By Rick Kirkham
With Coronavirus widespread, your contact centre is having to adapt to new scenarios constantly – and how you communicate with customers when they call is one of them. IVR and on-hold message will need to be recorded, re-recorded and updated – possibly many times as the situation continues to evolve.
In an ideal world you would have a studio and professional voice artist to record these for you. But that may not be possible right because you may just need to get a message live too quickly. So, here are our tips for getting the best quality in-house voice recordings you can…
Get the right equipment
First of all, we suggest investing in a cardioid microphone that plugs into your laptop, using a USB. At around £60-80, you don’t have to spend much to get a good quality microphone for recording your telephony messages. A cardioid mic picks up the sound that’s directly in its path, which means it’ll pick up the sound of your voice and help to eliminate the surrounding sound.
Consider a mic stand. It ensures your mic stays in one place and you don’t pick up the sound of handling the microphone and fumbling around.
You’ll also need the right software: a DAW (digital audio workstation), which is software to record and edit your audio.
Then there are headphones. These will help you pick out any unwanted sounds or disturbances, and check that everything sounds as good as possible, as you go along.
Finally, make sure you record your audio in a high–quality format (44.1kHz 16 bit mono). That way you have the best quality to work with before you strip it down and compress it to the right format for the phone.
Consider acoustics and your working environment
Acoustics are important, so give it some thought. Where’s the best room to record?
If there are lots of wide, open spaces and hard surfaces the sound can bounce across these surfaces, creating a lot of reverberations or echoes. There may also be distractions from phones ringing, outside noises and staff voices.
We suggest you find a small quiet room that’s tucked away, if possible. Ideally, you’d need somewhere with carpet and soft furnishing such as cushions and curtains, wall hangings and rugs to absorb the sound. The fewer hard surfaces (such as wooden floors, windows and tiles), the better.
When you’re ready to record
Do a sound check to make sure you’re getting the right sound. Record yourself as a test, and then record 20 seconds of silence afterwards. This will help you find out if you have any other unwanted sounds in the background (such as a ticking clock you didn’t think about, or the hum of a fan).
Think about distance. Make sure you’re at the right distance from the microphone or phone set. If you’re too far away, it will pick up the room noise/atmosphere and reverb. If you’re speaking to closely into it, it’ll distort the sound. Also measure the distance you record at, so you have the same set up next time you record.
- Set-up: Remember how you set up in the room, computer or phone system so you can match the audio quality for future recordings. If you’re recording straight into the phone, mind the volume setting (and use the same settings next time).
- Updating: If you’re updating messages or adding new ones, remember to listen back to the ones that are already there. Check for style, delivery, pace and volume to make sure your new messages blend in and flow together. You don’t want it to sound like it’s been stitched together; you want it to sound seamless.
- Context: Have a map of your current IVR call flow with you so you can see how your message fits in with the bigger picture.
- Back-up: If you’re using a microphone and recording into your laptop, make sure you keep a copy of the original, raw and unedited, file in case you need to go back or start again.
- Keep still: Keep your scripts still, to avoid rustling paper sounds.
- Stay hydrated: Take water in with you to prevent a case of a dry throat.
Want to find out more?
We hope this was useful. If you have any questions about any of the tips supplied, or if you’d still prefer to engage with a professional voice artist, get in touch with us here.
If you’re looking for more direct support to help you and your teams work from home, you may want to have a look at the types of solutions we can help with on our Working from home solutions page.