How IVR Testing Enhances CX in the Financial Services Sector


Customer experience (CX) has always been critical in the financial services industry. According to Forrester, a mere one-point improvement in CX Index scores can result in anywhere from $92 million to $123 million in additional revenue, depending on the size of the bank.

Central to that CX is a bank’s IVR (interactive voice response) system. Despite digital banking's rise, IVR systems remain essential tools for customers' banking activities. In the post-pandemic age, when more than 25% of customers say they don’t plan to return to in-person branches, an IVR is more crucial than ever for delivering the high-quality CX customers expect from their financial service providers.

To remain competitive in this market — whether you represent a bank or another financial institution —   your IVR experience must deliver.  It needs to correctly perform in terms of self-service capabilities and in facilitating human connection in the appropriate moments. Yet, the seamless, streamlined experience customers expect from your IVR doesn’t happen on its own. IVR testing ensures your financial institution can deliver on these expectations — and that your IVR investment pays off with a strong CX. In fact, no IVR is complete without a robust testing program.

The Role of IVR in Financial Services

When it comes to customer experience, IVR systems provide numerous important functions. Thanks, in particular, to today’s conversational artificial intelligence (AI), customers can accomplish a whole host of banking and financial tasks via IVR, including:

  • Inquiring about balances
  • Transferring funds
  • Making credit card and bill payments
  • Opening additional accounts
  • Updating loan application statuses
  • Requesting to stop payments or freeze cards
  • Connecting to the appropriate service agent
  • Managing fraud alerts
  • Getting assistance with health insurance enrollment

Fundamentally, IVR services strike a balance between customer self-service and the need for one-on-one agent interactions when required. They save time, reduce agent labor, and assist in call triaging, directing the correct calls straight to a live agent.

When deployed well, an IVR can reduce costs substantially. An effective IVR increases call containment rate and resolution time while providing more consistent, personalized interactions. As McKinsey and Company reported, the IVR system of one North American financial institution is saving the company around $100 million annually.

The Dangers of Deploying IVRs Without Effective Testing

However, success isn’t guaranteed simply because your bank deploys an IVR system. Missteps and failures are common, and the consequences can be disastrous for CX.

IVR problems can be many and varied. They range from cluttered and confusing menus and prompts to improper call routing and poor voice quality. System overload can also result in outages, and insecure code can leave sensitive customer data vulnerable.

Take your main menu, for instance. Poor menu organization can kill CX before it even gets off the ground. If the majority of customers call to check their balance or pay a credit card bill, those options shouldn’t be buried beneath choices about product information or loan applications.

Alternatively, consider what could happen if you deploy conversational AI without proper testing. Now, you’ve gone from accepting basic “yes” or “no” responses or simple dial prompts to engaging with longer and more varied financial inquiries. When the system misinterprets these it’s not going to be long before a customer is lost in the wrong menu or calling for an agent out of exasperation — even if they only called for a simple funds transfer.

How IVR Testing Enhances CX 

In financial services, there is often a thin line between an effective IVR and a CX failure. When customers can’t complete simple tasks or receive incorrect information, frustrations mount quickly. 

However, with the right IVR testing solutions in place, your financial institution can largely avoid those outcomes. By deploying a continuous, automated IVR testing program, banks and other service providers can ensure most IVR errors are caught before they ever reach the live environment. Likewise, live monitoring can ensure any bugs that remain are uncovered and dealt with before they turn into CX nightmares.

Here are four ways IVR testing can enhance CX for your financial institution:

  • Seamless customer interactions: IVR testing helps you to discover call routing issues, poorly ordered menus, errors with conversational AI and more — all before your customers ever experience these problems. By deploying continuous testing throughout the development cycle, you can set up your IVR to deliver the seamless self-service experiences your customers expect.
  • Reduced errors: In financial services, even small errors can be particularly serious. Incorrect bank balance information or erroneous fraud alerts, for instance, can create costly customer crises. IVR testing solutions allow you to test for such errors at scale so you can discover and deploy solutions before customer-impacting problems occur.
  • Enhanced security: In recent years, high-profile data breaches at major financial institutions have highlighted the critical importance of data security. Unfortunately, these weak spots are too often discovered only when a breach occurs. Continuous IVR testing puts your system under the microscope so your developers can deploy security enhancements before a crisis can unfold.
  • Strengthened customer trust: This is the ultimate goal of IVR testing and the natural outcome of all the above benefits. When customers know they can use your IVR with confidence, whether for a simple balance check or to connect with the right representative, it builds trust and strengthens loyalty.

Take Your CX to the Next Level With Cyara

Without an IVR testing solution, you’re banking on providing a seamless CX with no way to ensure it actually happens. It’s like running a bank or business without ever looking at the financial statements — it rarely turns out well! 

With Cyara, you can test and monitor every aspect of your financial institution’s IVR system. Whether you represent a bank that needs ongoing CX monitoring or a health insurance company preparing for a massive influx of calls during open enrollment, we can help you ensure a flawless CX. 

Cyara allows you to uncover your current IVR mapping and call flow, design functional tests to guarantee the system's expected performance, or execute regression tests to assess the impact of every update. Our solutions include speech recognition testing, load, and omnichannel testing to maintain consistent customer journeys across all CX channels.

Ready to see how Cyara can enhance CX for your financial institution? Watch this demo to see it in action.