In a call centre environment, where the quality of a call
hinges on the speaking and listening skills of the agent, voice and accent have
an incredibly important role to play. Customers want the agent to be easy to understand,
pleasant to speak with and demonstrating empathy. So, what role does accent really play in UK
huge sums of money into creating their ideal brand image; yet little attention
is paid to creating the ideal brand voice.
It’s in our very
nature to interpret and respond to voices in different ways, with their varying
tones and accents. Every accent carries with it certain connotations; and
whether they are true or not, we can’t help making assumptions about the person
When it comes to whether
or not voice can impact a business’ bottom line, the statistics speak for
themselves: 56% of Brits say they are more inclined to listen to a special
offer or promotion if the person telling them about it had a voice they found
appealing, shows a YouGov survey
conducted on behalf of Nuance Communications.
So, what accent tops
the ‘most appealing’ list? Polling 2,072 Brits, the study found Queen’s English
– or Received Pronunciation (RP) – to be the clear winner, with 52% of
respondents rating it one of their top five favourite accents. This was
followed by Scottish (34%), North East – ‘Geordie’ (26%); Leeds/Yorkshire (24%);
and Welsh (19%).
Featuring at the
bottom of the list were Liverpool/Scouse and Birmingham/Midlands, with just 9%
of those surveyed putting the accents in their top five. Next came the West
Country and Cockney (both with 10%), followed by North West/Manchester (15%).
The rise of regional
RP may be one of the
most appealing accents, but that’s not to say your target customers will favour
it over others. And in fact, in recent years the number of businesses adopting
regional accents for their adverts and contact centre services has witnessed a
A PH Media Group survey,
cited by Prolific North, uncovered a recent 27% rise in UK companies using
accents in on-hold marketing. Of the total, 37% said they deliberately adopted
a particular accent to reinforce their brand’s identity. The survey explored
associations people have with certain accents, uncovering that Scottish is
perceived as trustworthy and reassuring, while Manchester is seen as
industrious and creative.
Yorkshire is an
accent perceived as wise and honest - a good reason for Broadband supplier
Plusnet to feature a Yorkshireman in their TV campaign. Also, the accent is a
nod to the brand’s Yorkshire routes, helping to reinforce its identity.
In terms of call
centres, the Matinee
Multilingual blog explains that a wealth of banking firms have located
their call centre services in Scotland, with the accent being aligned with
financial prudence as well as trustworthiness.
What works for you
Ultimately, there is
no right or wrong accent; and what works for one business might not work for
centre helper, for instance, explains how a local accent may suit smaller
businesses operating in a certain area, while a more neutral accent such as RP
could work best for companies serving an international client-base.
Your brand image should
inform your brand voice – are you a corporate firm that wants to be seen as
professional and intelligent? Or do you take a more relaxed and friendly
approach to customer service?
The one thing to
remember is that speaking to a call centre agent may be the only time a
customer has personal, verbal contact with your brand, so it’s vital to provide
them with a quality service from the outset.
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