Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Client Experience Report from Spring 2010

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 17, 2010

Comments (13)

Woman pressing a button on a screenHow do clients make their decisions when it comes to hiring talent at Voices.com?

What matters to them most?

What can this mean for you?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in today's VOX Daily.

What Are Some Clients Thinking?

The results of this survey are based on 283 responses. Survey invitations were sent monthly to clients who had posted a project through Voices.com. Let's take a look and analyze their responses!

Length of Time as a Member

length-of-time-as-a-member.jpg

Analysis

You likely noticed that a large number of respondents surveyed have been using our service for 3 months or less. Three benefits of receiving responses from newer clients are that they

๏ Have fresh experiences working with Voices.com
๏ Bring a new perspective
๏ Are more willing to provide us with feedback just after their first use

The longer a client has been with us, the less often they provide feedback on their usage. We've learned that this is largely due to the fact that the information they provide hasn't changed drastically since their last submission.

Most Frequent Search Method

most-frequent-talent-search-method.jpg

Analysis

In reviewing past surveys, we've found that statistics pertaining to search rarely fluctuate. The majority of clients visit Voices.com to find and hire a voice over professional. For 78% of those surveyed, the easiest and quickest way of accomplishing this task for them was to post their job to receive as many responses as possible.

While most clients prefer to post a job, a large number of respondents are still making use of our search engine features so it is still very important to focus on your profile and demos. Make sure that what a client sees upon finding your profile represents you, your voice and your offerings well.

Click here to log in and update your profile now

Are Aware of Built in Escrow Service

are-aware-of-built-in-escrow-service.jpg

Analysis

As the pie chart indicates, the majority of respondents are aware of our Escrow service, SurePay. Our staff takes the time, via our website and through personal contact, to educate clients on the service. SurePay is highlighted and explained throughout the client experience including at the time of submitting their projects for review and approval.

For those who may be wondering, clients are made aware that the Escrow service fee is built directly into the quotes they see when reviewing responses.

We recommend that when writing your proposals, you indicate the "Client Total" when outlining a price rather than your professional fee to avoid a possible misunderstanding.

Example

If you are quoting $200 for your voice over and the SurePay transaction fee is +10%, the client's total will be presented as $220.

Your fee - $200
SurePay - $20
Client's total - $220

The client, being aware of the fee, expects to only see the $220 and would be confused if you were to say that your fee was $200. That is less than what they expect to pay for the services rendered to them.

The client total covers:

1. Tools to gather responses, evaluate and hire talent
2. A voice artist's fee
3. Guaranteed satisfaction and safe payment

Numbers 1 and 3 are directly related to services provided to the client by Voices.com and are included in the SurePay fee. This is how clients pay us for using our service. By using SurePay, it's also guaranteed that you will be paid and recognized for your success.

Exclusive Use of Voices.com

exclusively-used-voices-com.jpg

Analysis

An overwhelming percentage of respondents indicate that they used Voices.com exclusively to seek out talent for their last project. This tells us that customers trust Voices.com to help them fulfill their needs, presenting them with great variety in conjunction with the added benefits of being able to provide clients with what they are seeking quickly and easily.

Clients using other services at the same time are often seeking something very specific, such as:

๏ An uncommon language
๏ Impersonations
๏ Or, they are new to the service

People who are new to the service and are posting for the first time have yet to experience the caliber of responses received at Voices.com from our talent. After they've posted their first job, most of these people are likely to use Voices.com exclusively thereafter for hiring voice talent based upon their experience and results.

How Many Auditions Are You Reviewing?

How many auditions do you review

Analysis

If you're looking for some interesting facts about auditions, here are a couple that you may find interesting!

๏ The average public job posting seeking both genders receives between 70 and 120 responses

๏ The majority of respondents reviewed all of the submissions to their last posting before making a decision and others tend to review the first 50 submissions prior to making a decision

These responses indicate that clients are reviewing a large percentage of submissions and that your auditions are being listened to.

Placement is certainly a factor when submitting auditions and we suggest that if you are unable to cut a custom demo in the time allotted, submit a suitable stock demo to secure your position. Voice talent responses are displayed for the client in the order that they are submitted.

Interesting Fact:

If a standard demo uploaded to your profile page is submitted and you make use of an audition template it only takes 7 seconds to get your audition in.

Do You Consider Generic Demos if Scripts are Provided?

Consider generic demos if scripts are provided

Analysis

The majority of respondents prefer to receive custom demos if they have provided a script at the time of posting their job. A custom sample helps to make the client's job easier when making a decision.

That being said, a large percentage of respondents will still consider generic demos when they have provided copy. These clients are aware that some talent prefer to provide generic samples of their voice and that they can reach out to you if they want a custom sample via a contact link within your audition response.

Factors That Influenced Decision Making

Factors that influenced decisions

Analysis

The answer to this question is often the same, survey to survey. The majority of clients use your demo as their primary decision factor when it comes to hiring. Next, your quote plays an important role but is not the primary factor.

From these results, we also see that a large percentage of clients are reading your proposal, so take some time and care to create your audition templates and be sure to personalize them as much as possible.

Did You Get Too Many Responses?

did-you-get-too-many-responses.jpg

Analysis

This is always an interesting question, and more often than not, the results surprise many. Respondents to our survey indicated that they did not receive too many responses and a large percentage indicated that they did not receive enough responses to their last project.

One of the biggest concerns we hear from many voice artists is that they are not being heard or that they feel clients have too many responses to go through. The results specific to this question indicate that clients enjoy receiving many responses to review, and in some instances, they'd like to be receiving more.

Ease of Use

ease-of-use.jpg

Analysis

Clients find Voices.com easy to use, understand and appreciate our service in terms of providing them with a place to find, communicate with and hire voice over professionals.

The easier our site is to use, the more jobs will be posted and more talent will be hired.

Last Payment Method

Last payment method

Analysis

Over half of the respondents to this survey indicated that they paid the last talent hired through the Voices.com SurePay Escrow service. This directly relates to an earlier question of whether clients were aware of the escrow service. Awareness brings use.

Still, a large percentage of the respondents have paid talent directly through the use of PayPal.

We'd like to remind talent that the use of SurePay does not cost you anything and Voices.com absorbs the PayPal fee normally charged to you for transactions. Clients are not asked to pay any hidden fees and can make their deposit using Visa, MasterCard or any method accepted by PayPal.

By receiving payment for work you've done via our Escrow service you will also qualify for Feedback that will be presented in the form of star ratings and text comments on your web page which are also displayed in your audition responses helping you to build more trust and get more work.

Any Thoughts?

We hope that you find these statistics and results useful! Thank you for reading.

Best wishes,

Stephanie and Laurynda

©iStockphoto.com/Helder Almeida

Related Topics: auditions, client experience report, hired, SAG, spring 2010, Voices.com


Comments


    Hi Stephanie and Laurynda,

    Thanks for putting together all this information! It always feels like you're working into void when submitting for a job, you audition and then you wait to see if anything happens. The statistics on how often every job is listened to is really interesting, I've always wondered if anyone listens past the first 15 voices. Great info!

    All the best,

    Ashley Huyge

    Posted by:

      Great info there! It definitely helps to put ourselves in the client's shoes!

      Posted by:

        Good survey, Stephanie & Laurynda.

        The responses to the user's "Most Frequent Search Method" says to me that more than 75% of the producers get a job, throw out the bait and see what bites. This leaves me with questions like: How often is the job re-cast; how often is the job not awarded; how many producers are looking for "good enough" rather than a perfect fit?

        The responses to "How Many Auditions Are You Reviewing?" trigger my BS alarm. 68% of the producers claim to listen to >25 auditions? The possibilities to explain this: a) most auditions really stink, b) the producer is inexperienced/lacks confidence, c) judge an audition on the first 5 seconds (which is what I do most of the time), or d) are pulling the surveyors legs. My gut tells me it is a or b; listening to more than 25 auditions even for just 5 seconds is a real labor. Getting a better understanding of both a and b might be useful.

        Good job, ladies. :)


        Posted by:
        • steve hammill
        • May 18, 2010 12:23 PM

          Thanks so much for this info, Stephanie! I am a newcomer and have been looking for ways to analyze the ROI of services such as Voices.com. Such info is invaluable in making an informed choice.

          --Xe Sands

          Posted by:

            I am using this info in a positive way to shape my own responses to clients and potential jobs.

            See--you really ARE never too old to learn...

            Posted by:

              Very interesting and informative... it's nice to hear from the voice-seekers perspective! I've certainly gained some insight that I will use to tweak my auditions and proposals in the future. Thank you voices.com!

              Posted by:

                Hi everyone,

                Thank you for taking the time to comment on the survey results! It's always nice to hear from you and I'm glad that much of what was shared has been a source of clarification and knowledge.

                @Steve We appreciate your thoughts and follow up questions. Laurynda and I were just chatting about what you asked and I have more to add to the conversation. When it comes to casting, it's usually a case of "I'll know it when I hear it," and although not everyone who hires voice talent is a seasoned casting director (Option B - inexperienced casting people), they (or those casting with them) do know what they want upon hearing and will move ahead accordingly.

                http://blogs.voices.com/voxdaily/2009/12/voice_casting_outcomes.html

                In a number of instances, people may feel obligated to listen to all submitted responses, and as you pointed out (Option C - listening to all but for a short time), that might be dedicating 5 to 10 seconds or so to each audio file to acknowledge the effort that was presented and also give each person who applied the opportunity to be heard.

                This is true for me whenever I post a job through the Voices.com service. Part of my heart goes out to each person who applies and I owe them my time and my ears. When someone auditions, even if it's just business, they are often putting their hearts on the line. The voice is part of who you are and as someone in a position to cast, I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to acknowledge and respect each submission. This may not mean that I send a personal email but it could translate into being saved as a Favorite or keeping that person in mind for next time.

                Why take the time? What stands out for me is this:

                You didn't need to apply for this job... you chose to, and in doing so, you chose to put yourself on the line and deserve my undivided attention and consideration.

                People who are listening to most if not all of their audition submissions may subscribe to the same mindset.

                Let's take a minute to look at Option A (Stinky Auditions) - Having auditioned a variety of talent over the years for different kinds of voice over work, I can assure you that demos that stink are in the minority when it comes to auditioning talent on Voices.com. Have you ever posted a job as a client to hire someone and experienced what it is like to cast via our site? If not, I encourage you to do so when you have work you need to outsource and see what I mean. We do not screen auditions before they reach the clients and it is rare for us to hear that a client was not satisfied with their responses. The vast majority (over 94%) of clients who post at Voices.com achieve their goals and make no mention of poor quality submissions.

                Lastly, Option D (Pulling the legs of the surveyors) is improbable considering the time and effort that people make to answer the survey and provide us with their personal experiences using the site. You have to remember that the majority of respondents had a fresh experience on their minds and were answering without reservation in efforts to tell us what they found most useful, how they used the site and why they made the choices they did.

                To answer your questions about jobs being re-posted, this seldom happens. From what was shared with me, only a handful of jobs have ever needed to be re-posted. When it does happen, there is usually a drastic change in the client's requirements (i.e. want to hear from a different gender, were off base with direction initially, etc.) and they need to hear from a different set of talent than were first invited. In the extreme case where a person may not award a job to a talent or hire off the site, (I've heard about one situation from Laurynda in the last 5 years), it's because either they were too vague with their needs and no one was able to guess and pinpoint what the client wanted to hear, or, their request was so obscure that no one who auditioned met their exact specifications.

                I hope this helps!

                Best wishes,

                Stephanie

                Posted by:

                  Stephanie,

                  Interesting article. At the risk of appearing dense, let's explore the Sure Pay section.

                  Say a client posts a project for a range of $150 - $250. Your illustration states:
                  "If you are quoting $200 for your voice over and the SurePay transaction fee is +10%, the client's total will be presented as $220.
                  Your fee - $200
SurePay - $20
Client's total - $220
                  The client, being aware of the fee, expects to only see the $220 and would be confused if you were to say that your fee was $200."

                  As I understand this example, the talent's highest bid should be no more than fee plus 10% ($250), correct? That would set the ceiling for the talent at $225, if my math is correct.

                  What if the project is worth more than $250; and, the talent feels that his/her fee should be at least the maximum of $250?

                  Adding that 10% to $250 automatically puts the talent over budget.

                  Forgive me, but I have been in the business just long enough to realize that money is going to play some part in the preliminary screening process. That said, the talent is relegated to at least stay within said parameters; or, risk not making it to the producers desktop for review.

                  There used to be a way to post the producers budget range in our bid, to at least give the talent a chance to get at least closer to what he/she feels is a fair price for services rendered. With this no longer available there is no way of working around the Sure Pay formula. Being able to post said range would at least give the talent the opportunity to show willingness to work/negotiate with the client.

                  Additionally, if that the response page is set up to only work with the Sure Pay formula of the additional 10%, I have to presume that this additional money goes to Voices which seems only logical.

                  It would appear that the talent is being charged an additional 10% if he/she wins the project. Am I missing something here; or, should your talent fee structure now include the wording "annual fee of X + 10% (of any project won)?

                  If nothing else, this opens up other issues for tax considerations when it comes to filing returns in the "operating expenses" category.

                  'Just trying to understand it all.

                  Thoughts?

                  Bob North

                  Posted by:
                  • Bob North
                  • May 19, 2010 9:27 AM

                    Hi Bob,

                    Glad to clarify for you!

                    Talent may definitely quote higher than what the budget range suggests if they feel that they need to. The client may see a price higher than expected but all clients know that talent reserve the right to charge their own fees. Quoting higher than the posted budget doesn't immediately disqualify a talent. You're right to say that there will always be people whose first priority is budget and perhaps a higher quote might turn those people off. Fortunately, those people do not make up the majority of clients who are posting at Voices.com as most clients value quality over price and are willing to increase their budget should the right applicant come along who meets their needs.

                    SurePay is a service that clients requested we implement to ensure that they would only have to make payment for the voice over and our services once they were satisfied with the end product.

                    To be absolutely clear, the CLIENT pays the SurePay fee and this is in no way taken from what the talent receives. You are paid your quoted amount by Voices.com. We absorb the PayPal transaction fee and you receive the funds as outlined in your quote for the voice over and your services. Talent can also be paid by check if that is your preference.

                    Let's dispel something here:

                    The escrow transaction fee of 10% is paid by the client. They want to pay us for helping them achieve their goal and this is the only way that they can rationalize doing so. While it may appear as their final total, it is THEIR total and does not detract from your quote in the least.

                    SurePay is optional for talent and clients to use so the point you raised about how Voices.com would take +10% from any project booked is not true. Voices.com does not take money from talent when they book jobs that are completed at Voices.com. It is a fee incurred by the client, who is paying for the service we provide to them, and that fee ensures that we can serve them and see the project through from start to finish in terms of acquisition of a voice over from Voices.com.

                    The transaction fee is modest in comparison to some other services that levy higher fees to guarantee satisfaction. Processing credit cards costs us money. Sending payment to our customers (we absorb the PayPal fees so that you don't lose money) also costs money. The margin of the SurePay fee kept by Voices.com becomes smaller than the initial 10% as a significant percentage of that 10% is eaten up by processing fees. The SurePay fee covers our expenses, time and the effort spent to even offer this service that protects and ensures a mutually beneficial outcome for buyers and sellers using Voices.com.

                    I trust this helps :)

                    Thanks,

                    Stephanie

                    Posted by:

                      Wow, what a conversation this report has started! Bob, you raise some valuable questions and Stephanie did a fantastic job, as always, with providing an explanation.

                      I just wanted to address this issue a little bit more, when clients post their job, they are selecting a budget range for talent services. This budget range does not include the Escrow service fee and most clients expect to pay the 10% in addition to what they are paying talent for their services. We receive payments on a very regular basis that are equal to $275. This means the talent is being paid $250, the top end of the budget range of $100-$250.

                      As always, quote what you feel your time and voice are worth. If a client has specified a "range," then they are open to different rates. If a client has specified a "fixed" price, then it is entirely up to you to decide to absorb the Escrow fee or not. Absorbing the escrow fee means you list the client's total as the fixed amount, otherwise you enter your own fee and the escrow service fee is added.

                      It is impossible to advise you what clients think they are seeing when reviewing responses, we can only advise you of what these same clients have been educated on and provide you with results such as this experience report so that you have a clearer understanding of how these clients are using Voices.com to hire talent like yourself.

                      Laurynda

                      Posted by:

                        I've been with Voices.com for just shy of a month so perhaps I should not jump in on this post as I've yet to book a job so I can't comment on how well Sure Pay works but it certainly makes sense as the talent feels like there's a safeguard in place to be sure of payment.
                        That would be awful to finally get one and then get stiffed. Just shows me that Voices isn't just collecting membership fees. They are looking out for the talent.

                        One thing I can and must comment on is the customer service. If there's a flaw in Voices customer service I sure can't find it. I've been treated with such courtesy and respect it was just like opening that first window in the spring.

                        Being in radio I have to deal with some arrogant people so this was a huge relief to be treated so kindly. I won't knock other casting services because if you get work from them, more power to you. My experience was poor and I always felt totally on my own. So for customer service alone Voices.com gets my vote.
                        They seem to encourage you to interact with the other talent on the site which I've had a great time doing and met some very cool people.
                        I'm hoping soon I'll get that e-mail that gets the ball rolling as it does get you down sometimes. I keep Rodney Saulsberry's "Step Up To The Mic" with me for self esteem boosting but to read the client analysis is not only informative but rather reassuring. I try to remember the million reasons why you don't get the job and most are understandable. A) They booked someone else from Voices or another service. B) Not this one but maybe they'll keep you in their favorites for down the road. C) They decided to use a female voice instead. D) The project fell through and was scrapped. You can probably think of many more.

                        I still wonder things such as slating your name before the audition. I've heard do and not do it. Just hit the audition.
                        Other than that I love the whole feel of Voices.com from the ease of use to of course the wonderful customer service. I apologize for the lengthy note but I was inspired by this post.
                        Thank you Stephanie and Laurynda for the truly sincere welcome I was given.

                        Larry Long

                        Posted by:

                          Great information as always! Again, it goes to show that being in the top 25 auditions seems to be our best bet.

                          Although I can say, I've been hired by clients who told me I was the 120th audition they'd listened to. So you never really know.

                          Voices.com is great and is one of a kind with providing this type of information for voice talent.

                          Thank you.

                          Jason

                          Posted by:

                            Interesting what you can learn if you take a little time to read! Appreciate all the information presented here. Have to agree, strongly believe the first 10 seconds of any audition have to be top notch (well, actually, the whole thing should be that way!). Most casting people I know and have spoken with have a idea in their mind of what they're looking for, they are pretty quick to go to the next audition after about 7-10 seconds. Also a good reason why someone didn't book the job, nothing personal, just didn't fit the casting agent's image of the script.

                            Thanks again.

                            Chris Bailey

                            Posted by:

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