Best IVR Testing Tools: CYARA and HAMMER Test Tutorial

Overview of Automation Tools used for IVR System Testing:

In our previous tutorial on Introduction to Interactive Voice Response IVR Testing, we learned about the Architecture & technology used in IVR basic, IVR call flows, etc.

Here in this tutorial, we will focus on why automation is required for IVR testing and what are the various IVR tools that are used for IVR automation in a detailed manner along with the concerned examples for your easy understanding. 

Let's explore the IVR testing tools!!

IVR Testing Tools

Performance Testing of IVR Application

In this modern era of technology, for any technical difficulty, each customer wishes to get the solution by sitting at home or during travel or while rushing to the meeting.

A customer does not wish to visit any branch or office for a solution to the problem. This will be possible with the help of IVR system as it is an automated system which provides a required solution to the end user.

For Example, in case of a mobile operator, if a user has an issue in the monthly billing then with the help of IVR system they can raise a complaint and get the solution without visiting the branch or office. This will result in thousands of call to the call centers for different problems. Hence, it is necessary to test the performance of IVR application to remain in the competition.

In load testing, in order to emulate the behavior of call center, different scripts are generated. It is necessary to test the behavior of the IVR application under heavy load of calls. This ensures if the system is configured in such a way to handle peak load and responses appropriate to the caller.

This emulation is similar to call center environment i.e. while running a call all the features like call pick-up, call hold, call transfer, tone dialing etc are available.

Automation Tools used for IVR Testing

In this tutorial, we will be focusing on two main tools which are used for IVR testing and they are:

  • CYARA
  • HAMMER

Before proceeding with automation in IVR, let’s first understand why automation is required in Interactive Voice Response (IVR):

Manual Errors:

Testing of IVR system is a monotonous job and this repetitive task may cause a manual error too. In order to test the end to end flow of IVR system, a tester needs to dial the same number and route through different menu options which become more complex as the tester goes deeper into testing.

This, in turn, may be a boring job for the tester, as they have to listen to the prompts played by the IVR and need to provide input based on the prompt. So there are chances for the testers make a mistake during testing.

Time-consuming process:

Testing of IVR application involves multiple menus, sub-menus, and their related options.

A tester needs to test each and every option carefully and it is quite a tedious task. As each menu can have multiple sub-menus and each sub-menu have multiple options, a tester has to test all positive, negative and error-prone scenarios thoroughly. This entire process is a time-consuming one and it involves high costs for the organization.

Due to all the above reasons, it is necessary to automate IVR application testing. There are several automation tools available which impersonate the human effort to dial an IVR specific telephone number and can provide DTMF inputs to the IVR system. Nowadays large companies are using an automation tool to test their IVR application.

Let us study Automation tools used for IVR Testing:

#1) CYARA:

Cyara is the world’s leading market provider and monitoring tool. Cyara provides an automated way to interact with a channel of customer experience know as IVR. It is used to simulate the IVR application so that end to end testing can be possible hassle free. For many organizations, the Cyara platform automates IVR development and testing of the customer experience.

Cyara platform allows the  organizations to help in their Functional, Load and Regression testing in the following way:

Functional Testing: Cyara platform helps in building new capabilities or functionalities. Comprehensive, automated functional IVR testing is performed using Cyara platform by just a single click of a button. Cyara functional test validates the IVR application across IVR, speech, voice callback, etc.

Load Testing: Cyara platform is useful during load testing as the newly developed capabilities are staged for deployment. Cyara platform simulates the strain on the contact center and verifies that systems weakness and does not expose to the customer and thereby the IVR system performance remains competitive.

Regression Testing: These newly developed functionalities usually under-go different changes or small enhancements. The Cyara platform is useful to retest the current and existing functionality. Using Cyara platform, you can test any modification in IVR system to check it does not have a negative impact on the other parts of the system.

An automatic notification will be received in case of any failure which will expedite the fixing process and will not impact on the customer experience or timelines.

Cyara

How Cyara Works

In a real-time call center office, thousands of calls are received at the same time in different departments for various issues. Cyara platform generates such calls so that each call has a unique call flow from a unique customer.

Using these calls, the call flow is generated and used throughout during the testing process to mimic real-time customer interaction. These calls can be placed at a regular interval or at an interval defined by the tester. In case of any failure of call, you will get an automatic notification with the detailed information.

Testers will know these issues or problems well even before they actually occur in production so that appropriate action can be taken immediately to avoid any bad customer experience, slippage of schedule or slow IVR system performance.

