Communications Blog • 3 MIN READ

What is Automated Feature Function Testing? (And why you need to know)

Mike Burke

Written by Mike Burke

It takes extensive testing to ensure that your automated features are working properly. Automated Feature Function Testing (AFFT) is a way to make sure that every single possible combination of inputs and data results in an application are tested to verify that it's adhering to specification.

To perform AFFT, it's necessary to try every possible input at every step of the menu tree. Even if the menu only gives you two options (like press 1 for a live agent and 2 for an automated system), AFFT will try all other digits along with pound and star. Those are options that people might try select and you need to know what the system does whenever something unexpected occurs.

Human Testers

When a company implements a self-service IVR application (or makes a change to an existing application), they often hire real people to make test calls. They dedicate staff to test every possible combination at every level of the menu tree. Even a fairly simple application can involve a large number of telephone calls. A human has to sit down with a checklist and make hundreds or even thousands of calls to investigate all the unvoiced menu options and the various negative cases.

This can potentially cause a significant delay in the release of the IVR application, which has probably been retooled to be more efficient and provide a better customer service experience. Of course, any delays will undoubtedly have an impact on the enterprise's ROI.

Precision, Focus, and Efficiency

With automated feature function testing, we create test case scripts that people can execute either one at a time or in bulk. All the twists and turns at every combination and menu level can be navigated with automated precision. You can be confident that the numbers dialed, the inputs offered, and the timing of those inputs have been placed accurately and consistently.

The calls are also recorded, allowing for discrepancy documentation to be collected by the system. The documentation is made available to developers, designers, or anyone else who needs to investigate why a test call didn't proceed according to specification. Additionally, word-by-word transcripts are made to show exactly what the test call hears.

Your staff can stay focused on their core competencies instead of having to drop everything for days at a time, depending on how many test cases there are and how many people are on the task. An automated process is capable of going through phone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also crank up multiple simultaneous test calling automated instances if you so choose. In addition to saving staff resource time, you'll also save valuable calendar days and move the applications to production much more quickly.

IR offers automated feature function testing as a managed service. We take possession of your specifications and design documentation to create test case scripts. We also manage the execution and deliver the results for you to analyze. Alternatively to paying for a managed service, we make AFFT available as a licensed product. We'll provide training so that you and your staff can learn how to create the test cases, execute the test cases, and gather the relevant documentation. You'll be able to use the tool as often as you want to create a great library of test case scripts, which can be beneficial for regression testing.

Topics: Communications

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