Owning a Small Business: The Benefits of Outsourcing

4 Ways To Help Automated Phone Systems Understand You

If you have ever called a company for tech support or customer service, you likely understand the frustration of speaking with an automated phone system. Although these systems are highly sophisticated, this technology focuses on particular aspects of speech to make logical choices. The variations between voice intensity, speech rhythms, accent strength and word choice make it difficult for the system to choose correctly every time. Thankfully, you can closely mimic the ideal speech patterns to help automated systems understand you better. Here's more info.  

Raise Your Voice

The automated phone system needs to pick your voice out of the background noise in your surrounding environment. To help it focus on your words, you need to speak up several volume levels above your normal talking voice. Practice talking loudly without allowing a shrill tone to drown out your words. Avoid the urge to yell into the phone receiver, as that creates static that can muffle your words. If you cannot speak over background noise without yelling, move to a quieter area and try your call again.

Regulate Speech Speed

Automated phone system programmers train the system to identify speech patterns to tell one word from another. If you talk too fast or too slow, the system may misidentify the words or numbers you tell it. Although it's important to enunciate, you need to make sure to finish up the word at conversational speeds. Mimic the speed in which you would talk to a young child for the best results. Although it seems like it takes awhile, do not rush through reading long strings of numbers. Pause for a single beat between each number to break up the string into individual characters.

Minimize Your Accent

Your accent can severely impact the automated phone system's ability to understand verbal information you provide. Even when based in areas where your accent is prevalent, the phone system may not have the configurations needed to understand that dialect. A strong accent directly influences the way you stress each syllable and pronounce certain letters. As a result, the system may mistake certain sounds and come up with a word or number far from your original statement. You can practice using a neutral accent by carefully enunciating each letter without influence from your native dialect. When practicing your accent-free phrases, it's important to nail down pronunciation methods for vowels, especially 'O,' and consonant combinations, like 'Th.'  

Focus On Consonants

When spoken quickly, many consonants sound similar to each other, especially to computer programs like the ones used for automated phone systems. For example, the 'Sh' sound may morph into the 'Ch' sound, turning ship into chip instantly. Although voice recognition programs can decipher the correct pronunciation in words without a similar option, it's far too easy to confuse the system by being lazy about pronunciation. Show your teeth and focus on moving your tongue correctly to accurately pronounce each word. You can practice in the mirror and record your voice if you find your pronunciations sound muddled.

Bringing It All Together

Once you start experimenting with your speech patterns during automated calls, you may even start to look forward to this previously dreaded task. You may even find yourself inventing reasons to call for support just to try out your ability to match speech patterns or minimize your accent enough for instant recognition. Furthermore, working on your ability to speak well can help you outside the automated phone system, such as in career, school and social settings.

Share your abilities with others to eliminate intolerance for automated phone systems. As more people accept this technology with open arms, companies will feel comfortable converting over to automated systems.  As a result, this technology may continue to expand and further reduce wait times by directing callers to the correct department the first time around.  

About Me

Owning a Small Business: The Benefits of Outsourcing

When I finally made the leap from working for somebody else to setting up my own company, it was plain that I needed help. There wasn't money to hire more than a few employees, so I turned to outsourcing as a way to keep costs low and still get things done. Ten years later, I still outsource some functions because it works so well. My first round focused on IT outsourcing and it turned out to be the perfect way to keep my network up and running. I moved on to outsourcing the payroll, something that kept the taxes in order and ensured my employees were paid on time. If you are thinking of using outsourcing for your small business, let's talk. I'll tell you what to look for in partners, and how to decide if outsourcing a certain function is really in your best interests.