Steps on how to import, edit and then execute the test case using Cyara tool have been explained below:

1) The below screen shows the Cyara tool and the different options on the LHS:

Cyara tool

2) Test Case imported successfully in Cyara.

Test Case Import successfully

3) Click on the LHS menu item “TestCases/Blocks” and it opens the test case in Cyara which was imported successfully.

Given below is the screenshot:

Edit Button

4) Click on the “edit” button (as shown in the above figure) and the test case will be executed in the EDIT mode.

TC in Edit Mode

5) Existing associated steps with the test cases are shown below:

Existing steps in TC

6) Once you click on the edit mode, the corresponding step will be available for editing on the screen immediately. If you want to add the new step in the existing test case using Cyara then scroll down and the below screen will be displayed.

New Step

7) The above image shows that you can add a new step and if you do not want to add any step, then you can execute the test case with Cyara using “Save and Execute” button as shown above. Once you click on the “Save and Execute” button the result will be displayed on the screen.

Benefits of Cyara:

  • End to End testing solution: Cyara platform automates functional testing and provides an end to end solution to the IVR system.
  • Reduction in Cost: Cyara platform provides a solution to the organization at a low price, no manual intervention, call flows are reusable across the testing lifecycle.
  • Easy to use and customize: Configuration of a system within Cyara platform is easy and Cyara tool is customizable based on the organization need.
  • Customer satisfaction: Nowadays, customers are satisfied with the Cyara performance due to its low cost, reduced error prone functionality in a live environment, easy to use feature etc.
  • Minimal time for testing: Functional tests are performed earlier in the project and time required for thorough regression test is minimal due to automation.
  • Lower probability of releasing critical defects into production.

Check out the official website for more details.

#2) HAMMER:

Hammer is an automation testing tool for IVR which was developed by Empirix System. It identifies and corrects the experience related problems before any system goes into production. Hammer tool measures the performance issues, configuration problems, issues related to the IVR prompt or IVR response time.

Using Hammer tool, a tester can emulate live like environment. We can dial IVR line and can verify customer and proceed with a further transaction. DTMF and voice inputs are possible using Hammer and it ensures that appropriate IVR responses are received to the caller. For each call, it measures the response time for IVR database and the response time for the IVR host system.

Hammer CallMaster is a sophisticated tool that is used for test development, debug and reporting during the entire testing lifecycle. As we have seen that for IVR functionality, there is call flow diagram available which is like a user manual and using this call flow diagram, “Hammer CallMaster” automatically generates Hammer Visual Basic (HVB) test scripts.

Hammer CallMaster tool covers the testing phase of the call flow analysis, test execution using generated scripts, and report generation after test execution.

Hammer CallMaster automates the testing of voice and speech applications which will help an organization to launch higher quality IVR applications. Hammer CallMaster simplifies the testing process which in turn will reduce the cost for the organization and generate the quality output with minimum cost and less time.

Benefits of Hammer:

  • Provide exponentially greater application coverage with less effort.
  • It enables a non-technical team to participate in test case designing.
  • An application is tested thoroughly and ensures that it meets all the performance requirements.
  • Hammer Test System helps to detect and measure the configuration issues, performance problems, database response time, IVR prompt error etc.
  • It identifies a problem early during testing so that it gives time to fix the issue.
  • Hammer Test System provides error-free software to the customer so that it improves the customer experience.

Check the official link for more details of Hammer tool. 

Given below is a basic sample image of Empirix Hammer which will give a basic end to end flow of IVR system using Hammer tool:

Hammer Tool

[image source]

Sample Test Case for IVR flow (Account Balance)

Step NoCaller or User ActionExpected Result or IVR behavior
Step 1Caller dials IVR line 0800 800 1234IVR play: Esteemed to the ABC company. Press 1 for English, 2 for Hindi
Step 2Caller press 1IVR Play: Thank you, Press 1 for Banking, 2 for Credit Card, 3 for information on new product
Step 3Caller Press 1IVR Plays: Thank you, Press 1 for a new customer and 2 for existing customer
Step 4Caller Press 2IVR plays: Thank you, to know your account balance, press 1, to know your last three transactions press 2, press 3 for any other information
Step 5Caller press 1Your account balance is Rs. 123, press 1 for more information, press 2 to go back to previous menu or press 3 to go back to main menu or press 4 to end the call
Step 6Caller Press 2IVR plays: Thank you, to know your account balance, press 1, to know your last five transactions press 2, press 3 for any other information
Step 7Caller Press 2
Thank you, our last five transactions are:

XXXX
XXXXXXX
XX
IVR waits for two seconds and then played -

Press 1 for more information, press 2 to go back to previous menu or press 3 to go back to main menu or press 4 to end the call
Step 8Caller remain silent
Sorry, we have not received your input, please try again.

