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How to Choose the Best Voice for On Hold Marketing

July 30, 2018

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How to Choose the Best Voice for On Hold Marketing

Frequently on-hold messaging marks the first interaction between a customer and a business.

It’s wise to choose the best voice actor to make the perfect first impression.

Remember, most callers have specific expectations in regards to what they hear when they call a company and selecting a ‘good’ voice to represent your business requires some understanding of your audience.

Here we highlight the top considerations when choosing the best voice to represent your business on-hold.

Why on-hold marketing works

Businessman with beard on hold

On-hold marketing turns unproductive telephone time into an opportunity.

You can build your company’s credibility, promote products and services and demonstrate to callers that you value their business.

Listen to IVR voices now

If, on average, you place a customer on hold for 20-60 seconds, this is plenty of time to advertise something.

When used properly, it’s a more effective tactical marketing tool than direct mail, social media promos or email campaigns put together. With on-hold marketing you can warm up prospects and help to turn complainers into brand advocates.

Know your audience

Senior Asian Woman on hold

Knowing your audience is crucial to making an informed choice of voice artist for your IVR or messages on hold.

At a basic level you should know:

  • the average gender and age
  • where they’re calling from
  • their education level

It’s also important to know if callers will have ‘issues’ they would like handled quickly. If this is likely, they will be less receptive to a voice artist with a vibrant or high-pitched voice.

Equally, if you take a lot of calls from a younger audience, an authoritative tone is likely to put them right off.

Female or male?

The gender of voice talent selected is likely to depend on your industry and the products or services you offer.

Male or Female IVR voice?


Studies show that 48% of US adults believe that a male voice is authoritative while 46% show a female voice is more soothing.

Nevertheless, these statistics barely demonstrate one gender as ‘better’ than the other. The general feeling is that a male voice actor is preferred if the customers are male, and a female voice artist is best if the customers are female. The industry and age of the callers can also be a factor.

In general a male voice is ideal for technical and informative messages:

Male Example 

Whilst female voices are perfect for a more nurturing and comforting telephone message:

Female Example


Learn more about voice over rates

General / neutral or regional accents?

Book shelf about language

Local companies operating in a specific region only are more likely to select a voice with a regional accent. This is a recent trend, particularly in the UK, where more companies than ever are opting to use regional accents instead of choosing a generic or neutral accent.

Choosing a regional accent for a national IVR system can be a good idea though. In particular, studies have described the Scottish accent as trustworthy and reassuring and the Yorkshire accent (used by companies like O2 – UK) as wise and honest.

The important thing is not to put off your callers by choosing an accent they find hard to understand or which has negative associated connotations.

A younger or older voice?

A mature voice is generally perceived as more trustworthy and credible and a younger voice is more friendly and relaxed.

How does the market perceive your brand?

If your company is an established financial institution with a more conservative brand, an older, more mature sounding voice is best. However, if you sell products like video games or tech, a more youthful voice may be preferred.

Improve efficiency to improve perceptions

To lower costs, companies both large and small are channeling calls through automated cloud-based systems. Therefore, the perceived quality of your IVR system is becoming more essential than ever.

female caller on hold

An inefficient IVR, which takes too long to route a customer call with quickly frustrate. It’s important to get the scripts and call flow mapped out.

It might be tempting to use office staff to record your IVR voice over but this is not a long term strategy. What you save in the short term will inevitably cost you in the long run with dropped calls.

A professional voice artist doesn’t just have a ‘great’ voice. Their tone i.e. how they read the script is equally important to keeping callers engages. A voice that sounds pleasant and intelligent is much more engaging.

It’s a no-brainer really! A professionally voiced IVR system that routes calls efficiently will be perceived by the customer as better than average.


Selecting the best voice for on-hold marketing is all about understanding your brand and those that interact with it, and then finding a voice that represents that. The aforementioned are some simple and effective ways to improve your customer service with the best on-hold content. Helpful and well-designed telephone messages not only keep your callers engaged but also prevents them from hanging up.

There are many voice over agencies that offer on-hold marketing services. However, at Voquent, we have teamed up with the best voice over artists to offer you a high-quality service. We work hard to meet your needs and do everything possible to make sure you are happy with the result.

Listen to IVR voices now