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Building trust with a virtual assistant voice - Nuance - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Building trust with a virtual assistant voice

Credibility and trust are instrumental in ensuring consumer loyalty. A customer who believes you and trusts you, works for you. They champion your brand and products and bring other folks with them.  For a voice-enabled application this puts a lot of pressure on the virtual assistant’s persona, how they sound and what they say. As we automate more and more, the virtual assistant is becoming the first “person” a customer talks to at your company, and it’s usually because they have a problem.

Before we dive further in, let me tell a story about a pastrami sandwich, debit card fraud, and how a company won me over with their customer service.

My pastrami sandwich story

On a day like any other, after I made my way through an entire hot pastrami sandwich (it was a ‘cheat’ day…I swear), I waddled back to the office to continue working. On the way, my phone buzzed in my pocket and a text notification told me that someone withdrew $500 using an ATM in the Upper East Side of NYC, quite far from the Financial District where I was. As I looked at the screen in mild shock, another text showed up for another $500 from a different location. Panic set in, I immediately stopped waddling to make a phone call, and the person behind me walked right into me, letting out a few choice words as he charged past.

By the time I called the number listed in the texts, thousands of dollars were gone from my checking account, withdrawn from various ATMs around Manhattan. And, it was the first of the month, meaning rent was due. My stomach churned at seeing my checking account drained and was only amplified by that greasy pastrami sandwich. Yet, by the grace of excellent customer service, my problem was no longer a problem after only five minutes on the phone. Card cancelled, replacement on its way, and money refunded like nothing happened.

How can I help you today?

I tell this story to drive home how much trust can be built with an easy and successful customer service interaction. All the advertising in the world could not even attempt to build the same level of trust that was instilled in me from that single phone call. Not only did they solve my problem quickly and with little effort on my part, but they took a customer problem and used it as an opportunity to increase my perception of and trust in their brand. And, it all began with an automated voice saying, “How can I help you today?”

Is there a secret recipe when selecting a voice for your virtual assistant? What’s the magic mix of character, pacing and tone that absolutely guarantees a voice that is credible and trustworthy? People form initial judgments on a voice within half a second.1 To add, we all have different life experiences and cultural backgrounds that form other perceptions of how a voice sounds. Some studies suggest that higher tone and greater expression through high and low pitch contours are more trustworthy.2 But, does that hold true if the person engaged with a virtual assistant just had their checking account fraudulently drained and their adrenaline is pumping?

More than just the right voice

I argue that importance should not be put on the singular act of picking the ‘right’ voice but the many tasks and decisions that go into defining a virtual assistant persona. These decisions will guide a voice talent in how they should speak and steer how a text-to-speech voice could be sculpted. Without that foundation you’re betting on luck when picking the best voice and have little direction during voice production. While a book could be written about this, here are a handful of foundational principles.

Foundational principles to creating your brand’s voice

  • Be empathetic to your users. Brand alignment is important, but an understanding of what your users want to hear is fundamental. The bonus of having this user feedback is that there’s no better direction during a voice-over recording session than setting the stage with a user story. If you can tell a story like the one told here, a voice talent will have a real purpose when delivering lines. That purpose will lead to a delivery that is credible and trustworthy.
  • Be open to change throughout the process. Allow for tweaks to the persona throughout voice casting and user research. Different use cases come up and adjustments may be needed. Perhaps there’s one voice talent who doesn’t completely align with the persona, but there’s something about them that just works. Or, users are hearing a selected voice as something other than your already defined persona attributes and they provide a different description of voice characteristics. Run with it. A voice persona should be malleable to many situations.
  • Let writing and speaking style influence each other strongly. They have a symbiotic relationship. If one succeeds, it helps the other succeed. If one fails, the other will struggle. Once you cast a voice or pick a text-to-speech voice you may find that there’s an even better way to handle certain wording based on how the voice sounds. Lastly, if you haven’t been in a voice-over session before, consult with voice actors. They are masters at interpreting written copy and understanding how a character should sound.

Picking the ‘right’ voice for your virtual assistant is a daunting task with opinions galore. Rather than get hung up on that specific point, focus on the elements that influence that choice. Above all else, listen to users to understand their problems, and let that lead to a persona that can be relatable to many users. Then, you’re on a path to having a virtual assistant that is credible and trustworthy – a voice that can put a consumer at ease and increase their loyalty, despite their choice of lunch and panic-inducing problem.

Source: https://whatsnext.nuance.com/customer-experience/building-trust-virtual-assistant-voice/

Publish Date: January 22, 2019


2022 Buyers Guide IVR

 
1.) 
Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


2.) 
Computer Data Services, LLC

VIRTUAL PBX
Get the benefits of an expensive, on-premise telephone system without the high price tag and annoying maintenance.

- Never miss another phone call
- No more busy signals
- Feature rich
- Answer your calls from anywhere

3.) 
eGain Corporation

eGain SmartIVR
eGain SmartIVR is an over-the-top solution to modernize IVR systems. Businesses can offer smartphone callers an easy choice to resolve queries via digital messaging and intelligent self-service. And they can optimize the IVR experience with end-to-end analytics.

4.) 
Megacall

Virtual Switchboard
Megacall provides a fully customised Virtual Switchboard software for all companies (including IVR service). No matter the size of your business, our services adapt to the needs of each client.

Are you looking for a more effective way to communicate with your customers? Discover the advantages of using the IVR and how it can help in your communications.

5.) 
MightyCall

MightyCall's IVR that will increase your business’s efficiency at a fraction of the cost of a secretary. Your auto-attendant is designed to:
- Greet callers
- Deliver necessary information
- Forward calls to the appropriate extension
- Take human error out of the system

6.) 
Nuxiba Technologies

CenterWare
Provide your customers with an effortless self-service experience. Easily create menus using predefined or custom prompts and data dips and route customers to live agents when needed.

Enable your customers to make payments and access information 24/7 at their convenience. Request a quote or live demo today.

7.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring

8.) 
PEC Telecom

Virtual Phone Numbers (DID) and Business VoIP Phone Service
Whether a customer is running a Call Center business, an IVR system to take phone orders or a voice mail service bureau, he still needs inbound lines and access numbers (DIDs). These lines and DIDs give customers the ability to call in and use the service. Traditionally, these lines and DIDs were obtained through the local telephone company (i.e. Verizon, AT&T or Time Warner) and a company could only purchase numbers with area codes in the region the system resided. With VoIP, this has changed.

DID Live is an IP DID service that allows you to accept incoming calls via VoIP as an alternative to standard digital or analog lines. The service provides the same quality of sound you expect from...
(read more)

9.) 
Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

IVR Edge
IVR Edge is a high performance, robust and scalable ivr system that works on various leading hardware such as Dialogic, Keygoe and Synway etc. It can handle the simplest of simple to the most complex of requirements to when it come to creating an IVR. Integration with any 3rd party database, be it for banking, telecom, insurance, travel, payment gateway etc can be handled with ease. Ideally suited to create Hosted IVR and virtual patching solutions with scalabilities that can range from 4 to 128 E1’s per setup with voice recording and CDR functionality. Integration with leading text to speech (TTS) and speech recognition ASR engines add to the flexibility and functionality.
 



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