Have you ever called into an automated system and found the automated voice to be pleasantly human? For most of us, an encounter with the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is more robotic than human; in fact, many of those “robotic” voices you hear are a real human recording. This is largely due to the fact that if the voice you hear is too machine-like, it can be difficult and undesirable to listen to, which can even subconsciously affect your overall customer experience.
Plum Voice offers a range of IVR solutions that encompass a range of capabilities due to the volume of work the company puts into the programming of its software and the perfection of its speech recognition. As highlighted in this recent company blog, Plum also invests considerable resources into the creation of the perfect voice to incorporate into its IVR solutions.
So this begs the question: Can you really create the optimal synthetic voice? And if so, what does it take to do so?
The idea is simple enough; provide a voice that sounds as close to a human as possible so that customers enjoy interacting with the IVR. But, have you ever tried to duplicate the human voice with something that isn’t human? Additionally, did you ever know that others view you based on the sound of your voice? In other words, Plum understands that if it doesn’t craft its synthetic voice perfectly, the overall experience for the caller may suffer.
A choice must also be made between a male and a female voice. Traditionally speaking, IVR systems tend to purposely favor a female voice. Apparently, female and male voices communicate something different to the listener. According to a CNN report, female voices are considered more pleasing to a wide variety of listeners (sorry robotic male tones!)
In fact, it’s easier to find a female voice to satisfy the majority than a male voice because the human brain also apparently develops to prefer the female voice. Scientists suggest this evolution relates to the fetus demonstrating a connection to the voice of the mother, while the voice of the father only creates a neutral reaction.
It could also have something to do with the history of the telephone. Most phone operators throughout the years have been women, creating several generations accustomed to receiving assistance from a female voice – no matter how disembodied. Why wouldn’t the IVR call center today want to preserve that pleasing experience from the past?
Furthermore, perhaps attestable by any man is the fact that women have a reputation as natural communicators more adapt to understanding the needs of the caller. Women are natural nurturers and better look to directly solve issues than men. Due to this, the company seeking to create the optimal experience for the customer may opt for the female voice in their IVR.
Bottom line: The more natural Plum Voice is able to make the IVR voice, the more natural, comfortable and satisfying experience it creates for the caller, which is the ultimate goal with any automated customer service initiative. Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo