In an ironic turn of events, the VR part of IVR – that is, interactive voice response – is in fact a real human being. In other words, the entire stride at maintaining a self-service IVR system by never having a conversation with a live agent is in fact controlled by a lifelong Omaha, Nebraska resident – a woman who looks so simple and friendly that you’d think of her more so as your neighbor who asks for a cup of sugar instead of listing your automated menu options.
Local voice talent Ardeth Ohm-Moser – the voice behind many popular radio commercials for large companies such as Bank of America, Chase and Disney (News - Alert) – recently stepped out as the voice behind activating credit cards, gift card hotlines, customer inquiries, and what many attribute their frustrations to.
“Ohm-Moser isn’t a robot. She’s a mother of two and lifelong Omaha, Neb., resident who moved to Lafayette in August 2011 for her husband’s work,” says this recent jconline.com article. “She’s also the director of education and outreach at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in West Lafayette and part of a WWII-era musical group called the AVI8ORS with her husband.”
Taking a sneak peek behind the scenes at the voice supporting these IVR and voice systems is extremely interesting, and upon hearing Ohm-Moser’s story, captivating.
For more than 30 years, she has worked as a commercial voice talent, having recorded everything from radio commercials to informational videos to hotline responses.
Aware (News - Alert) that her voice is oftentimes not the first thing callers want to hear, she says she tries “to have sensitivity and help as much as possible.”
Being a voice talent is not as easy as many assume. When looking deeper into the job at hand, one realizes that Ohm-Moser must be attentive to her audience and especially her pronunciation depending on where her recording will be geographically dispersed and heard. See below a video where she details how she must correctly pronounce such locations as “Louisville” and “Hawaii.”
“Thank you for calling the CABAN Card Service Center. This campaign is no longer active. Please visit the nearest Club Monaco location for more information,” Ohm-Moser records in the above video.
“Depending on the script, Ohm-Moser might do something different with the sound of her voice. When she did a voiceover for a stove commercial, she said she made her voice exciting, yet soft. Tuesday’s scripts [sent to her in the mail] were messages for customers, so her goal was to be informative and helpful,” jcoline.com explains.
Needless to say, some requirements of being a voice talent are having a great command of the English language – from reading to writing to simply understanding it. “You have to be able to read a line for the first time and put it in the context of the sentence,” says Ohm-Moser, who’s had decades of experience in training her voice to accommodate specific companies and their objectives.
Ohm-Moser’s line of work has even led her to helping herself activate her own Citibank credit card, as well as confuse herself when hearing her own voice in a commercial. She’ll listen and think, “Who’s that? She sounds like me. Oh wait, it is me.”
This is definitely an interesting line of work which is highly heard but not frequently heard about.
To check out all of the latest and most relevant IVR industry news, be sure to follow Plum Voice, a seasoned player in the IVR industry, on Twitter (News - Alert) @ PlumVoice.
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Edited by Rich Steeves