It’s that time of the year…the days are growing colder, darker; nights are longer… Christmas is way off. Summer is well behind us. We’ve entered the doldrums of Fall.
Meetings feel drawn-out. Projects seem to drag. Maybe you’ve noticed a few people around the office looking…a little bored? Bored to death?
Maybe you’ve even seen the occasional conference call zombie? You know them: on a call, jaw hanging from their head, nothing to contribute, unable to engage.
Revive your conference calls! Conference calls can be engaging and highly productive. There are many tools you have to promote engagement, like visual interfaces.
But there are other things to consider. A good option not often considered: custom audio prompts.
It’s very easy to add custom audio prompts to your conference calls. And the benefits can’t be overstated.
In this blog, we’ll consider the reasons custom audio prompts add value to conference calls; then we’ll share some strategies for branding these custom prompts.
Unexpected Value of Custom Audio Prompts
What are we talking about when we say “audio prompts”?
Audio prompts are various cues that notify you, and participants, of events occurring in a conference call. These messages can include greetings like a welcome message. They can also serve as commands or directives, for example, “Please state your name for our roll-call.” They can be simple notices indicating you’ve joined a Q&A session or a call has ended. (These messages are automatically triggered when call participants interact with the conference bridge in a certain way.)
Custom audio prompts are excellent additions to your calls. But do they actually add value? Absolutely.
Let’s consider a few instances where custom audio prompts introduce value:
- Caller Impression
- Meeting Engagement
Adding audio prompts to your conference calls can help with branding. Let’s consider a “welcome message” example: “Welcome to MeetingOne’s conference call. We’re delighted you were able to attend. The call will begin in a few minutes.”
Tailoring a welcome message in this way immediately brands your calls. In the example, our name is front and center.
According to recent research, brand is the single most important factor in the decision-making process for potential buyers. Branding makes your company more identifiable. And people are more likely to associate value and trust with a brand they know.
So, it makes sense to incorporate branding wherever and whenever possible.
This includes conference calls. Placing a welcome message that calls out your brand insinuates trust and quality into the conversations you have.
Many conference calls involve individuals from outside of the host company. A large number often include international callers. Making that first impression is critical.
Customized audio prompts can do just that. They speak to callers in a much more personalized – human – way than the default, robot voice: “You’ve joined the call.”
All introductions are important. You have mere seconds to make a good impression. And a bad first impression can be hard to change. While first impressions over the phone aren’t the same as in-person, there’s no doubt it’s important.
If you’re not thinking about the first impression your business makes during calls, you may wind up releasing conference call zombies on your event.
In an interview with Itay Rosenfield, CEO of Voxbone, some surprising statistics about what people do during conference calls were shared.
- 50%+ of people multi-task during calls
- 54% fail to mute themselves
- 25% take calls from the bathroom
These issues reflect a general issue with conference calls: people aren’t engaged enough.
While the best ways to encourage a productive call lay with enhanced control tools, like visual interfaces (hint, hint), custom call prompts can help you get engagement.
A good greeting message is an important start. It welcomes callers to the meeting in a way similar to joining colleagues in a conference room. Audio prompts could then be used to communicate “housekeeping” items or other parts of your call script.
Audio prompts can be used to drive conversations and discussions, as well. Want to start a Q&A session? A custom audio prompt could be associated with the command used to open a Q&A. Doing so would immediately direct zombie callers to participate in a specific way. Similar prompts could be developed when holding voting sessions.
If you start with a custom welcome, why not finish with friendly goodbye? An audio prompt could be used to bid callers farewell when the call ends.
Throughout the process, you’re using automation to encourage your audience to stay focused on the call.
Taking seriously the opportunity to make use of custom audio prompts is a great way to revive your conference calls – and eliminate conference call zombies!
Let’s consider how to develop well-branded custom audio prompts.
Branding Strategies for Audio Prompts
Audio prompts help carry your branding into the conference call space. Make sure you are creating these prompts well.
If your organization provides individual employees audio rooms, make sure each person minimally has a custom greeting in their voice.
Employee-specific prompts are desirable because they can also be department-specific. If your Sales manager wants to convey a certain message to everyone who joins their call, that can help set the tone for the meeting.
Make sure your welcomes are warm. The right greeting immediately reflects the larger organization.
It can be difficult to strike the right level of formality. You want your tone to be professional but not stuffy. Simple solution: use a more official message with a welcoming tone.
For other prompts throughout your calls, the messaging doesn’t have to be as ingratiating. They need to be clear and to the point.
When closing down a call, your goodbye prompts should be more akin to your intro greetings.
Unique vs. Generic
One of the tougher questions you’ll have to ask when considering prompts is if you want them to be unique for each audio room, or generic.
Picking which route to take depends on your company’s larger branding strategy and voice. Given MeetingOne is an industry leader in audio conferencing, we’ve decided to standardize our audio greetings and other prompts. It suits our organization and reflects our standing. …Not to brag or anything… 😉
Unique audio prompts work well if your business has distinctive departments. Allowing each department to express a touch of character isn’t a bad thing.
Of course, make sure all prompts are written out, so the text can be agreed upon and approved. Wouldn’t want some joker with custom prompts that are, well, a little “too unique.”
While they may not feel as interesting, there’s nothing wrong with generic prompts, as long as they are maintained across your organization. Generic prompts should be templatized to ensure consistency.
There’s no doubt you must localize your audio prompts. If your organization is international, it’s an absolute necessity each office have prompts in their language. French speakers joining a French conference call aren’t going to be thrilled if all the prompts are in English. That’s pretty obvious.
Selecting the tone will be an important consideration with localization. At MeetingOne, we have three international offices:
- Denver, CO, United States
- Paris, France
- Brussels, Belgium
We have customized our audio prompts to reflect each office. All the prompts are professional in tone. But each has been tailored to be more appropriate for the national audience.
Continue Improving Your Conference Calls
With 45% of business meetings still taking place over conference calls, it’s critical these events are successful. Adding custom audio prompts help set the right tone, which can, in turn, help encourage engagement and fruitful discussions.
MeetingOne understands the value of these prompts – and we offer all our customers the unique opportunity to truly brand their audio rooms. Explore unique AudioOne Custom Prompts.