How to Test an IVR System for Business?


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A well-designed IVR system can cut down on caller wait time and free up agents to do other projects by offering callers self-service options. With the right IVR setup, your business can manage incoming calls more effectively and improve caller experience.

But how do you create an efficient IVR system for your business? By designing a system with various options and testing it to ensure it runs smoothly.

Let’s look at some important factors to keep in mind when testing your IVR phone system.

Why Your Business Needs an IVR System?

An interactive voice response or IVR system is an automated voice system offered by phone service providers. This business communication tool improves how your business interacts with callers (customers and business contacts alike).

An IVR system for business can streamline calls by managing your incoming call flow. It can help callers complete small and simple actions without waiting on hold for an agent or employee. In addition, it also identifies the needs of the caller by interacting with them through prerecorded messages and caller input. It then forwards calls to the right department or agent.

The easier you make it for customers to get support, the higher your CSAT scores.

Testing the Flow of an IVR System

Part of designing and setting up IVR includes testing it. Once you set up your system, call your business number, follow the different prompts and menu options to ensure it runs smoothly and without errors or hiccups.

So, what should you keep in mind when testing your IVR system?

1) Routing Calls:

One of IVR’s most attractive features is its ability to automate call forwarding. It interacts with the caller, identifies the purpose of the call, and routes it to the right department or agent. In fact, the IVR can even route calls based on predetermined arrangements. For example, in cases such as:

    Off- or after-hours — the IVR routes calls to the office or call center currently open.
    Georouting — based on where the call originated, the IVR system routes the call to the nearest office or agent to match location and cultural preferences.
    Skills-based routing — the IVR can also forward calls based on the caller’s requirement, such as a specific language, etc.

Therefore, it is important to map out how, where, and when calls will be routed when testing your IVR system. And then test to ensure that the system follows the predetermined map.

2) Process of Verification:

This process is significant and depends on the type of business you run. The higher the risks, the more secure your IVR application needs to be.

An IVR system needs to verify the caller’s identity and their account before proceeding to avoid fraudulent activity. This can be done by asking security questions where callers provide secure information such as a PIN code, last four digits of an account number, policy or claim number, etc. You can also set it up to have a backup security question if the caller misremembers the first answer.

And so, when you are testing your IVR setup, make sure to check how it responds to answers to security questions, even when the answers are inaccurate. Because inaccurate answers can be a sign of fraudulent behavior.

3) Voice and Language — Accent and Pronunciation:

Most IVR providers will offer you the opportunity to select or upload a voice of your choice. It is important to select a clear, understandable, and audible voice with common pronunciation involved. Additionally, make the prompts, messages, and information simple and easy to understand. Otherwise, the caller may not understand or interpret the prompts and menu options, grow frustrated, and abandon the call. You may even want to consider a human voice over an automated one to add emotion and make the interaction more personable.

Furthermore, select the language most appropriate for the region being called. For example, suppose your business is in the United States, India, Dubai, and Spain. In that case, you will want your IVR to offer multilingual support by providing all information in English, Hindi, Arabic, and Spanish.

When performing IVR testing, ensure that all menus, sub-menus, prompts, messages, etc., play smoothly in each language and that they are clear and audible.

4) Repeats and Retrials:

Often, a less-patient or distracted caller may select the wrong option and might want to go back one step to select the correct option. And so, providing a do-over option is necessary as well. In other words, there should be a possibility to repeat the prompt so that the caller can pay attention and make the right decision.

Most IVR systems are designed to repeat the prompts three times while also providing an option to repeat the whole menu. Additionally, if the caller still does not select an option while the call is still active, it may mean that they are confused or not sure which option is most appropriate for them. At this point, being transferred to an agent might be more helpful. This is an important scenario to consider when IVR testing.

Here is also an opportunity to let the caller leave the automation and speak with a representative. Ensure this option is readily available so that you don’t end up with a frustrating and unhappy customer.

Creating an Efficient IVR Phone System

The trick to creating an IVR application that will boost and enhance caller experience is by creating one that is easy to navigate. To ensure this, you must test your IVR system time and time and continuously collect feedback to improve it.

Nadine Sampson
Global Call Forwarding
Nadine Sampson is an experienced customer service professional working with more than twelve years of experience in the telecom and banking industries. She is the Sr. Customer Service Professional at Global Call Forwarding (United World Telecom), headquartered in Delray Beach, FL. She helps build relationships with new customers and provides outstanding support.


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