We are pleased to welcome guest blogger Allison Smith, The IVR Voice, also known as The Voice of Asterisk, Allision is an internationally-recognized professional voice talent, specializing in voicing telephone systems.
You’ve unpacked and installed your shiny new PBX – it’s an exciting time to be you!
Everything’s configured; you’ve updated the modules – you’ve even explored the modules. You’ve got this. You’re primed and ready to enjoy the ease and flexibility that your new FreePBX affords….and then it dawns on you.
This thing is the *gateway* to your company.
You will have *actual* callers accessing your company via your PBX. It’s the entryway; it’s the launch pad for interaction. Their first impression of you.
It’s your “welcome”.
It’s very likely that *zero* thought has been given to the fact that the IVR your callers will hear – this mechanism which sorts people into various “categories” so their concerns can be most efficiently dealt with – is the first clue callers will receive about your company. It’s the first inkling of what you’re about; it’s about who you are.
Yet, this crucial detail gets overlooked in the overall set-up of a typical new PBX install. In my daily work of voicing IVR systems – not only for Asterisk, but countless other systems, I’m amazed at the panicked state some people are in when they contact me. Here’s how it typically goes: “We need to get this system live as soon as possible – and I guess we need someone to voice the opening greeting. Maybe the after-hours message too. Oh! And mailboxes….we haven’t even thought about that….” I mean, they’re completely blindsided!
While possibly the most overlooked aspect of your system, getting your prompts voiced by a pro is essential. And although – in the interest of saving time and cutting costs, it might be tempting to grab someone in your office and put them in a quiet boardroom with a rough phone menu jotted on a legal pad, it can’t be over-emphasised how essential it is to hire a voice-over pro to voice your system. Our core competency is consistency (keeping everything smooth and fluid), discipline (to keep energy and sound quality matching from session to session), and a pro sound set-up (nothing has ever sounded great recorded direct-to-phone with background noise. Ever.) Not to mention the ability to add an unmistakable tone of professionalism and authenticity to your front-end.
There you have it! The first roadblock to a professional-sounding IVR is tackled: hiring a pro. In my next blog article, I’ll discuss the “skeleton” or structure of your IVR – there are some classic mistakes people make when deciding on the framework of their IVR, and I’d love to steer you clear of those and get you on your way to developing a phone tree that’s a pleasure to maneuver around.
About the author
Allison Smith is a professional telephone voice, best known for her work as the voice of the Asterisk Open Source PBX. As well as voicing for many other telephony platforms (Vonage, Verizon and Bell Canada among them) Allison also speaks and blogs about ways to design telephone call flows which won’t drive callers crazy. Allison is also a Certified FreePBX Partner her voice is pre-installed in the FreePBX Distro, and provides all of the basic stock prompts for voice mail, and IVRs.