By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 8, 2011
Do companies from big corporations to independent practitioners realize how important the voice they choose for their telephone system is?
Voice talent and speech coach Jill Tarnoff shares her experiences calling in to book appointments with a healthcare provider and how the voice on an automated telephone system recording sets tone for the remainder of a call and speaking with a real person.
By Jill Tarnoff
Okay, I confess, I am a voice artist and a speech coach so I may be more sensitive to the sounds of voices than the average person. However, I am also more aware of how people are affected by voices in ways they don't realize. That is why I suggest that all businesses hire someone to record the company voice mail message. It's not just because I want to generate work for myself - okay, I am always marketing myself - but that's not the only reason they should give the work to a professional. The main reason is that I really hate calling to make doctor appointments.
I see my primary physician and several specialists at a satellite office of a highly rated hospital. The doctors are some of the best in the US. I am usually grumpy when I have to call the place. The phone tree has many branches. It can take a while to get to the right department. That is the first level of grumpy. If I am not calling to make an appointment for a check-up, then I am calling because I don't feel well. That takes me to the second level of grumpy.
There is more.
The thing that takes me to the pinnacle of grumpy is the voice of the woman directing my call! Her voice has bothered me for years. She is too loud, sounds like she has a lump in her throat and pronounces the letter "r" like a lawn mower. Is this the voice that should greet people who are ill? I have asked several of my doctors to hire me to record their messages. They usually chuckle and change the subject. I think I need new doctors.
Most of my jobs to record voice mail are from referrals. That is because one company hired me and their clients were so impressed that they asked who did the message. It became clear that a professional voice makes a business sound more professional. I am told they like that it sounds "fancy." They noticed that their image of the company improved. But they didn't notice it until they heard it. They realized that a competitor or a colleague suddenly seemed to be more successful because they did not just hear the sound of an assistant flatly reading a script to say, "Press 1" and "Thank you for calling." It should not be a task that is tossed to the person who knows how to push the buttons on the phone system. Companies hire someone to design a logo, a webpage, a business card. I wish more would consider that they can sound as good as they look.
So, I am due to see my eye doctor. Does anyone want to schedule my appointment for me?
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