In 2017 severe weather wreaked havoc with the power grid; there were significant storms in the U.S. with major impacts to utilities. High winds in Pennsylvania knocked out power to 285,000 homes, and in March we saw a severe thunderstorm on the eastern seaboard that left ten million homes without power along with strong winds in Michigan that caused outages for one million residents.
Violent storms will likely become more common—as will, unfortunately, power outages. Utility companies are being more proactive about staging assets to be able to respond to outages when there is time to prepare, moving trucks, people and equipment into strategic locations to respond to reported outages. But what is being done to validate that their customers can call in when these outages occur?
It’s critical to take the necessary steps to ensure customers can reach their utility providers when they need to—it’s time to implement a proper contact center assurance strategy. Just as the organization will prepare and test its vehicles and physical assets, and train people for emergency responses, the contact center must be ready to adopt new messages and applications. Most importantly, they must be able to guarantee that they can handle the influx of calls when outages occur.
A sound Contact Center Assurance strategy involves implementing a comprehensive test and monitoring routine to validate proper function and quality. Utilities should test early and often; automating functional and regression testing in the early stage to detect problems will save time and money when compared to finding an issue in production.
Next, organizations should validate that contact centers can handle the expected volume of calls—while it is unlikely that millions will call, it could easily be tens of thousands. An outage is not the time to find out that your contact center cannot handle the load. Lastly, contact centers must be available 24×7; organizations need to ensure that they have implemented an ongoing monitoring solution that emulates customers calling in and will issue an alert when they can’t get through. Remember, the problem may not even lie with you, but rather with one of your carriers.
Learn more about how Empirix can help utilities prepare a robust contact center assurance program in order to weather any storm.