Communications Blog • 5 MIN READ

The Testing Maturity Model

Skip Chilcott

Written by Skip Chilcott

Unified communications systems are sophisticated, with complexity that can vary depending on the organization and industry. These systems also change on a regular basis with upgrades, improvements, changes to network infrastructure, applications, and more. So how do you know when changes affect the overall experience for users and customers? Are you testing the system regularly? On an hourly, daily, weekly basis? Even though you may be testing on a regular basis, you should ask yourself a couple of important questions to determine if you are testing correctly:

  1. Level of testing sophistication
    • Are you performing a large number of simple tests to check many aspects of your solution such as calling various inbound phone numbers of customer service lines or locations, or small number of complex tests like the call flows through an IVR system each day to check for changes or bad experiences? Do you test from the inside or the outside of your environment to check for issues caused by a service provider or carrier vs. internal systems?
  2. Manual vs. Automated
    • Are people sitting down and running through a checklist every day? 30 minutes before your business opens or shortly after opening time, does someone make sure you opened correctly? Do they follow a checklist to dial in and ensure that the phone systems are working properly? Is the testing performed by a single person or a bank of many people from a foreign country?
    • On the other hand, do you perform automated testing with software that runs on a regular basis so you don't have to worry about it? If a problem is found, does the software automatically send a notification so you can address and fix the issue right away? It ultimately comes down to whether you are being proactive or reactive about the situation.

Maximizing Results

The testing maturity model is a grid providing a framework for customers to do a basic self-assessment to identify where they are currently and where they want to be in the future. The more automated and comprehensive the testing strategy, the higher the user and customer satisfaction will be. Customers calling into an organization's contact center will simply encounter better overall customer service experience.

Whether it's a cost-saving enterprise like customer service or billing or a profit center where you are selling or cross-selling products/services, you can clearly see the improved results that come from automated testing. The return on investment for both the customer and the organization will be higher.

How Much Testing is Best?

There is no silver bullet for the right amount of testing—the answer is different for every customer/industry and it really depends on how you intend to approach the issue. At IR, we recognize we aren't experts in every industry. We cannot tell a customer we know the correct level of testing for their unique situation. Instead, we engage in a dialog and leave it up to the customer to best understand their business. However, most organizations will fully admit that they only perform a minimal amount of testing due to a shortage of time and resources. They simply cannot spend enough time to test everything constantly.

Some organizations are way more complicated than others. At the end of the day, though, you must put a communications system and customer facing experience into place in one form or another. Taking full advantage of that investment by making sure it is behaving exactly how you want,delivering the results you expect, and it actually functions technically should be an important aspect of any customer service and communications solution and strategy.

We provide testing services to some of the largest banks, retailers, and enterprises in the world all the way down to the smallest businesses that want to make sure that the phone can ring all the way through to their office if they are busy with customers. What happens to the call, for example? Does it go to voicemail? Does it drop off with no answer? Those key discussion points facilitate collaboration about our testing maturity model. Customers know the end result they are trying to achieve—we know which testing services and strategies will get them there.

HeartBeat™

The suite of IR Testing Solutions includes HeartBeat, which basically makes inbound calls on a regular basis (e.g. once an hour) testing different aspects of the system based on the pattern specific and outcomes expected. Using real telephone calls coming from the outside, just like customers do - it sends a 'pulse' call at regular intervals to ensure systems are working as intended.

StressTest™

If you designed your communication system to handle hundreds or thousands of calls at any given time, how do you know it can actually stand up to the demand? You cannot be completely certain until you actually receive the maximum level of intended traffic. With StressTest, you find bottle-necks and identify issues before they occur to customers, allowing you to take corrective action.

StressTest can place thousands of calls at simultaneous points wherever, and whenever you want to make sure the technology will withstand the demand you've designed it for. The only way to find out is when it fails - and you don't want this to be when real customers are trying to contact you.

So, where does your organization sit on the Testing Maturity Model? Start the discussion below.

Topics: Communications

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