Voice messaging isn’t new, but it doesn’t get old
Voice messaging is often seen as the province of the elderly. Young digital-savvy critics like to compare voice messaging with text messaging, praising the latter as the more efficient mode of communication, while dismissing the former as an inconvenient relic of the past.
Yet, voice messaging persists. Today, we use different names to mean the same thing: voice notes, voice memos, and audio messaging. They are usually short recorded audio messages, which can be accessed directly on a phone, unlike traditional voicemail services that require us to call a separate telephone number.
When the pandemic limited face-to-face interactions, people found themselves missing the endearing quality of voice, and started rediscovering the pleasures of conversing via voice text messages. With an average of 7 billion voice messages sent daily on WhatsApp alone, the appeal of voice messaging is undeniable.
Voice-based communication requires little effort, is highly engaging, and is widely accessible. These are some reasons why voice messaging remains extremely popular, especially among older persons. For seniors, voice messaging is more than just a communication channel — it’s also the hand that’s holding the door open for digital inclusion.
Seniors risk isolation in a world that’s increasingly digital. But digital communication channels like voice messaging keep the future accessible by putting the power of low-effort interaction and high-touch engagement firmly back into the hands of seniors.
In our fast-ageing society, this is more crucial than ever. The number of older persons worldwide is expected to increase by more than double in 2050, with the largest increase projected to occur in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia by 312 million, reaching up to 573 million in 2050.
Voice messaging is friendly to the needs of the elderly
The obvious needs of older persons primarily tend to be physical:
Common age-related eye problems like presbyopia, glaucoma, and deteriorated vision, make it challenging for older persons to read text messages on mobile phones
Other physical conditions such as arthritis can also increase the difficulty of texting and scrolling through messages
Voice messaging helps seniors to navigate around such physical challenges easily, while still preserving a sense of autonomy to communicate on their own terms. For a demographic that often feels like control is slipping away from them, voice messaging keeps their dignity intact.
Some seniors find new technology “alienating” because they think it doesn’t suit their needs. So as new generations of digital natives continue tapping away on all sorts of new, fancy messaging platforms, the grey generation finds greater comfort in the familiar sound of voice messaging.
To be fair, the way we communicate has transformed over the years. It’s easy to forget we got to where we are today on a path paved with a long evolution of pagers, pay phones, feature phones, and smartphones. Gone are the days of long phone calls and voicemails. Short-form text is the way to go nowadays; sometimes all we’ve got is 140 characters. No wonder seniors crave the sound of voice messages, where nuance and meaning still ring true for them.
Voice messaging answers the call for inclusivity and accessibility
Grey-haired individuals aren’t the only ones who find voice messaging incredibly useful. Communities calling for greater inclusivity and accessibility also benefit from the resounding power of voice messages, which have proven to help:
Visually challenged people
For people with low vision, voice messaging is an effective messaging solution that overcomes the many challenges faced when navigating a phone or reading text messages.
Using voice messaging, a partially sighted person can engage using familiar key commands on their phone.
Non-native English speakers
Although English is the most widely spoken language in the world, only 378 million people are native English speakers. Non-native English speakers, or people who speak English as their second language, outnumber native English speakers by nearly two times at 743 million — for them, it’s not uncommon to communicate in multiple regional dialects.
Some languages, like Chinese and Khmer, can be complex and time-consuming to type. Toggling between keyboards to find the right characters while avoiding autocorrect is an unpleasant experience. Voice messaging allows speakers to communicate in whatever language they like, quickly and easily.
The next billion users
The term “next billion users” refers to anyone and everyone who’s coming online for the first time — many of them are based in developing economies, which previously had low internet penetration.
When it comes to digital inclusion for the next billion users, voice interaction is one of the most important keys to unlocking communication access. On top of the language barriers mentioned earlier, digital or educational literacy challenges may get in the way of effective communication, but voice messaging enables them to overcome such limitations with a few simple taps.
Unique life situations
Inconvenient moments may catch up with us. Certain activities like driving require our undivided attention and restrict access to both hands. Recorded messages in such instances can be played in the background while the recipient focuses on something else.
Voice messaging also fits well into busy lifestyles. We are able to record a message on the go without having to sit down and type it out. For instance, family members with their hands full pushing prams are still able to communicate as they go about.
How Whispir supports engagement with voice messaging
The value of voice messaging offers unlimited opportunities. Organisations that recognise the power of the spoken word have leveraged technology to provide rich, high-quality experiences for customers from all backgrounds in various scenarios. This applies but isn’t limited to the communities identified above.
Through Whispir Voice, we help companies connect with anyone, whether they’re your employees, external stakeholders or customers. Our smart technology lets you send custom voice messages to a wide audience or craft compelling text messages that are instantly translated to voice for your recipients.
Flexible deployment is here
Whatever the scenario, Whispir makes it easy for you to customise your business flows. Create unique voice messages or text your audience and have it relayed via spoken voice.
Timely engagement matters
Connect with stakeholders at the right time. Record personalised introductions and callouts, and preview the message to make sure it says exactly what you need to ensure accurate information is delivered. This proves to be invaluable in times of crisis management.
Text-to-voice messaging for mass audiences
Whispir’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) workflows give you the ability to create voice messages by converting text into spoken word. This makes it easy to draft and review outreach on the spot while speeding up the overall delivery of important communications.
Multilingual support for inclusivity
With a database of 50+ languages, you can reach diverse audiences with messaging in their preferred language, ensuring nothing is lost in translation.
Resonate better with your audience with omnichannel engagement
We don’t stop at voice messaging. We understand that people today use a variety of communication channels, including voice messaging, SMS, WhatsApp, email, and social apps. While every user’s preference may differ, most people cycle through different communication channels for different uses, at different times of the day.
What Whispir excels at is helping organisations reach people across multiple communication channels from one single platform. It’s called omnichannel communications, which delivers increased engagement, offers insightful engagement metrics, and more. The Whispir difference is that we make the set-up and execution effortless, so the experience you deliver across channels is seamless.
Got any thoughts or questions about how voice messaging can be used to tune out the noise and turn up engagement on your next campaign? Let us hear it.