despite implementation challenges, cloud technology is a unique opportunity for industries to move beyond interactions and customer journeys to a new level of personalization based on customer lifetime valueOpens a new window .

Cloud capabilities provide contact centers with added value, enabling enterprises to gather data and analytics about customers in a single system, rather than disparate systems that aren’t able to communicate with each other. Accurate customer data is key in helping your organization provide better overall CX and making better-informed decisions for the business. In turn, this benefits the customer, increases satisfaction and drives profitability. 

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