How to Choose a Voice for Your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Solution
Many customers first encounter your brand through the voice channel. Today, with an increasingly multichannel and digital marketplace, the phone (and the Web) is your company’s modern-day “front door.”
Each time a customer calls, your brand is on the line when “the door” is answered. A great experience over the voice channel depends on two factors—the technology and the human touch, meaning the prerecorded voice prompts that humanize that technology. To ensure the experience is as professional and brand-consistent as possible, it’s essential that that voice greets and guides callers with a clear and friendly sound, encouraging them to complete their goal as quickly and conveniently as possible, whether it’s self-service, a buying decision, or a handoff to a live representative.
The best way to do this is by recording your IVR system messaging with a professional voice actor managed by a partner specializing in IVR and telephony applications. This Blog post explains why that’s the winning formula as contrasted by the alternative options.
Choosing the Right Voice: Avoid Extremes
When it’s time to select a voice for an IVR system, many companies pick one of two extremes—an internal, non-professional voice or an over-the-top “radio announcer” voice. It’s in your best interest to find the real professionals.
Amateur Hour on the Handset
An internal voice is just what it sounds like—a person on staff, usually an engineer or an admin. They may or may not have a good voice, but the quality is almost always poor for technical reasons, usually because the recordings are made over a handset in a cubicle. As a result, background noise is often heard, the volume is inconsistent because updates are handled in different environments, and there are other inconsistencies that cause input errors, callers to “zero out,” and general dissatisfaction.
Overblown Radio Voice
On the other side of the coin is the radio announcer voice. What works in a high-energy radio promo doesn’t fly over the phone. An announcer-type voice sounds cheesy and fake; the enunciation is perfect, but unnatural. Often, stakeholders misinterpret what callers want to hear, thinking the big radio voice is the best professional option. Often, however, this style of voice aggravates and alienates customers.
The Voice Actor
A professional voice actor, especially one specializing in telephony recordings, speaks clearly in a tone and cadence that sounds pleasant and is easy for callers to follow. A voice actor is an expert at taking direction in studio, can change their delivery to suit the brand and audience, and can maintain consistency over years of IVR updates. It’s hard to describe in a Blog post, but “you know when you hear it.”
For even more insight into voice selection, developing a brand-consistent voice persona, and ensuring that IVR delivers an exceptional experience, review these additional white papers from GM Voices, a Waterfield Technologies preferred voice prompt recording partner.