What do Formula One cars and your IVR have in common? Well, at first glance, not very much. These miracles of modern engineering are the perfect amalgamation of man and machine. A union forged of blood, carbon fiber, sweat and a desire to reach the upper limits of what is mechanically and humanly possible. They are bred for speed! In a sport where glory or consignment to oblivion is decided by fractions of a second, speed is a top priority. But speed, in this case, is not just a function of pure horsepower. It is a combination of advanced aerodynamics made possible by some of the brightest engineers on the planet, emerging neoteric software and a spirit of sustained innovation that enable these chariots anew to reach speeds of 372 kilometers per hour (231 miles per hour). So, what do Formula One cars and your IVR have in common? A lot more than you think. Like you and your business Formula One teams rely on an often-complex set of systems working together to achieve a common goal. Steering, braking and fuel systems communicating with one another almost seamlessly allow the driver to zip around world-famous racing venues such as the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in effect arrogantly defying the laws of physics. Similarly, businesses rely on innovation and the adaptation of the latest technologies to give their teams an edge. But, complex systems or even simple systems for that matter are vulnerable to breakage, outages, and failure. To address vulnerabilities a procedure of testing, tuning and refining must be implemented. Testing and tuning should not be viewed through the lens of a luxury bestowed to those with large budgets and vast IT Departments but rather as a best-practice made possible by emerging technologies and economies of scale. IVR’s are but one of the many interconnected technologies many businesses and most Contact Centers rely on to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives. They are often times the centerpiece of a company’s contact strategy and bridge the communication between customer and company. IVR systems can be deployed to make banking payments and services easier, and are widely used for mobile purchases, retail orders, or to help businesses answer routine queries in a more efficient manner. Some of the main benefits of IVR include greater accessibility and wider personalization which lead to better customer service and ultimately a better company reputation. IVR systems, however, impose technological restrictions on companies which is why interactive voice response testing and tweaking is essential. In fact, IVR system testing is a critical part of the design process as it ensures that the end user can receive quality assistance while minimizing the need for human interaction. IVR testing includes system functionality testing, as well as performance testing under error conditions. Audio testing, for instance, can help ensure that the machine’s ‘speech’ will be clear and properly audible to the person on the other end, maximizing the IVR’s efficiency. Additionally, database testing can help companies ensure that their IVR system allows users to retrieve the correct information at each point (so clients can receive an accurate response to their query). Language diversity testing is also essential, especially for more advanced IVR systems which allow for inputs in multiple languages. Additionally, automated IVR testing can help a system successfully emulate human behavior so the caller can feel like they’re actually communicating with another person. Formula One teams regularly test critical components in preparation for race day. For example, brake dynamometer testing is used to test brake pads, discs, and calipers beyond the most extreme conditions expected. Failure to test can have critical consequences as drivers rely on their carbon fiber brakes to decelerate from 124 miles per hour to zero in just 2.9 seconds. Although not life-threatening failure to test your IVR can have serious consequences for your business. 1. Loss of revenue If your business depends on customers calling in to order a product or for help guiding them through the sales cycle failure to test can result in an immediate loss of revenue. Customers are finicky, if your IVR fails to connect them to the appropriate person who can assist in completing the transaction, chances are much higher that they will call a competitor instead. 2. Reputation The reputation of a business is critical to its survival. Consumers need to trust and have confidence that you can deliver a product or service that is of high quality at a reasonable price. A misfiring IVR can erode fussy consumer preferences by delivering a less than optimal sound quality experience or failing to complete the call altogether. This again erodes consumer confidence and drives would-be customers to consider alternatives. 3. Exacerbate customer service issues Customers want what they want, when they want it. If a customer is calling for support on an important issue and is unable to connect, or cannot figure out how to use your IVR’s complex customer journey map, relatively small issues can become difficult to manage problems. Customers want things easy. That’s why so many businesses use words like “easy-to-use”, “low-effort” and “fast” in many of their marketing campaigns. Businesses are hurriedly evolving in hopes of keeping pace with consumer preferences. This evolution has posed an enormous degree of complexity and opportunity for Contact Center technology and leadership in particular. As customer demands in terms of support requests increase in complexity so to must an organizations technology in order to bear the full weight of those demands. An IVR system can be an extremely helpful tool when it comes to delivering an outstanding level of customer service as it improves customer interactions and automates and simplifies routine processes. However, for such a system to be successful, testing must be considered an important piece of strategy for any Contact Center Executive. IVR testing can ensure the system will provide accurate information to customer queries and improve the overall quality of your customer service. In Formula One, teams expect the unexpected. Unforeseen circumstances like weather, mechanical and or driver error create highly unnerving and risky environments. How do teams mitigate these known risks? Testing. Testing tires, communications systems and critical fueling systems help give teams the edge on race day. Likewise, testing your companies integrated systems such as IVR can help mitigate customer churn and increase customer lifetime value giving your organization an edge in an ever-increasing competitive environment. For more information on IVR testing and how we can help click here or leave your e-mail in the comments section below.