There’s more to providing professional voice over services than standing in front of a mic and reading copy.
My wife drinks merlot. “Oooookaaaay,” you’re probably thinking, “what does that have to do with voice over customer service?” Good question! Allow me to provide some context.
What a vacation taught me about work
Years ago she and I embarked on a much needed vacation – a second cruise with a particular cruise line. At the time we weren’t all that brand loyal, but had been particularly impressed with the service on our first trip with this company so we booked again a year and a half later. We soon learned that the attentive pampering we enjoyed on our first voyage was no fluke.
From the moment we boarded this second ship we began to recognize some of the same service staff from our earlier cruise. Terrific! We knew we were in good hands. But imagine how blown away we were when we sat down to eat and the wine steward placed a glass of merlot in front of my wife before she had ordered it from anyone on this cruise!
That steward was Alex, the same steward from our first cruise, now serving on this other ship. In spite of the thousands of passengers he’d undoubtedly served in the interim, he remembered my wife’s drink order and had it in front of her before he even greeted us. Did I mention that this was a year-and-a-half later? That’s customer service. And we’ve been fans of Holland America Line ever since.
This is the level of service and customer satisfaction I strive to provide my voice over clients. Here’s just one example of how that played out in the production of a radio spot:
Case Study – An Emergency Live Recording Session
One morning I was beginning my studio day when out of the blue I got an email from one of my long-term studio clients – then a text, followed immediately by a frantic phone call. Was I available for a live session in twenty minutes?! Fortunately my schedule was open. “Great! The client needs this ready to air, like, yesterday! We’ll send the script for you to scan, pull an engineer out of another session, get the agency and the client on the line, and with luck we can knock the season out quickly and save their bacon.”
Live sessions are fun – a chance for a voice artist used to working solo from my production studio to really feel like part of a team. Some studios prefer to produce this way because there’s more going on than just recording a spot. Collaborative live sessions can also be customer retention “touch points,” where agencies and clients build rapport, and the client has the opportunity to get a feel for what their campaign budgets are going toward.
By this point I had done close to a hundred of these recording sessions with my studio pals, promoting this particular hospital chain. I was more than happy to join them live if that’s what they wanted, but my “Spidey sense” told me that maybe I could do them one better.
Clearly in this instance time was the primary concern. No room for lollygaggin,’ I jumped at the opportunity to anticipate their needs and really knock this one out of the park.
Minutes before they were due to dial me up via ISDN, and without being asked I quickly reviewed the copy for this :30 radio spot, fired up my Digital Audio Workstation (set for broadcast quality specs), dropped into the campaign tone and cadence and recorded my best educated guess at anticipating the studio engineer’s direction. When satisfied with the read I made a quick editing pass to remove a click or two and minimized a couple of breaths. Nothing too drastic, knowing that the studio would apply any compression of eq.
I saved the read (:28.5 seconds) as both .wav and .aiff files and with moments to spare sent them off with a note saying that I was looking forward to the live session, but just in case it would help, here was a self-directed version that they might consider using this one time. Long story short, everyone was thrilled, the studio folks were heroes, and the spot went to air that afternoon.
Intangibles Become Tangible When You Hire a Pro!
By choosing to work with me, an experienced professional voice talent, my clients got immediate availability, consistency of tone and quality, professionally delivered, broadcast quality files and formats, and most of all, an anticipation of their needs and preferences.
Is that as impressive as remembering my wife’s wine order thousands of passengers later? Maybe not – but someday I’ll tell you about my days as a bartender, and my return customer Bud.