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Cyara Executive Interview

Alok Kulkarni, Cyara CEO and Co-Founder, Cyara


What significant changes have you seen over the last 5 years in the customer experience space? What do businesses need to do to keep up with the rapid pace of evolution?   

In the last 5 years, we have seen a move to a disaggregated ecosystem with the convergence of IP telephony and digital channels for customer communications. We’ve also seen transactional communications, which are the low-value, high-frequency communications, directed to self-service applications to free up customer service representatives for longer, more complex queries. Overall there is an emphasis on personalized, omni-channel customer journeys. Where we used to measure efficiency metrics such as AHT, GOS, etc., we now measure effectiveness with NPS, Customer Effort, and CSat. We’ve also seen the adoption of Agile and much shorter release cycles for contact center development.   

What challenges does the need to deliver consistent, effective omni-channel service present to contact center operations?   

The biggest challenge in today’s contact centers is keeping up with the pace of change; for example, one of our customers, a large telecommunications provider in Australia, roles out new contact center code twice a week. When you think about development at that pace, you realize that Agile is the only way to deliver successfully at that speed, especially given the complexity of multiple channels. The next biggest challenge is to manage the risk to the brand in the age of social media. In the past, a few customers may have noticed a customer-facing issue or one customer may have had a bad customer experience. Today, with social media, customer-facing issues and bad experiences can be shared socially, making risk much more difficult and costly for organizations.   

How does your technology enable companies to be more agile in testing and improving the customer experience they provide?   

The Cyara platform is easy to use, enabling rapid adoption. The platform’s API seamlessly integrates with Agile frameworks, which enables rapid innovation. In fact, Cyara customers innovate 40% to 70% faster than their peers. It is a single platform that is omni-channel ready, independent, and technology agnostic. It provides an outside-in customer-centric view of CX covering all aspects of the innovation lifecycle (Baseline, Performance Testing, Functional Testing, Regression Testing and Monitoring), and it makes adding and testing new capabilities at scale a breeze.    

With the Cyara Platform innovating fearlessly at scale becomes a low-risk option. In fact, Cyara’s Customer Experience Innovation Lifecycle (CXIL) methodology includes specific steps for innovation that correspond to Agile development. Also, Cyara’s process is to test early and test often, which reduces time in defect by identifying the cause of an issue — quickly saving customers both time and money.   

Why do so many companies find updating their IVR to be such a difficult and time-consuming task?   

Before Crawler, making changes to IVR applications was risky and time-consuming. When an IVR is changed, the changes need to be tested. This requires the time-consuming task of building test scripts to match the production applications, which is almost impossible without documentation on the IVR or if the documentation is out of date. Hence, changes were slow and not fully tested. As companies merge or change vendors, Crawler’s automated discovery and script building capability makes it possible to safely migrate or upgrade legacy IVRs.      

How does the addition of the Cyara Crawler to your platform make it easier and less risky to upgrade existing IVR systems?   

Crawler is able to discover and map IVR call flows automatically and simultaneously build the scripts needed for testing the customer experience.

Crawler eliminates up to 90% of the manual labor based on feedback from users. This labor would have been required for manual discovery of the options in the IVR and for writing test cases without Crawler’s automation.    

Crawler’s automated testing also ensures that 100% of the IVR’s functionality is tested, reducing deployment risk for customers. In a manual scenario, typically only about 20% of the IVR’s functionality is tested, leaving 80% of the application that could contain issues that will impact customers.   

How can your platform be used to monitor specific functionalities and alert businesses to any problems in real time?   

The Cyara platform assumes the role of a virtual customer placing actual interactions into the enterprise. Cyara can detect any negative customer experience issues such as time to connect, voice quality, delays in response times, accuracy of data and prompts, and text heard and seen by the user through time in queue and if the customer data presented to the advisor is timely and accurate. This Customer Insight provides immediate notifications and actionable insight the operational team can use to quickly resolve any issues.    

We recently interviewed a retail energy leader in the UK who uses Cyara for monitoring, providing real time status information on their contact center. Since implementing Cyara for monitoring, this customer has gone from having customers report issues on an hourly basis to a positive position where they know about any issues immediately and are able to proactively notify customers regarding expected resolutions.  This is a dramatic turnaround for an organization that is graded on customer satisfaction.