This happens far too often: Companies experience problems with their collaboration systems, but don’t catch them for hours or even days. Synthetic testing — in which a tool simulates user traffic to proactively detect and resolve outages or performance issues — is an effective solution to this problem. Through synthetic testing of collaboration systems, a partner such as CDW can automatically test the phone systems several times an hour to ensure that they are working as expected and record the entire customer experience.
Here are three scenarios where synthetic testing can add value to your collaboration systems.
1. Prevent Capacity Problems
One of my retail customers came to CDW for synthetic testing after experiencing problems with its phone system on Black Friday. On the day after Thanksgiving, retailers routinely see at least double the call volume they receive on any other day, so even a few minutes of downtime can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This retailer went through half of the busiest day of the year without realizing that capacity issues were leading to dropped calls — pushing many potential customers toward competitors. With a robust synthetic testing plan in place, companies can catch these problems in minutes, rather than hours.
2. Respond Immediately to Technology Issues
A hospital we work with has roughly 50 different toll-free lines that all feed into the same system. Over time, a handful of callers complained that they weren’t able to get through, but hospital IT leaders weren’t sure what the problem was. It took two weeks of troubleshooting to discover that the hospital’s telecommunications vendor had mistakenly disconnected two of the 50 lines. These sorts of problems often persist for such long stretches because, when a phone line is completely down, callers have no way to even register a complaint. With synthetic testing, this problem could have been caught much more quickly.
3. Catch Human Error
Not all issues with collaboration systems are due to technology problems or system overloads. Sometimes, people simply make mistakes and then fail to check their work. At one retailer we work with, an employee changed out the script that callers were supposed to hear when they first connected with the system. But the worker loaded the file incorrectly, leading to a busy signal when customers called in. This is another example of a problem that would likely have gone undetected for some time without persistent synthetic testing.
Synthetic testing is particularly valuable for organizations with high call volumes, as well as those that depend on contact centers for revenue or other mission-critical goals (such as patient outcomes, in the case of healthcare systems). Ultimately, the tool is about monitoring experiences, not systems. Business and IT leaders don’t have the time to constantly assess their collaboration solutions, but they do need a way to ensure that customers and other stakeholders are consistently having positive experiences. With synthetic testing, they can do exactly that.