Imagine that you’ve finally secured budget to add new functionality and technology to your contact center. You’ve labored through vendor evaluations and inked a deal. You go full speed ahead on implementation to start living in the “promised land” of your newly enriched applications environment. But wait… As you cutover to production, the new stuff doesn’t work quite right, and the old stuff is faltering. Before you know it, you’re up to your eyeballs in trouble!
This scenario is all too common. The perceived “need for speed” puts pressure on internal and external resources to forego rigorous testing. The result? Downtime. Delays. Unplanned expenses. Workarounds that never get fixed and plague future efforts. Frustration for customers and the front line. And ultimately, degraded customer service.
Testing is essential for contact centers of any size when launching projects (big or small) that introduce change to your environment. Project success depends on testing telephony and data infrastructure and applications as well as applications integrated with the contact center, such as customer information systems or CRM. There are two primary testing tracks: functional testing and performance testing.
Functional testing ensures the system delivers the features and functionality defined. It includes:
- Component testing to ensure specific elements or systems are working.
- System Integration Testing or SIT to ensure that all systems and applications work, and work together correctly.
- User Acceptance Testing or UAT to ensure that the application functions according to business needs and requirements.
- Usability Testing to assess the ease with which end users navigate the application.
These tests are highly detailed and should cover as many test cases as possible (e.g., IVR and routing paths, workflows, screens). The most successful testing closely approximates the realities that will occur once the system is in production.
Performance testing prepares the solution for production. It includes:
- General performance testing to assess application response times under “typical” load conditions.
- Load testing (aka Stress testing) to see if the application and infrastructure tolerate high volumes and capacity expectations can be met.
- Fail-over for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) to verify continuity in service despite removal of various components (e.g., servers, databases, gateways, network connections) and ensure appropriate notification to IT or vendor support.
As with functional testing, performance testing plans need to identify a full range of elements that should be put through their paces.
Change is tough enough without setting yourself up for unpleasant surprises that disrupt your capacity to serve customers in excellence. A well-conceived testing strategy that covers new projects as well as proactive and problem resolution testing for existing technology will pay dividends over and over again.