4 Tips for Recording a Professional-Sounding Virtual Receptionist Audio
In an age of Siri and Alexis, virtual assistants are increasingly taking over the role of traditional receptionist. Industry watchers foresee explosive growth for intelligent virtual assistants over the coming decade, with the market expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 34.9 percent from 2016 to 2024 to reach an estimated value of $11 billion, a Global Market Insights report estimates. Virtual receptionists can automate certain common office phone functions, including answering calls, forwarding calls and taking messages. But one thing you may still want to do manually is recording your own custom message so that your virtual receptionist sounds more personal. Here are some tips to help you record your own professional-sounding audio for your virtual receptionist.
When recording your greeting, you have a few different options for hardware equipment. Ideally, for best sound quality and signal reliability, you should record your audio over a landline phone, which is less likely to produce distortion or static than a smartphone, advises Sound Telecom. However, it is also possible to record using a smartphone or a PC. If you’re using a PC, use a headset microphone for best sound quality.
When it comes to software, some virtual receptionist services such as RingCentral or Nextiva will work equally on landlines, smartphones and PCs. Others such as Vonjour are more specifically geared toward smartphones.
Menu Scripts and Structures
To make your receptionist menu greetings and instructions sound professional, it’s best to read from a script rather than winging it off the top of your head. Scripts for menus directing company-wide calls should thank the caller for calling, identify the company they’ve reached, list menu options for redirecting the call, and provide instructions for how to select menu options. Scripts for individual personnel’s inboxes should include a name, business name, a request for the information needed to return the call, and an estimate of when the call will be returned.
Menu structures can include both main menu options and sub menu options. Main menus can cover broad options, with sub menus covering more specific options. For instance, a main menu option might invite customers to press for answers to billing questions, while sub menu options might include making payments, making late payments, rescheduling payments, and speaking to a representative.
Options should be geared toward your customers’ most frequently-asked questions and should forward to the relevant departments or personnel. To minimize customer wait time, list options for questions with the greatest frequency before options for less frequent questions.
To deliver your script effectively, it’s advisable to practice rehearsing before you actually record. This will build your confidence, help you avoid mistakes, and give you an opportunity to correct anything that sounds odd out loud. Sometimes a script that sounds good in your head may come across differently when read aloud.
When speaking, breathe slowly and deeply, and annunciate clearly. To help you annunciate more clearly, speak slower than normal. Smile while you speak, which will both make you feel more relaxed and make you sound more relaxed.
To avoid recording breathing, sibilant hissing or plosive bursts, speak across your recording device rather than directly into it. Place your phone or headset’s mouthpiece above, below or next to your mouth rather than directly in front of it.
Testing and Revision
After you’ve recorded your message, play it back to verify that it sounds the way you want it. You will often need to read your script several times before you get a good recording without mistakes. Take your time to get it right.
Save your menu scripts in case you need them again in the future. Periodically, you may need to update your messages to reflect changes at your company. This will be easier to do if you have your previous scripts handy so you can update them instead of having to remember or recreate them.