How Automation Can Kick IVR Testing Into High Gear

 

Recently, Cyara officially announced the release of a new automated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) testing feature, Call Explorer. If you haven’t had the chance watch or read up on how this feature helps make it easier to shift from manual to automated testing, you can learn more here

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In addition to making test case authoring much easier, Call Explorer also helps to support teams of manual contact center and IVR testers. How? 

Call Explorer Aids Manual Contact Centers

Until now, manual testers responsible for testing IVRs have mostly had to watch from the sidelines as other business teams benefit from automation. Historically, there has been no easy way to off-load or streamline the task of building libraries of test scenarios that are detailed and consistent enough to be repeated. Therefore, testers end up having to build these test cases manually, over and over again. 

With test plans – detailed or sometimes not – in hand, they call into their company’s contact center, document the steps they take and the prompts they hear, and look for defects or opportunities where customer journeys could be improved. They must manually build their test cases step by step, provide proof their tests were completed, and – if defects were discovered – document and share the details so that development can reproduce the defect, then fix it.

To capture every detail accurately, these testers sometimes have to repeat calls. It takes time, concentration, repetition, and domain expertise, which is hard to come by if you are a new member of the team or you’ve been tasked with testing CX using a more unstructured, exploratory approach.

This takes a lot of time, which means cost goes up and project timelines extend. For testing teams that do take the time to build these libraries, the return on investment typically happens on future projects, delaying the pay-off and making it hard to justify the effort. 

It’s true what they say… a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s take a look at an illustration of this IVR testing process using the existing, manual approach.

What Does a Manual Approach to IVR Testing Look Like?

Below are common steps that manual testers typically have to move through, the issues they may encounter along the way, and areas where repetition and inefficiency wreak havoc on productivity.

  1. In this visual, moving from left to right, you can see that the first step in this process is to define a test plan, containing a list of tests to run and the data needed to run them. In many cases, these test plans lack detail and require deep application and domain knowledge… something that new-on-the-job Testers or non-technical members of your team don’t usually have.
  2. Once the test plan has been created, with or without detail, it’s time to start calling the IVR and taking the journeys your callers would take. This means literally dialing, from your home, mobile, desk, or desktop softphone, into your contact center. 
  3. As you dial and follow the path to be tested, be careful! You have to write or type every prompt you hear, every word you say, and every step you take. Miss something? Hang up and dial again. And again, if necessary. 
  4. From here, if the experience was as it should be, it’s time to report the test as successful. It’s often necessary to figure out a way to show your work and prove you’ve tested the identified customer journeys all the way to the end or interaction with a contact center agent. That takes time. 
  5. Or, if during your manual test call you uncovered a defect, you must manually document every detail. What went wrong? When did it go wrong? How did you find the issues, and was it a user error, or an actual defect? Can you reproduce the problem? All those questions need to be answered, articulated into a report, and communicated to the development team so they can fix the error. 
  6. Phew! All done with one of your test calls. It’s time to start the process over again. 

 

While that seems overly complicated and labor-intensive (and it is!) testing your IVRs to ensure that customer journeys are delivering the experiences that you have designed is non-negotiable. It’s a vital and extremely important aspect of flawless CX. And, until now, there hasn’t been a great way to support manual Testers with automation. 

We built Call Explorer to rectify this wrong and give manual testers a way to reduce the time, effort, and cost of building libraries full of test scenarios they can easily use immediately and in future automated testing campaigns. Because Call Explorer is automatically generating fully transcribed, repeatable test cases in real-time as a manual test call is made, testers can enjoy immediate and future benefits. 

How Does Call Explorer Smooth Out IVR Testing?

Now, let’s revisit that visual process flow chart with Call Explorer assisting the process with automation.

  1. As you can see, we start with the same two steps as before; defining the test plan and making a manual test call. But here is where things change. 
  2. As a you make that first, manual call into the contact center – this time with Call Explorer – instead of having to simultaneously follow the defined test path, document every prompt, selection, and step taken, and listen for defects, Call Explorer is working in the background to capture that detail for you. Now you can focus on things like quality of the interaction and ways this journey might be improved, instead of furiously scribbling notes! 
  3. The new process shows how Call Explorer makes it easy to report your test progress and results, since you have an automatically generated test case file containing all the test call data you need. 
  4. If, like before, you did find an error along the way, Call Explorer has already logged the details of that defect you discovered. With that automatically generated test case, you can simply send your development team a link to the test script, which they can auto-run again to exactly reproduce the defect. That makes for lightning-fast root cause analysis and a faster resolution. Plus, it’s as easy as clicking “run” on that test case again to validate that the defect has been corrected! 

 

With Call Explorer, IVR testing will never be the same. It will be faster, easier, and even better for your customers. Make the shift today and start making every test call count.