The Holiday Rush – Load Testing your Contact Center

It seems that each year the holiday rush starts earlier.  According to Statista, in 2022 56% of consumers started their holiday shopping in October (up from 43% in 2021), which means you have just a few weeks to determine if your Contact Center is ready. But honestly, it’s not just those shoppers… there’s an uptick in travel as well as crazy weather that can cause an influx of calls to a Contact Center. Let’s find out if yours is ready!

Is your Contact Center designed to perform under load?

Can your infrastructure physically handle an extra-large number of calls. A few things to think about:

  • How many concurrent calls are we designed to take?
  • Do we have enough agents to handle a large number of calls?
  • Are the IVR call flows routing properly?
  • Do we have a callback solution, like Swampfox’s First-in-Line, ready to help with wait times?

If your infrastructure is there, the most effective way to make sure you’re Contact Center is ready is to put it through the test with automated load testing. A load test effectively emulates real-world traffic and call volumes, while monitoring parameters like IVR response times, time to connect, speech recognition, busy signals and dropped calls.

Is your IVR prepared?

Throughout the year, companies make changes to their IVRs. It’s important to make sure that any functionality changes made to the IVR will perform under load, too.

As IVR develops, some go from DTMF to speech, and there are different functionalities that customers add. You want to know, come peak season, is the customer getting the best experience when they traverse the IVR?

It’s important to be testing after any changes, but ideally testing is done regularly to ensure that the IVRs continue to serve customers well and don’t become the weak link in the client experience.  Tools that allow companies to automatically test their IVR solutions independently across a range of environments and domains, save time over doing it manually.

Are you proactively monitoring your Contact Center?

Besides having testing in place – it’s also important to make sure your lines are working before they open up to customers. You might be working with customers ready to reschedule a flight or order a Christmas gift, but you might also be dealing with phone lines and internet being down in the middle of it all. So, another key element in preparing for peak season is proactively monitoring it. This allows you to identify issues before the customer does.

Proactive monitoring means sending a test call every 15 or 30 minutes (or whatever interval you prefer) and reporting back if there are any issues with connectivity or IVR call flow. Customers often choose to monitor high traffic call flows, high-value call flows, or call flows that they know have been problematic.  Each of these can create bad customer experience if not working, but also repeat calls, which have an impact on the bottom line for the call center.

Do you know when your calls will start to ramp up?

Timing is everything! Getting ahead of peak times means knowing your traffic patterns. It’s always important to ask yourself: Is there an event that could trigger an influx of calls? By knowing when that is, you can create a good test strategy to make sure everything’s working as it should.

Planning ahead is key to a good test strategy and essential to providing a great experience during peak season. If you’re in retail or travel, you would anticipate calls starting to ramp up during the October-January period and you can prepare accordingly.

Having a good test strategy is not only essential for industries impacted by the holiday peak, but also key for other industries all year round: travel, financial services, insurance organizations and utilities face peaks at different points of the year.

While you can’t plan for that you can have an emergency response and be able to quickly test your contact center and infrastructure to check and get ready to accept a spike in calls.

Do you have the staff available?

Obviously, the goal is to automate any testing, monitoring efforts to prepare for peak (or unplanned) calls. The ability to test 1,000s or 10,000s of calls to see that your contact center is ready to start a shift is a huge time-saver.

But we have found that not all organizations have the resources to manage the process or the results of what the testing finds. This keeps them in a more reactive state. Having a partner (that has years of experience in the contact center) that can create the load test, then monitor the system while being tested and then find the root cause of the issue (should one pop up), pushes them into being proactive.

How can we help?

Nectar’s CX Assurance performance testing empowers you to be proactive and effortlessly test and optimize your CX, delivering quality performance under any circumstances and at any scale. Our solution along with Swampfox’s load testing services can help you conduct comprehensive load testing across all your CX channels, as frequently as needed. We’d love to help you determine if your Contact Center is ready for your peak season… just contact us!



The original version of this appeared on CX Today – 4 Ways to Prepare the Contact Centre for the Holiday Rush.