Every time customers interact with your IVR, it influences their perception of your brand. Outdated text-to-speech audio tends to make the wrong impression, reinforcing the stereotype that contact centers are impersonal and uncaring. Fortunately, technology innovations now enable smoother, more natural-sounding audio that delivers information more quickly, and in a more engaging manner. For the second of five reasons to use conversational speech, Dena Skrbina explores the impact voice has on brand perception and how advancements in conversational speech can transform robotic IVR interactions into natural, personalized caller experiences.
If your mother is anything like mine, she stressed the importance of making a good first impression. After all, you only get one chance. The same rule holds true in customer service. Delivering a great customer experience—from the initial contact—creates a positive impression of your brand. And, as studies have shown, there’s a strong link between brand perception and customer loyalty.
When it comes to the phone channel, the voice of your IVR can have a huge impact on how callers perceive your brand. After all, the quality of what we hear impacts understanding. I read some interesting research out of UCLA that explored the 7-38-55 rule of comprehending spoken communications (1). According to the study, 7% of comprehension is tied to the actual words that are spoken. Another 38%—five times as much—is based on the way that words are spoken. In other words, what you say is important, but how you say it matters a whole lot more. The other 55% of comprehension comes from facial cues and body language. Without the benefit of these cues, it’s crucial that the voice your callers hear does the best possible job of engaging in effortless conversation.
If your IVR uses outdated text-to-speech audio, chances are it’s making the wrong impression on your callers. The robotic, disjointed speech offered by some IVRs simply reinforces the stereotype that contact centers are impersonal and uncaring. Poor recording quality, unnatural cadence, and even the wrong voice talent can degrade the IVR experience and negatively impact brand perception. Let’s face it, an IVR that sounds more like a choppy ransom note than a friendly, helpful agent isn’t going to win over any customers. Listen to this example:
The good news is that audio output technologies have come a long way. They can dynamically synthesize pre-recorded prompts with text-to-speech. By gracefully morphing syllables, words or phrases into the sounds that precede or follow them, these innovations generate smoother, more natural-sounding audio that reduces the time it takes for callers to obtain information in the IVR. Hear the improvement:
New technologies reduce reliance on human voice talent and enable you to make changes and updates to IVR audio quickly and affordably. Given these advantages, it’s not surprising that many companies are extending their IVR voice persona to their mobile apps to reinforce their brand and deliver a consistent user experience across all channels.
Want to differentiate your company and bolster your brand with every incoming customer service call? Make your IVR conversational and deliver a caller experience that makes a good, and lasting, impression. Want to learn more about how you can bolster
your brand with personalized, natural self-service experiences? Download our new
white paper “5 Must-Dos for Delivering Self-Service Magic” or download our Premium Voices for IVR ebook.
Dena Skrbina is Solutions Marketing Director for the Nuance OnDemand Speech/IVR and Multi-Channel Virtual Assistant Platform. Dena is passionate about IVR and has spent her career focused on contact center solutions with a single goal: to improve the customer experience. Her attraction to this decades-old technology is simply this; consumers don’t like IVR. Or, to clarify, they don’t like *bad* IVR. Having spent her 25-year career designing, programming, and marketing innovative contact center apps for some of the world's leading companies, she is dedicated to ensuring customers have a positive experience with IVR.
Previous to Nuance, Dena held positions at BeVocal, Tellme Networks, Edify, Aspect Communications, and VMX Inc. She received her B.S. in Computer Science from National University. Dena programmed her first IVR in 1989 and has never looked back.