Have you ever given much thought to the voice and message your customers hear when they ring your business and get your telephone answer message?
Do you think it matters that much whether they hear an authoritative male voice or a cheerful female one? And does the actual telephone answer message matter that much as long as the voice tells them which button to press to reach the right department or person?
Well in fact that voice and what it says can be key as to whether that potential customer becomes a client or not so here are a few points to consider to help you make the most of this first point of contact.
1. Think about your brand
When it comes to branding your telephone answer messaging or IVR it’s a lot more intricate than just adding a recorded message here and there. It’s about bringing a sound that your customers will identify you with.
Not sure what that means?
Try listing a few adjectives that describe your business and then use these to help find the voice talent to match. For best practice it’s recommended to use the same voice over artist in all of your messages so make sure that the one you use is a professional who will be available the next time you want a new message recording. Using a cheap voice over artist could mean that they will not stay in the voice over business long and won’t be around when you need them next time.
The same goes for music if you choose a music track then stick with it. It won’t do you any favours to change the tune every couple of weeks as the purpose is to find a sound that identifies you.
2. Make your wording clear & concise
When customers listen to your messages or information when they call you, they only want to hear what’s relevant to them. If they are overwhelmed with an abundance of options, they will most likely end the call. Tell them only what is important.
A 50 word script is about 30 seconds of audio. The duration of each message should be kept as short as possible so each word needs to count.Start off by writing your keywords as bullet points. Add more words to make it more conversational or formal, but always read it aloud to make sure it can be spoken clearly.
3. Choose a reliable voice over artist
Going for a cheap voice artist may be appealing but you’re taking a bigger risk with your brand. Those freelancers could change their fees at any moment, or even decide they don’t want to do voice over work anymore if they are too cheap and can’t stay in business.
4. Use a voice talent that your audience can relate to.
It’s a good idea to take your audience into consideration when deciding on a voice artist for your audio brand. A brisk RP (posh Brit) Voice over may be perfect for a high class winery but may not be the voice a plumber expects when calling his supplier.
Most callers to utility companies or banks are woman and these companies choose professional sounding female voices to answer the call. This re-assures the caller that the company understand them.
To find the perfect voice talent for your brand you need to consider the following:
- Age range
If you’re not sure, discuss it with other members of your team, or a voice talent agency. It is important to get this right. It’s so important that the big brands often complete a round of market research to test the customer response to a variety of voices
5. Experiment with different marketing messages
Being on hold to a business is a tremendous opportunity for a company. It can focus a customer’s attention on current marketing campaigns and let them know about the latest offers, events or products.
Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly updates to your messages are a good idea to keep the content fresh which is another reason to ensure from the start that your voice artist is reliable and available when you need them.
The first few months might be about trialling what works for you. Make sure to include a call to action just in the same way as you would through any other marketing campaign.
6. Think about the callers experience whilst on hold
Have a listen to your current message and be as critical as you can. Does the voice truly reflect your brand and what about the music? Does it send you to sleep in the first 5 seconds or is it so loud and rocking that you feel a bit jolted? Is that how you want your customers to feel?
Business owners sometimes forget what a prime marketing channel being on hold can be. It’s a fantastic way to upsell more products or services or maintain brand loyalty by improving the caller’s experience.
They are on hold, they are waiting, and they are listening to what you decide they listen to. It’s an opportunity that should not be wasted. If you want them to know you value their time then give them something valuable to listen to
7. Let callers know how else they can contact you.
‘Please leave your message at the beep’ is not all you want to tell your callers if you are unable to take the call.
Being helpful is your goal here and so explain there is an email, website etc to use too.
8. Be unique
Even with your telephone answering message you can stand out and stick in peoples minds. For example, I am with First Direct Bank and one of the pluses of them is the pleasant customer service when I phone and their cheerful IVR (interactive voice response) voice but you can also stand out with a branded sound effect. Think of Intel and their four notes.
A music track can be mixed with the voice messaging fairly easily by a good voice over artist and sound effects added.
The aim is to create a message that sparks an emotion and will be associated and remind customers of your brand, any time they hear it.
Making the most of customer calls is an important way to differentiate your business from competitors. Just giving a little more thought to the voice they hear could make all the difference.
Please email to hear telephone /IVR samples from Deryn Oliver.