The Importance of IVR Performance Testing in Contact Centers


What Makes IVR Performance Testing interesting?

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are typically the first thing that a customer experiences when phoning a contact center. IVRs provide the customer with an initial greeting. They then direct the call based on specific inputs from the caller. The conversational flow gathers these and pre-programmed system messages prompt further inputs from the caller. They can provide these through keypad selection using dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) tones, or through voice, using natural language processing, for example, "say 1 for sales".

The IVR is usually the first customer touch-point and we all know that first impressions count! IVR systems are critical in allowing businesses to process high call volumes with fewer agents. They support process consistency and reduce errors in service delivery. Therefore, it’s essential that they are performing optimally at all times.


The Benefits of IVR Systems

In their article, United World Telecom highlight 7 key benefits of using IVRs in contact centers:

  1. Improving customer service efficiency
  2. Automating workforce processes
  3. Increasing profits
  4. Managing high call volumes
  5. Enhancing agent efficiency
  6. Providing greater personalization
  7. Cultivating a professional company image


Businesses worldwide are now recognizing the vast potential of IVR technologies. According to Research and Markets, the global IVR market will reach $6.7 billion by 2026, growing at an impressive CAGR of 7.9%. Advances in natural language processing and artificial intelligence (AI) are big drivers in achieving these increased business benefits.

As a key customer experience asset, IVR performance testing makes a lot of sense. The benefits of a professional company image are significant. And getting it wrong can be costly.


What Does IVR Performance Testing Involve?

Real world conditions place a variety of demands on an IVR system. And contact center testing strategies seek to put pressure on the IVR system in a safe and controlled manner to highlight any deficiencies. 

For an IVR to be fit for purpose it must direct calls as designed. Functional testing makes sure that all customer calls route to the correct department or agent resource. Functional testing also ensures that other value added call interactions work as intended. These might include account information lookup, recorded responses for FAQs, or the scheduling of call-backs.

IVRs also help to deflect inbound calls. They offer customers a range of options so that they can select where they wish their call to be routed to. In the process, the caller can provide information about themselves that helps the agent, for example, their account or contract number. 

The contact center exists so that the business can service a multitude of customers at once, effectively and efficiently. Functional testing makes sure that each individual customer call flow works as intended. And performance testing makes sure that everything continues to function correctly and effectively under pressure.

Performance testing may also be referred to as load testing. Testing an IVR system under load is critical to managing customer experience. Testing under load provides important insights into scalability. And scalability supports increasing business revenues.

Contact center testing takes into account seasonal peaks in demand. IVR performance testing considers the IVR behavior under peak load conditions. These peaks in demand often put systems under stress and those peaks may be momentary or sustained over longer periods of time. The contact center has to be able to cope under this stress. In an omnichannel context, multiple channels could peak simultaneously. Considering these scenarios is important. Load testing highlights any capacity limitations and bottlenecks. 

With today’s complex contact center infrastructure, test automation is essential. Testing needs to be objective, repeatable and scalable. This is especially important as leveraging teams of human operators can be costly, inconsistent and wildly subjective. 


Load Testing With Cruncher

Cyara’s Cruncher provides the tools required to regularly test the resilience of any IVR system.

Contact center management needs to be confident that their IVR system will perform under high-stress situations. Cruncher provides automated delivery of simultaneous test interactions at whatever volume a business requires to be certain that its IVR is prepared for peak demand.

Peak demand can be arrived at with a graduated ramping of traffic or it can be sharp and sudden. Load testing generally allows for a ramp, while spike testing throws a surge of traffic at the system. Both techniques are essential to correctly understanding IVR performance within the contact center.

Momentary stress points are one thing; but sustained loads over longer periods are another. Test automation allows businesses to see how their IVR responds to prolonged stress. Prolonged load testing is often referred to as soak testing. 

Critically, test scenarios can be defined and scheduled so that any system deficiencies can be proactively addressed before genuine peaks in customer demand.

New product releases, projected seasonal increases in business volumes, and other key calendar events are great triggers for testing. Testing makes sure that systems are ready at all times. Proactive identification of performance issues ensures that an IVR system is able to handle high volumes without any disruption or degradation in service quality. 

Performance testing is a key part of change management. And growing businesses are changing businesses. Pre-change testing establishes a baseline before any major infrastructure change or the introduction of new systems. Post-change testing verifies that no unanticipated degradation is observed. It can also provide an indication of projected change benefits.

Testing enhances the scalability, responsiveness, and overall performance of the IVR system. Testing also supports a positive and seamless customer experience, even during peak demand periods.


Make Sure You Are Ready For Growing Demands

As an important customer experience asset, make sure your IVR is in optimal shape, supporting peak customer demand. For more information see our Cyara Cruncher product page or contact our team to arrange a demo and see how you could benefit from automated testing.