Customers use the email and SMS (text) channels to access the contact center. Based on a survey with contact center executives, email was 18% of interactions in 2017 and is expected to decrease to 16% in 2019. SMS volume was 2% of interactions in 2017 and expected to grow to 6% in 2019, according to the Global Contact Center Survey 2017 by Deloitte1. When surveying customers, email is the second largest channel in use. Seventy percent of global customers say that they reach the contact center by phone and 63% use email, according to the 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report by Microsoft2.
Email and SMS in the Contact Center
Email is a difficult channel for contact centers to support. Similar to the phone channel, inbound email volumes spike during peak times. Contact centers need to ensure that they receive, track, and respond to every inbound email. Inbound email spikes challenge the IT infrastructure, the email management systems, and the agent staffing. Adding to the havoc is the increase in malicious email spikes, which was up 250% in 2017, with Exploit Kits and web-based attacks, such as Wanna Cry.
Outbound SMS is growing as it is being used in omnichannel interactions. Two factor authentication is becoming common where a website (e.g.,Google), sends customers a verification code via SMS, in order to log into the website. The use of SMS and other channels for authentication is on an upward trajectory. The market for multi-factor authentication is expected to grow from $4.05 billion in 2015 to $13.59 billion in 2022 at an 18.88% CAGR rate3.
SMS is also being used in innovative “multi-modal” interactions with the phone and web channels. For example, when a customer calls her wireless provider to change account information, she might be sent an SMS with a link to a website form to input the change. These new types of multi-modal offerings provide convenience, speed, and security.
Automated IVR Discovery and IVR Testing
For the email channel, the challenge for contact centers is to load test to prepare for peak times, as well as, to perform ongoing monitoring. For inbound emails, testing needs to ensure emails are received, including ones with attachments, which sometimes bounce if the attachment exceeds a certain size. Email testing needs to discern inbound emails that legitimately come from individuals vs. potential malware emails. Legitimate emails need to be captured, routed, and handled by the email management system. The response time on emails needs to be tracked. Outbound emails need to be tested to ensure they are sent out and received. Learn about load testing and our Cyara Cruncher product.
With SMS, the challenge for contact centers is in testing omnichannel interactions. In the case of two-factor authentication, the customer starts on the web, receives an SMS, and continues on the web. The complete customer journey needs to be followed from the customer’s perspective to ensure that all transitions work. Multi-modal interactions are another type of omnichannel interaction that might include IVR, SMS, web, live agent phone call, and web chat. Functional, regression, and load testing must all be done. On going performance monitoring in production is crucial to ensure that the customer experience remains high. Read Introducing Cyara 7.3: Omnichannel Testing and More.
1 “Global Contact Center Survey.” Deloitte, 2017
2 “2017 State of Global Customer Service Report.” Microsoft, 2017
3 “Global Multi-Factor Authentication Market Analysis and Forecast 2022 by Size, Share and Growth Rate.” Orbis Research, 2017