Listening to clients is secret to Voices.com’s success

Listening to clients and paying attention to their concerns is top priority at Voices.com, a London, Ont.–based voice talent firm that works with producers such as DreamWorks and networks like NBC, ABC, and the History Channel.

The company, which was founded by David Ciccarelli with a partner back in 2004, was recently named as finalist for the Digital Media Technology of the Year category in the upcoming Canadian New Media Awards.

Voices.com has more than 25,000 voice actors in its online database. The company uses the Internet to enable clients to browse through the company’s roster of voice actors and listen to the talents voice samples. Recently, the company has rolled out a mobile application that allows people to access this service via their iPhone.

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“I see this nomination as a validation of our business model,” said Ciccarelli, whose company has grown from seven employees to 16 since last year. “I will encourage our employees and highlight our track record of success for potential clients.”

Voices.com loves to listen

Engaging clients and talents in conversation to recognize their needs is essential at Voices.com, according to Ciccarelli.

For instance, Ciccarelli says, Voices.com is not like many Web-based companies that discourage voice communication with clients by not putting a phone number on their Web site.

“We’re not just about the bottom line. We care about the intangibles and how our actions will affect customers and talents,” he said. “In fact even our choice of phone system is based on how it will enhance contact with customers and talents.

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Last year that phone system logged more than 119,000 conversations with customers.

“One-on-one voice conversation has such great advantage over email and online chat and a toll free line is very cheap considering its benefits,” Ciccarelli said.

For example, he said, subtle vocal cues can alert an attentive listener to the emotional state of a person they are talking with in a way that email can’t. He also said people also often lose a lot of time with sending emails back and forth when a matter can easily be settled with a single call.

Delving deeper with CRM

To get a clearer picture of what sells and what doesn’t with their clients, Voices.com relies on an on-demand customer relations management tool from Salesforce.com.

“We use Salesforce.com as the central hub for all decision-making and examining what the reports are telling us in terms of why a client’s making purchases, or why they’re not,” Ciccarelli told ITBusiness.ca.

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In a recent Webinar for clients, Voices.com included a questionnaire asked registrants what they liked and didn’t like about the session. This way, the company’s event planners will know not only how many customers registered for the Webinar, but also what aspect of it was a big seller or a dud.

Salesforce.com also shows Voices.com workers sales on a daily basis. The staffers use the tools as a marketing lead aid.

“You don’t even see just your support tickets, you see everyone’s. That way we can help each other out or assign a support case to someone else if they’re more qualified,” said Ciccarelli.

Rooting for the Canadian SMB

Other firms vying for the title of Digital Media Technology of the Year include; dimeRocker, a self-publishing company for game developers; Hootsuite, a company that helps businesses manage and monitor their online brand in the social networking space; and Shiny Ads, a self-serve advertising tool for Web publishers.

Start-ups like these will be the companies that will drive innovation in the country, according to Mark Greenspan, executive director of the CNMAs.

“We’ve got a few $1 billion technology companies in Canada. RIM and OpenText and the telcos,” he said, “But what you see under that segment is the $10 million and $100 million range and there’s a lot of variety in those types of companies.”

“Those are the companies that will drive the growth of the innovation economy,” said Greenspan.

Nestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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