Press 1 for more information, press 2 to go back to previous menu or press 3 to go back to main menu or press 4 to end the call
Step 9Caller Press 4Thank you for calling ABC company.
Step 10Call Ends

Sample Test Case for IVR flow (Multiple flows in a single call)

Step NoCaller or User ActionExpected Result or IVR behavior
Step 1Caller dials IVR line 0800 800 9876IVR play: Welcome to the XYZ Bank Phone Banking service. Dial 1 for English, 2 for Hindi, for any other language press 3
Step 2Caller remain silent

IVR play: Sorry, we have not received your input, please try again.

Dial 1 for English, 2 for Hindi, for any other language dial 3
Step 3Caller dials invalid option as 9Sorry that is an invalid option, please try again. Dial 1 for English, 2 for Hindi, for any other language dial 3
Step 4Caller dials 1
IVR Play: Thank you,

Dial 1 for statement and balance related service for your saving account,

Dial 2 for Credit Card Pin, Debit card PIN related queries,

Dial 3 for Credit card related queries,

Dial 4 for loan related queries
Step 5Caller Dials 2
IVR Plays: Thank you,

Dial 1 to generate Debit Card pin,

Dial 2 to generate Credit Card pin

Dial 9 to speak to an advisor

To go back to the main menu, dial 8

To go back to previous menu dial 0
Step 6Caller remain silent
IVR play: Sorry, we have not received your input, please try again.

Dial 1 to generate Debit Card pin,

Dial 2 to generate Credit Card pin

Dial 9 to speak to an advisor

To go back to the main menu, dial 8

To go back to previous menu dial 0

Step 7Caller Dials 8
IVR plays: Thank you.

Dial 1 for statement and balance related service for your saving account,

Dial 2 for Credit Card Pin, Debit card PIN related queries,

Dial 3 for Credit card related queries,

Dial 4 for loan related queries
Step 8Caller Dials 4
IVR play: Sorry we are open from Monday to Friday between 9 am to 5 pm, please try again.

Dial 1 for statement and balance related service for your saving account,

Dial 2 for Credit Card Pin, Debit card PIN related queries,

Dial 3 for Credit card related queries,

Dial 4 for loan related queries

Step 9Caller Dials 3
IVR play: Thank you,

Dial 1 to verify with Credit Card number and credit card PIN

Dial 2 to verify with Credit Card and Tele-pin

Dial 9 to speak to an advisor

To go back to the main menu, dial 8

To go back to previous menu dial 0
Step 10Caller dials 0
IVR play: Thank you,

Dial 1 for statement and balance related service for your saving account,

Dial 2 for Credit Card Pin, Debit card PIN related queries,

Dial 3 for Credit card related queries,

Dial 4 for loan related queries

Step 11Caller dials *
IVR play: Sorry that is an invalid option, please try again.

Dial 1 for statement and balance related service for your saving account,

Dial 2 for Credit Card Pin, Debit card PIN related queries,

Dial 3 for Credit card related queries,

Dial 4 for loan related queries
Step 12Caller Dials 3
IVR play: Thank you,

Dial 1 to verify with Credit Card number and credit card PIN

Dial 2 to verify with Credit Card and Tele-pin

Dial 9 to speak to an advisor

To go back to the main menu, dial 8

To go back to previous menu dial 0
Step 13Caller dials 9 IVR play: Please wait while we transfer your call to our customer care officer. For quality purpose, this call may get recorded.
Step 14Caller wait for few momentCall gets transferred to customer care officer.
Step 15Caller speaks to an adviser and call ends

Conclusion

IVR automation is very cost effective as it gives a clear and concise output to the customer. Manual testing of IVR system become boring as the tester has to listen to the same prompts repeatedly and also same repetitive input needs to be given to the IVR system, which in turn may cause failure in the system.

With the help of automation tool, this possibility can be completely removed. Any change can be tested quickly and new call flows can be developed using such tools.

Customer satisfaction is very important to every organization. Considering the investment in business and customer satisfaction, IVR automation has the ability to meet the required expectation from the customer.

Hope you would have got a clear idea of which IVR tool to opt for!!