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Tips on Choosing Voice and Music for On-Hold

Many customer journeys may start online, but when they are unable to reach a resolution, or the interaction becomes complex or frustrating, that journey changes and they pick up the phone.

mobile phone in hands ready to make a voice call

Why? Because they are seeking the reassurance of human engagement to help them. They make a conscious effort to reach out. They’re investing their time to make the call, and are motivated to get a positive outcome.

This could be the only time that a customer engages on a human-to-human level, so creating a positive experience is dependent on what is heard and what is absorbed in those minutes of a call before an agent can interact and add value.

Getting the Right Voice Artist and Music

Research shows that callers’ perception of wait times is shorter when the overall experience is positive, so what should you look for when choosing the right voice artist and music?

Firstly, the voice artist needs to be relatable to your customers.

Think in terms of:

  • Language – conversational, reflecting how we speak naturally
  • Profile – Can the caller relate to traits in the voice, or does the voice reflect the brand or match brand personas?
  • Regional preference – a local business with a defined local market may choose to use a voice artist with an accent local to their area

Callers are looking to engage with a human when they pick up the phone, and the tone of voice, i.e. how they speak and sound, is as crucial to that engagement as any messages they may read online.

There are essential traits that all voices should demonstrate, regardless of the industry sector, organisation, or brand:

  • – Approachability
  • – Sincerity
  • – Warmth
  • – Friendliness
  • – Trustworthiness
  • – Engagement

Callers will lose attention if every message sounds the same, no matter how clever the script, so adaptability and versatility is important. A voice artist needs to understand the context of the message in relation to the overall caller journey so that it’s recorded with the appropriate tone.

A great example is comfort messages. Nobody wants to feel that they’ve been parked in an automated system. If they are exposed to hearing the same message with the same tone multiple times in a queue, the “human” touch quickly disappears. We’ve taken care of this for you by providing pre-written and recorded comfort messages. Allowing you to build in increasing empathy and variety as your callers’ wait times grow.

Is one voice enough?

Having an “anchor” voice to guide your callers through the IVR (and record out-of-hours and emergency messages) is recommended. Although, in the queue space, there is a real benefit to bringing in a secondary voice. It creates diversity, increases engagement and widens the demographic appeal.

So, let’s move to music…

One of the most challenging parts of selecting the right music, and the right voice artists. To help focus the choices from the hundreds of tracks available, certain factors should always be considered:

  • – Where is the music being used? (e.g. sales, customer service, reporting a repair)
  • – What’s the caller’s likely state of mind?
  • – Why are they calling?
  • – What is the average wait time for that line?

You won’t know the answers to all of them but considering the type of call and average waiting times is the right place to start.

Music affects our emotions and our energy levels – think about the music used in a spin class versus a yoga class. The pace and balance need to be appropriate. 

You can afford to be more upbeat and positive at the beginning of most queues. Depending on the line type as there will always be exceptions. However, as wait times increase and tolerance levels fall, the music should be more calming. A single track often isn’t enough to keep callers engaged for the duration of their call, especially if call times are longer than normal.

Streaming multiple music tracks helps you keep the tone of the music in line with how the caller is feeling. If their call is taking longer than usual to connect, the caller’s mood will change. Use multiple tracks to start with an upbeat track, then relax the tone as the caller’s wait extends and their patience decreases. Our regularly updated playlists are perfect for this!

To Sum Up…

Like most things, finding the perfect music and voices to represent your brand isn’t as simple as it may first appear, and it’s not a task that should be approached without consideration of all the factors listed above.

Get it wrong, and you risk losing the customers that you have worked so hard to attract and retain. Get it right, and you transform the caller experience.

Gower Studio is an intuitive service which allows end users to order prompts for IVR menus. You also have music and marketing messages to play callers while in-queue or on-hold. 

The innovative portal unlocks powerful features that turn music on hold from a ‘silence filler’ into a powerful communication tool. Business owners, contact centre managers and marketing professionals can therefore improve caller experience and drive business efficiencies.