Accent Reduction Programs: Are telemarketing robots learning the standard American Accent?
It ranks up near the top of the list of universal human experiences, occurring almost daily. The caller ID displays a random number you don’t recognize. You pick up the phone and are greeted by a monotonous, blatantly robotic voice asking you to take a customer survey. Communication technology and social media have evolved rapidly within the same time period and consequently smart phones are now seen as a near vital part of social interactions. The ability to connect and share information with seemingly anyone has made users more conscious than ever about what information is suitable for public consumption on the internet, as well as the tactics employed by advertisers to infringe upon the culture of privacy and openness fostered by social media sites. With the advent of caller ID and spam e-mail folders, advertisers and telemarketers cannot expect a high degree of success using traditional cold calling . Sales robots are now being used that sound almost human. Gradually the robots are adopting a “smile with your voice” vocal tone that is taught to salespeople and in accent reduction programs.
Accent Reduction Programs: “Please hold, one of our robot representatives will be with you shortly.”
The nature of this generation’s telemarketing robots was recently brought to light when a robot operating under the alias Samantha West randomly dialed the number of TIME Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer. Chief Scherer immediately sensed there was something wrong with the voice on the other end of the line. As seen below, the robot possesses the pitch perfect Standard American English accent preferred in accent reduction programs, a normal speaking rate, and moderate intonation. Flaws in this setup were exposed when fellow TIME employees asked a question that the robot didn’t have a prepared answer for. These included, “are you a robot?” That the robot replied to so many questions with “I am a real person. Can you hear me okay?” is clear evidence that the company, Premier Health Plans Inc, recognized that some people would eventually realize that Samantha West was actually a robot.
Accent Reduction Programs: smiling with your voice
One of the major points emphasized both in telemarketing and accent reduction programs is the idea how you say something is just as important as what you are saying. In situations where you mispronounce a word due to your accent, use a word improperly, or speak too quickly to be readily understood, your listeners will be more understanding of such mistakes if you speak in an engaging tone and learn to “smile with your voice”. This can be accomplished a number of ways. Make sure to vary your tone when speaking, giving your speech a natural ebb and flow.
Accent reduction programs also focus on how the intent of a message changes according to what words are emphasized in a sentence. For example, the sentence “Are you going to the park?” can be said with a sense of irritation if the words “going to” are emphasized.
Want to learn more about accent reduction programs?
Get started with Accent Pros free accent reduction screening! The screening will rate your accent severity using a 7 point scale: 1 being the most heavy and 7 being very mild. If you’re inclined to take it a step further, check out the various accent reduction programs we have to offer. Accent Pros has an office starter program and an online starter program. Both programs have had all clients get a 50% of more accent reduction after 12 sessions-check it out!