Whether you sing as a side-hustle or talk to customers and colleagues throughout the working day, the human voice holds real importance. World Voice Day (16th April) was set up as an awareness day for vocal health and as a celebration of the phenomenon of voice.
A brief history of World Voice Day
The unique and complex vocal system, and the capacity we have for language, are just some of the things that World Voice Day recognises. The voice is one of the things that allows us to convey meaning and emotional communication. It is a big part of academic disciplines such as psychology, neurology, cognition, linguistics and phonetics. Vocal pedagogy (the study of the art and science of voice instruction) and the expression of speech, sound and singing play a role in every relationship and culture across the globe.
In addition to this, it is an essential tool in daily work for around 30% of the world’s population.
The celebration of World Voice Day began with the intention to increase awareness of the importance of voice and improve education around voice problems. Initially starting out in Brazil in 1999 as the Brazilian National Voice Day, the event was an initiative founded by physicians, speech-language pathologists and singing teachers from the Brazilian Society of Laryngology and Voice. From there, the scheme reached Argentina, and Portugal, and then, recognised by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, became World Voice Day in 2002.
Why is voice communication still so important?
In the aftermath of a global health crisis, where home working was mandated for a time, it has been so easy to feel isolated. That means that forming and nurturing meaningful connections through communication has never been more of a focus for many people. Not just for work purposes, but for basic mental wellbeing.
As business leaders make decisions in the wake of the pandemic, the importance of voice communication should be considered. Technological advancements in recent years have meant workers have access to great platforms and apps to keep in touch with colleagues and stay productive from wherever they choose to work. 71% of Brits say they rely “much more” or “somewhat more” on business communications and collaboration tools since the pandemic.
While many of us begin to lean more on instant messaging, email and collaboration channels via written communication, team managers must pay heed to the importance voice communications plays in our everyday lives.
We recently looked deeper into the role of voice communication and related systems in businesses of all sizes and found that UK workers believe voice is the best communication mode after face-to-face to address loneliness at work.
Verbal communication and meaningful connection
So much of our day-to-day work relies on forming meaningful relationships. Whether it be with colleagues, customers, partners or other stakeholders, success at work depends on our ability to communicate effectively in one way or another. Whether that’s written, verbal, video communications or face-to-face interactions.
Interestingly, our recent survey revealed that 64% of British workers believe they can successfully build personal relationships with co-workers without ever physically meeting them. In the same vein, 63% believed that connecting online through voice or video calls is as good as in-person for work-related tasks. Connecting via voice communications enables co-workers to feel sufficiently connected with work colleagues from afar, and be as productive and efficient in their work as they might have been in the office environment.
As 77% of British workers say people who use voice communication will be more connected to one another, business owners must find ways to advocate phone communication and build it into their workplace cultures and routines in the future.
The importance of voice in customer service
Voice communication isn’t just important for retaining relationships with colleagues, it’s also integral for conducting clear, efficient and meaningful communication with your customers too.
While there are several different ways for customers to connect today, studies show almost 90% of people prefer to speak to a customer service agent.
While IVR, chatbots and social channels have made customer service more accessible and efficient, it’s no replacement for real human contact, and as businesses seek to meet ever-evolving customer demands, providing a human touch and tone of voice is still crucial.
The future of voice
While many may have predicted that phone calls might be trumped by new emerging technologies, voice technology isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to this Future of Voice study, 98% of respondents claimed they expect their reliance on voice technology to increase if not stay the same.
With technologies such as conversational AI, 5G and voice-enabled hardware as well as more mobile innovations for voice calling, the technology that surrounds us will have voice usage baked in. Meaning it’s set to become even more of a fixture in our daily lives.
As business communications increasingly move to the cloud, the reliability of voice technology has truly turned a corner. With providers offering service availability of 99.999% uptime, phone users don’t have to switch to typed messages or avoid phone calls for fear of a call dropping out. This means businesses don’t have to worry about business continuity, and customers can get through to a human voice on the other end of the line, should this be their channel of choice.
Voice technology is set to change the way you interact with your customers too, with solutions such as voice analytics allowing sales or customer service teams to analyse the emotions of a speaker, and even identify phrases or incentives that drive better results.
Voice communication is as powerful now as ever, and while team messaging tools and video meetings made the headlines in recent years, it is set to be the rising star of a hybrid working world.
Originally published Apr 14, 2022