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Sweating the details: professional voice recording for your phone system

The most aggravating — and most rewarding — aspects of business are the endless, unthought-of details. Many of them are what I call day-wasters; stuff, like digital signatures or PBX’s, that can eat up hours or days when the necessity first rears its head. Our book, Shoestring Venture, is largely about taming the day-wasters, but, in our less-than-infinite wisdom, we neglected one small but important detail: phone voice greetings. You know, someone calls up your phone system, virtual or real, and a voice says, “Hello, you’ve reached IT Solutions, yadda yadda yadda.” If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you pull out your phone and record your greetings. Doesn’t matter if you have a voice made for silent movies, you try your best (or you go with the pre-recorded junk that comes with your phone).

Recently, an entrepreneur friend of ours went shopping for professional voice-overs and lighted upon Professional Voice Greetings. The results were, to say the least, fantastic, so we sent some of our staff to try some other voice greetings. And the fantastic just kept coming — at shoestring venture budgets — so we’ve given them an honored place in the second edition of our book (see below for our editorial policy for reviews and book inclusion).

Professional Voice Greetings has a stable of voice talent and you choose a “voice” from about twenty samples. You then type in the script of the voice greeting you wish to have recorded, pay $35, they record the script, and they send you a download link in about a week.

You can upload the file to your phone system using your computer (on a virtual PBX system) or on a physical system using Professional Voice Greetings’ system.

They charge you according by number of characters per voice greeting. It does not matter how many greetings or prompts you need, you are only charged by the number of characters. $35 purchases a 500 character recording; this could be one very, very long greeting or a short greeting and two or three prompts. Every 250 characters you add to this 500 character base adds $9 in additional charges. Background music adds seven bucks to the bill. And, if your PBX or virtual PBX has the service, you can record information on-hold to sell your company.

To get an idea of what a character count looks like, Professional Voice Greetings gives this sample of a possible set of recordings (the ## are meant to separate out individual greetings or prompts). They don’t give you the character count, but my word processor counts 749 characters:

Thank you for calling Kitchens Plus – Marshall County’s leading supplier of kitchen cabinets and countertops since 1966. Please listen carefully because the following menu options have recently changed. For sales press 1. For our address press 2. For a company directory press 3. And for an operator press 0.##

Thank you for calling the Kitchens Plus sales department. We regret that we missed your call. Please leave your name and number at the tone and we will return your call promptly.##

Our sales office is located at 3400 Main Street, Anywhere, USA. Browsing hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 p.m.##

Please enter the first three letters of the person’s last name. For Q press 7 and for Z press 9.##

You have reached the operator, please leave a message at the beep or call back during normal business hours. Thanks again for calling Kitchens Plus.##

They will call you if any of the words have uncertain pronunciation. You do not pay until you’re satisfied; they will re-record the greeting if there are any mispronunciations, mistakes, or audio defects.

They will also record in Spanish (one voice option only).

A note on editorial and selection policy: We are preparing a page outlining our editorial and selection policies. All selections and reviews are editorially independent. Our editorial and research staff conduct independent surveys and all our own research; resources are reviewed without the knowledge of the company being reviewed. We accept no free products, free offers, gratuities, or gifts from any company to either initiate or influence our recommendations. We also make it a policy not to publish negative reviews unless we feel significant information is being spread about a service or product and readers need to be protected.

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