To ensure availability and response times of business-critical services on the web. To gain real-time awareness of end-user issues in order to address them promptly.
Round-the-clock synthetic monitoring of the speed and accessibility of internet services from the perspective of website visitors.
• Immediate notification of service disruptions or poor performance with real-time alerting
• Visibility into when, where, and how errors occur with sophisticated diagnostic features.
Ticket has been in the leisure travel business in Sweden and Norway for the past 30 years. Ticket is the Nordic region’s largest private travel agency chain with high customer satisfaction, and now serves customers throughout Europe through its different brands.
In Sweden and Norway, Ticket offers a unique blend of customer care on the phone, on the internet, and in stores. This omnichannel mix means that all of the technologies involved must converge seamlessly, so that Ticket’s staff of some 300 representatives can provide fast, excellent service.
Ticket’s IT/Dev team is responsible for the functionality delivered to users of the Ticket website, as well as the company’s telephone systems, CRM, and other applications. To do this, the IT/Dev team works closely with external providers. In all, over 20 people are involved in ensuring high-performing digital services for Ticket customers and staff.
Until the first years of the 21st century, the Ticket website had been mainly a contact point for services provided on the phone and in stores. When Ticket began to offer online bookings, the website became an essential vector of revenues. Website availability and performance had become critical to business.
Ticket naturally was already keeping an eye on systems to make sure all technical aspects were running smoothly on the inside. However, to understand how things were working for online customers, it needed an “outside-to-inside” or “end-user” view of its digital services.
The aim was to make sure the website was up and responding to visitors at all times. As Ticket IT Manager Christer Ström puts it, “If our website doesn’t do what visitors expect it to do, another travel site is just a click away.” As he told ip-label, ”It’s simple: if our customers are not satisfied, they are not coming back.” This marked the start of Ticket’s long-term relationship with end-user monitoring.
Ticket opted for a synthetic monitoring solution (also called ‘active monitoring’ or ‘robot monitoring’), which measures the performance of a website or application from the user’s point of view. Robots run programmable scenarios or ‘scripts’ which simulate user journeys, to interact with the website the way a human would. While they run, the solution measures the availability and response times that they encounter.
Ticket’s need for end-user monitoring and related services has evolved over the years. After starting with synthetic monitoring and load testing in Sweden and Norway in the early 2000s, Ticket expanded across the Nordics and Europe with the addition of brands like AIRnGO and Charter. To monitor all of these areas, Ticket relies on ip-label, a leading European specialist of application performance management. With its extensive metrology network, ip-label was able to set up additional monitoring to help Ticket optimize the online experience of audiences throughout Europe and Scandinavia.
The next change in Ticket’s monitoring needs had been developing gradually over a decade. Ticket had observed that customers were increasingly using smartphones and tablets for searches. To meet this new demand, ip-label added mobile monitoring to Ticket’s synthetic monitoring package.
These days, for continuous end-user monitoring and any specific requirements that arise, the ip-label solution runs 20 to 30 different desktop and mobile user journeys at 15-minute intervals day and night, seven days a week, to check the performance of all Ticket brand websites.
When website specialists talk about performance, they consider two main questions. Is the site running and can visitors interact with it (‘availability’)? Does it respond appropriately without delay (‘response times’)?
One of the many challenges to ensuring a perfect website experience is third-party content. Such elements may be unavailable or take a long time to respond, but because they are maintained by other companies, Ticket has no direct control over them. End-user monitoring is the only way to know, day or night, whether third-party content is working.
ip-label issues alerts to Ticket teams in the office as soon as the solution detects any performance deficiency. Two Ticket team members also receive SMS notifications on weekends and after hours, which they prioritize for action. This way, technicians can be assigned to investigate incidents in-house or with third-party providers and resolve them even before customers notice any problem.
“We rely on ip-label to help us stay on top of things, especially outside office hours. As long as we get no alerts, we can be confident that our system is up and running smoothly for our customers.” Christer Ström, IT Manager at Ticket
The IT/Dev team at Ticket is attentive to any downtime or sluggish site behavior because of their potential impact on reputation and revenues. The website is one essential component of the omnichannel customer experience. When all digital and store services are functioning optimally with each other, Ticket staff can devote 100% of their attention to keeping customers happy. The effect can be seen immediately on all the usual media, such as Trustpilot.
The travel industry was greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In the aftermath of this global challenge, Ticket and ip-label look forward to further mutual development.
Ticket continues to benefit from full-featured synthetic monitoring and may explore additional options as ip-label transitions its customers to the new hybrid product, Ekara. With Ekara, ip-label is poised to play its part in the post-pandemic world by taking care of its customers and helping them get the most value from their end-user monitoring.