Functional Testing on IVRs

Article

Pablo Ramirez

Project Manager

What is IVR? Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology has been around for over 30 years, and this is for good reason. This convenient and cost-effective solution allows callers to navigate the phone system to speak with agents, resolve problems, or make inquiries. Many IVRs act as effective self-service solutions, helping customers find answers to their questions without having to speak to an agent on site. Others aim to gather information and direct the caller to the appropriate agent.

Although IVR technology has always been the backbone of customer engagement, many factors in today’s world make it more comprehensive than ever. These include the renewed importance of automation, the increase in the number of calls on mobile devices, and the rise of speech recognition interfaces in conversations.

But even with mature technologies like IVR, there are possible problems from this growth. One of the biggest challenges that businesses are facing now is how to deal with the increasingly complex IVR system. These complex systems must be carefully monitored and maintained to ensure they continue to deliver the experience customers expect. As a result, the demand for comprehensive IVR testing solutions has also grown significantly.

The Importance of IVR Testing

Is your IVR at the forefront of the customer experience? If the IVR disconnects the call by mistake, or if “pressing 2” does not lead to the next logical step, customers who call with simple questions can easily become frustrated. In short, if your system does not work as expected, you risk unnecessarily disrupting customers.

IVR tests provide you with a line of defence against such errors. The IVR test verifies that your call-forwarding and routing options do exactly what they say every time, and it measures and monitors the maximum number of calls that can continue to work.

In addition to detecting errors, IVR tests also allow you to see the IVR flow from the customer’s perspective and make sure it is as convenient and easy to follow as possible. You may think you have designed an intuitive system, but without proper testing, you can confuse users and not get the answers they need.

A suitable IVR Testing Solution

These types of tests are basic practices that help contact centres operate at their best performance. But not all testing methods are the same. Some centres rely on manual testing, but manual testing is time consuming and expensive.

Automating the IVR testing process removes these barriers. With an automated solution, more frequent and in-depth testing is possible to ensure consistency of performance and detect problems before they affect Customer Experience (CX).

Time-consuming Process

IVR application testing involves various menus, sub-menus and their related options – plus let’s add IVRs with IA to all that!

A tester needs to test each and every option carefully and it is quite a tedious task. Since each menu can have multiple sub-menus and each sub-menu has multiple options, a tester must thoroughly test all positive, negative, and error-prone scenarios. All this process is time consuming and involves high costs for organisations.

Due to all of the above reasons, it is necessary to automate IVR application testing. There are several automation tools available that supplant human effort to dial a specific IVR phone number and can provide DTMF inputs to the IVR system. Nowadays, the world’s largest companies are using an automation tool to test their IVR application.

IVR Discovery and Documentation Test

Many companies have the latest IVR systems, but lack current documentation on call flow and customer journey. Companies in this position must manually explore their IVR software or implement system changes based on risk assumptions and hope for the best.

Automated Function IVR Test

The IVR development team is under tremendous pressure to add new features and improve CX. Although Agile and DevOps processes speed up development, the reality is that IT teams often lower the priority of IVR testing and instead dedicate resources to newer or higher-priority projects. The test date is delayed and the “start” date is not delayed, reducing test time and increasing the risk of production defects.

Functional testing is a quality assurance practice that ensures the software your teams develop and implement meets all of your business requirements. That means ensuring that newly developed or upgraded IVR systems work as designed. Automated scripting is the best practice for these types of cases, as it ensures that your test scripts are always up to date and in line with expectations.

Automated IVR regression testing

Regression testing is a type of software testing that verifies previously developed and tested software continues to perform as designed, even after code changes, updates, additions, and integrations. For IVRs, regression testing should ensure that updates have not broken any other elements of the IVR system, such as call flows, recordings, or routing connections. You can perform automated IVR regression testing by creating a library of test cases and test blocks that can be used individually, as needed, or as part of full and automatically executed regression testing campaigns. This method takes less time than manual testing, so you can cover more of your system on a regular basis.

Our Experience

Connectis’ experience in this type of testing is to be pioneers in Chile, for this we have achieved a commercial and technical relationship with Cyara, one of the world’s leading suppliers in the market of tools of this type.

Cyara is the world’s leading market provider and tracking tool. Cyara provides an automated way to interact with a customer experience channel known as IVR. It is used to simulate the IVR application so that end-to-end testing can be seamlessly possible. For many organizations, the Cyara platform automates IVR development and customer experience testing.

Our specialists have managed to integrate this powerful tool with others that automate business processes, further enhancing their capabilities, integrating tools such as UiPath, Jira, Selemium, Postman.

The experience of using Cyara and its Velocity and Cruncher module has been very good, the learning curve of these two modules was very fast.

Being able to model a complex flow of the IVR quickly and in an automated way allowed us to considerably reduce the times of the creation of the scripts for the tests, functional and regression.

These same scripts were later used for the other module, which is Cruncher, a powerful tool that allows load testing of IVRs, simulating multiple calls concurrently.

Test executions are carried out under campaigns, which can be scheduled at delayed times, in night processes that can be reviewed the next day in the reports provided by this tool.

Some features of this tool

  • Test extensively. By eliminating the labour and time concerns of a manual test, the right automated solution can efficiently cover more areas and ensure a fully functional system.
  • Obtain objective results. Compared to a manual test, automated tests eliminate much of the potential for human error, ensuring that tests do exactly what they are designed to do.
  • Capture call recordings with each test. Automated tests can objectively rate items such as sound quality, compared to a human tester.
  • Test before and after your code goes into production: Along the way to a fully operational system, you can continually test multiple items and look for unexpected changes and challenges.
  • Save time: Ultimately, automating as many processes as possible saves time and increases efficiency in the long run, making it easier to test more and more frequently.

Previously we talked about the importance of AI in our lives and in technology, where AI is clearly evident in IVRs, the APIs of Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are putting natural language within the reach of companies.

Without a doubt, being able to have a tool of this type and knowing how to apply it for the benefit of our clients is an added value that differentiates us.

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