This article was originally posted by Matinée Mutilingual and has been posted here with their permission.
1. Target your audience (but not too specifically)
Ideally, you will know who your target audience is but inevitably you are going to be serving calls that have a range of different demands and requests.
As you know, you can’t satisfy everyone but think about those that you want to impress first and foremost and keep it quite general from there.
An IVR phone menu is something that sounds like this: “press one for a sales assistance, press two to track your order”. This will help open up new options for a variety of needs and also save time.
With regards to the voice over, if you have a range of unique audience groups, it’s best to go with someone who sounds neutral, professional and reassuring to callers.
2. Keep the brand identity consistent
When it comes to branding your audio it’s a lot more intricate that just adding a recorded message here and there. It’s about bringing a sound that your customers will identify you with and to achieve that consistency is key.
To help give your brand a voice you should start by noting some adjectives that sum up your company. Use these adjectives to find the perfect voice talent and for best practice it’s recommended to use the same voice in all of your messages. In every message you create, make sure you’re ticking off your list of adjectives that correspond with your brand.
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.
3. Make your script 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 (read at a deliberate pace). The duration of each message should be kept as short as possible.
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.
Of course the script can change, whether the message is an IVR (to route the call to the right person), out-of-hours message (to give your opening hours) or on-hold marketing messages (to cross or upsell your services).
4. Choose a reliable voice actor that will be available in the future
A good agency knows their voice talents well. They will help you to choose someone who not only has the perfect sound for your company but also someone who is a reliable. Choosing a voice talent that will be available in months or even years to come, whenever you want to update your messages, is crucial.
Going for a cheaper alternative may save you a few bucks in the beginning 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!
5. Use a voice talent that your audience can relate to
Choosing a voice that fits your brand can be one of toughest decisions to make (especially with so many great voices to choose from).
Most companies will take their audience into consideration when deciding on a voice artist for their audio brand. A voice that the customers can relate to or identify with is most commonly selected. For example most callers to utility companies or banks are woman and these companies choose professional sounding female voices to guide the call. This re-assures the caller that the company understand them.
However, a voice that your customers admire and look up to can also work wonders. Especially if you’re in the fitness or entertainment industry.
To find the perfect voice talent for your brand you need to consider the following:
If you’re not sure, discuss it with a voice over agency or casting agent. 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.
6. Market Testing
If don’t have much experience with telephone messages or voice overs, then logically the best thing to do is to test it first! Companies like Matinée are delighted to help you get the sound that your brand deserves.
Take one of our previous client’s – Homeserve for example. They wanted a quality voice over for their telephone system but they fielded calls from both customers and their own engineers. This made their decision more challenging as they had to satisfy both groups.
We recorded a bespoke test script with 20 different voices that had been short-listed. Homeserve then had the opportunity to do some market research with focus groups to enhance genuine feedback. This allowed them to make a collective decision about the favourite voice.
In the end they decided to record a female voice for the customer line and a male voice for the engineer line. Can you guess why?
7. Experiment with different 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 inform them 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. It’s recommended to concentrate on one promotion per call so that the caller doesn’t get confused or inundated with a number of different messages.
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.
8. Think about the callers experience whilst on hold
Have you ever been on hold and some horrendous music starts bursting through the receiver that you physically have to remove the phone from your ear? And is that really what anyone wants their customers to experience? Of course not.
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.
9. Provide callers with other resources while you’re away
Having a professionally recorded voicemail is a good start, but in today’s world it’s not good enough to have an automated “leave your message at the beep” set up.
What happens if a customer calls during closing hours? If you’re relying on them to leave a detailed voicemail message and await your response, it won’t happen! They’ll simply call someone else who can offer them a solution. Don’t lose valuable sales, always offer a solution.
Creating an out-of-hours branded message giving callers valuable details to your website, your physical location, opening hours and even how to find you on social media can make all the difference to your bottom line.
10. Think about adding sound effects or custom music
A small noise can make a big impact. Take Intel’s sonic logo for example – with only four notes it is recognised in four separate continents!
It’s worth thinking about adding some sound effects or a bespoke music track to your branding. This could be used separately or mixed with a voice over for your own audio branding.
The aim is create a message that sparks an emotion and will be associated and remind customers of your brand, any time they hear it. You don’t always need a voice to achieve this.
+ 1 BONUS TIP – Entertain them
You’ve done the hard work. Your marketing strategies have given you a customer phone call enquiry. Fantastic! But now you need to keep the customer entertained. Giving them the best experience possible will help you convert the enquiry into a paying customer.
Let your customers know that you care about them. Each sound, music or voice you use should be designed and optimised to enhance your brand image.
Making the most of customer calls is an important way to differentiate your business from competitors. Why not consider entertaining customers with testimonials instead of the usual ads?