Introducing something new can always cause a little uncertainty.
So as Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) No. 1 worked to deploy a new IVR system, staff knew it must ensure its 350,000 customers could continue easily making contact using the new platform.
Snohomish PUD’s customers need quick and reliable access to customer support, account information and to report critical safety issues.
This meant IT staff needed to validate that calls into the IVR were answered within a defined time period, that callers were not greeted with an unexpected announcement or were disconnected during an otherwise successful transaction.
And with winter approaching, voice quality, reliability and throughput all took on a new criticality.
Expectations that customer service lines were likely to be inundated with reports of frozen water pipes, fallen trees, line failures or life-threatening power outages meant that the system must perform under load.
Senior Project Manager, Kristi Sterling knew that load testing was vital to identify system and capacity issues before they impacted customers.
She worked with her team and selected IR Testing Solutions after reviewing current market solutions.
She said “IR was selected through a competitive bid process. We have been pleased with the service and results. We’ve conducted several tests and each time the service has been a crucial element in helping identify issues before they impacted our customers. The testing helped us identify potential issues with SIP trunks, Quality of Service (QoS), coding and more prior to deployment.”
Issues with session border controllers (SBC) that control signaling and media into the PUD needed resolving before any customer interactions went through the new IVR. This is because any throughput problems in the SBC are likely to result in delay and poor voice quality.
Kristi’s team used IR Testing Solutions cloud-based end-to-end, automated testing as a service to confirm that the new IVR provided the easy-to-use, low-effort and high quality customer experience that was intended.
She adds “IR’s real-time reporting was a vital part of the process. During the testing, reports helped technical teams understand the user experience, carry out troubleshooting and helped us collaborate with vendors in resolving issues.”
Each test call is recorded so staff can hear exactly what the customer hears, removing any ambiguity between customer perception and testing results.
Messages and error reporting can be refined as more knowledge about the specific system conditions is gained during testing.
Kristi concludes “Another benefit we’ve experienced with IR is the quality of project management. From end-to-end, the experience with IR has been positive including the bid process, contracting, test set up and scheduling tests.”
“We’ve used IR for several tests and each time their service has been a crucial element in helping identify issues before they impacted our customers. The testing helped us identify issues with SIP trunks, Quality of Service (QoS), coding and more.
“IR provides real-time reporting during the testing which helped our technical teams understand the user experience. ”
Senior Project Manager, Information Technology Services