Interactive Voice Response (IVR) may be a mature 30 year old, but it is having a growth spurt like a teenager. The renewed importance of automation on brand experiences, the growing number of calls on mobile devices, and the increase in speech recognition conversational interfaces all point to an upward trajectory. The market for IVR software was $3.7 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $5.5 billion by 2023, according to Research and Markets. Companies continue to update their IVR platform and IVR software with new capabilities and many are moving their IVR to the cloud.
The challenge for companies is that IVR systems are becoming more complex. The need for comprehensive IVR testing has never been greater. Most voice self-service environments incorporate different technical components such as the IVR software (voice portal), VoiceXML applications, speech recognition, VUI, text-to-speech, and IP telephony infrastructure that must all work together. New technologies such as visual IVR, voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI), and conversational user interfaces exacerbate the testing challenge. The vast majority of organizations find themselves with IVR software that has been updated over time and is largely undocumented. The effort to document a large IVR system is slow and resource-intensive and many companies simply do not do it. Without proper documentation of an IVR, it is very difficult to create an IVR map from scratch and write test scripts.
Comprehensive IVR Testing Tools Needed
To assure a flawless customer experience (CX), organizations need comprehensive IVR testing tools that:
- Automate the documentation of existing IVR call flows and applications
- Automate functional and regression testing
- Provide statistical language modeling (SLM) testing for speech recognition
- Update test cases when IVR design changes are made
- Perform load testing to ensure that the IVR functions as designed during peak times
- Monitor production and identify issues proactively
IVR Testing Best Practices
IVR Discovery and Documentation Testing
Many enterprises have IVR software that has been updated over the years but the documentation on the IVR has not. Companies have had to manually explore the paths and options in IVR software, or simply make changes and hope for the best. Migrating or making changes to legacy IVR software has been all but impossible due to the high risk of modifying an IVR without knowing how the IVR was designed. The solution needed is an automated discovery capability to fully document the IVR software and create IVR test scripts for functional and regression testing. Learn about the Cyara Velocity product and IVR Discovery.
Automated IVR Functional and Regression Testing
IVR development teams are under tremendous pressure to add new functionality and improve the CX. Agile and DevOps processes have accelerated development but the reality is that IVR testing gets deprioritized. Testing dates get pushed out but final “go live” dates do not, reducing the time to test and increasing the risk of defects slipping into production. CX is only as good as what can be tested. Given limited time and call tester resources, an automated IVR testing tool is needed.
Functional testing for software development is a process that ensures that the software developed conforms with all the requirements. IVR functional testing needs to ensure that a newly developed or updated IVR performs as designed. Automated scripting is required so that test scripts are always up-to-date.
Regression testing is a type of software testing that ensures that previously developed and tested software still performs the same way after it is changed or interfaced with other software. For IVR testing, regression testing should ensure that updates have not broken any other parts of the IVR software. Companies need advanced IVR testing tools to automatically create and run regression tests. IVR best practices for regression testing include creating test cases and test blocks which can be automatically run. Learn about the Cyara Velocity product, Functional Testing, and Best Practices for IVR Testing.
Statistical Language Modeling Testing for Speech Recognition
If Statistical Language Modeling (SLM) is implemented for speech recognition, the Voice User Interface (VUI) for each language, application logic, performance at the interaction level, and performance of the SLM need to be tested. An IVR testing tool that is tailored for SLM can perform this automated testing and reduce the manual work of speech testers. Learn about the Cyara Velocity product, Functional Testing, and Best Practices for IVR Testing.
Automated IVR Test Case Updating
IVRs are constantly being tuned and updated. The only way to keep pace with updates is a solution that automatically updates IVR test cases when changes are made. Learn about the Cyara Velocity product.
Call spikes are often triggered by external events that are out of your control and difficult to predict. A sustained high volume of calls puts pressure on IVR software. IVRs are often massive applications with many branches and prompts. The only way to ensure that IVR software is prepared for call spikes and sustained traffic is to have a solution that automatically generates thousands of simultaneous calls, simulating real-world call volume. Learn about the Cyara Cruncher product and Load Testing.
Customer Experience Monitoring for IVR Software
Can a customer reliably connect and complete interactions with your IVR? Will your organization know of an IVR defect before the customer does? These are questions that plague organizations. What is needed is an IVR monitoring tool that evaluates a system from the customer perspective, by mimicking a customer and following specific customer journeys. An advanced IVR testing tool is needed to continuously send calls into the IVR software and go through the call flows just like real customers. This process enables companies to uncover issues before customers do. Learn about the Cyara Pulse product, CX Monitoring solutions, What Is an IVR? and Comparing Active and Passive Product Monitoring blog.
IVR software is seeing a resurgence driven by the need to automate brand experiences, the increase in mobile interactions, and the increase in conversational interfaces. The increasingly complex IVR environment forces companies to seek automated IVR testing tools that can cover the broad range of testing needs.Read Best Practices for IVR Testing