Market musings

The Value of Voice in an Age of Visual Communication

by Sasha Viasasha
October 5, 2017

Chatbots are hot. Video is hot. Emoticons are hot.

If you only read the headlines, you might conclude that business communication has gone 100% visual in 2017. What is the true value of voice now? Does voice still have a role to play in the future of work?

All the evidence says, “Yes.” Voice is actually more effective than the written word or visual imagery for many essential business-related tasks.

The investment in voice telephony

A new study by Informa found that mobile network operators are investing a great deal to upgrade mobile networks with packet-based transmission, including LTE and IP, and IP-based signaling, in order to improve voice quality for cellular networks. The report also found that mobile operators have allocated 40% of their rated network performance to improved voice telephony.

As part of that effort, they have increasingly moved beyond traditional narrowband telephony towards HD-voice, transmitting in a wider audio spectrum up to 7000 Hz. The next generation of voice now being developed will be a full-HD voice quality codec EVS (Enhanced Voice Services) that extends the audio spectrum towards 16,000 Hz. In short, voice quality and customer experience define the arena where mobile networks will compete in the years ahead.

Voice-user interface

Voice is the ultimate hands-free interface, uniquely positioned to serve mobility and allow information to flow with little effort.

From commanding apps to making lists on the go, voice interfaces allow people to work at the rate of ideation. Collaboration, mentorship and leadership all depend on voice to inspire, motivate and provide context. Effective leaders can differentiate themselves by using their voices effectively and powerfully.

The power of conversation

Voice may be taking center stage in UI and other web applications, and yet the most powerful voice-user interface is still a conversation. Picking up the phone and speaking directly one-on-one is proving over and over again to be the most effective way to communicate complex, high-context information, and to successfully collaborate. Although the internet abounds in tales of when a 2 minute phone call saved the day, now there is scientific evidence of why voice communication is so incredibly effective.

The direct link - brain to brain

European researchers have confirmed that the rhythms of brainwaves between two people in a conversation sync up with each other.

This interbrain synchrony, which they called “entrainment,” appears to play a central role in facilitating successful communication.

The experiment involved strangers on either side of an opaque barrier, to verify that the effect was a result of voice alone. For literally getting your idea inside the head of another person, you can't beat voice. 

The secret of influence

One of the most powerful tools of persuasion may be the pitch of your voice. A study by the University of Illinois found that experimental subjects who subtly lowered the pitch of their voices were much more likely to rally listeners to support their ideas.

The same effect was observed with both men and women and the initial pitch didn’t matter as much as the drop. The researchers concluded that, “If you lower your voice, chances are you'll probably be more effective at becoming leaders and influencing others, because it changes how others see you."

Does your business phone system help you talk to people?

It seems obvious, but some business phone systems don't actually help people talk. They are too hard to set up and too hard to use. At Spoke, we believe that talking is the best way to solve problems fast, so we focus on getting more calls made and answered.

We've built a simple, intuitive interface that employees and customers will love to use. Based off how small and medium sized companies actually use their phones, we've learned that less is more when it comes to business phone systems. We've designed Spoke around the core phone system features small companies need and want. It's built to be deployed across your mobile phone infrastructure and administered from a simple app. Simple to install and easy to use.

Our smart directory keeps track of all your business calls and supports your company with features like an AI receptionist, easy call transfer, and group calling. You can choose a business phone line or port over the number you're already using. The Spoke app masks employees numbers so you can feel secure when they use their own device.

Let's Just Talk

Spoke was designed for small to medium sized businesses, 3-30 employees, giving you enterprise capabilities at a low per user cost. Activate your 21-day free trial -- no credit card required. See what you can accomplish with lower costs and better connectivity. Or contact us for a demo, and let's figure out how we can get you talking.