This time last year, we introduced the world to the beta version of IRIS Clarity at two industry-leading events. Hundreds of people at both The Call and Contact Centre Expo and The Business Show experienced the power of voice isolation for the first time at our stand, where we had multiple demo stations and live podcasts taking place. This was just the beginning.
Over the last two weeks, we returned to these shows with our eye- and ear-catching stand (cue F1 simulator), showcasing the latest version of IRIS Clarity and with a few further surprises up our sleeve. As 2022 starts to draw to a close, we thought it would be interesting to look at the changes year-to-year and really chart the improvements we’ve made.
The Business Show
Small business owners and freelancers were always one of our target audiences when developing IRIS Clarity, and The Business Show is a fantastic place to meet a wide variety of them in one place.
At last year’s show, our Mac version of the app was barely a week old and we were still waiting to see how the industry would react to our product. Whilst we had evidence to believe that we weren’t the only ones experiencing the frustrations of background noise, it’s always nerve-racking until you see your target audience using the product and loving it.
The 2021 Business Show delivered in this respect. A whole host of small business owners from retailers to telehealth providers, career coaches, and many more demoed the product on our stand and saw the value instantly. We interviewed a few of them live on the IRIS Pod, kicking off what would become a tradition at these events: bringing our podcast on the road. After two successful days, we felt amped and excited about IRIS Clarity’s prospects.
What a difference a year makes! Going into the show this year, we already had a plethora of small businesses and freelancers using IRIS Clarity and loving it (as demonstrated by our Trustpilot and AppSumo reviews).
Supporting our fellow small businesses, we introduced an exclusive Small Business Package offering IRIS Clarity at a hugely discounted price — perfect for homeworkers, office workers, and entrepreneurs on-the-go. Whilst the deal was exclusive to The Business Show, keep an eye on our socials as it may return!
On day two, our Head of Product Marketing, Diana Geman-Wollach, delivered a keynote on the power and importance of audio, and how we can recover it as a lost sense which has been largely ignored compared to advances in the visual medium.
We continued our live podcasts on both days, sitting down with Adam Stott, Founder of Big Business Events; Dan Mellins-Cohen, Content Producer at BCMC Global; and Ellice Whyte, business psychologist and Director of Mindset. We even applied IRIS Clarity’s voice isolation tech to remove the loud ExCeL background noise from our podcast recordings… the sign of new things to come.
Keeping a close bond with our customers throughout, 2022 helped us understand exactly what people wanted from IRIS Clarity. This led to updates such as a changing how subscriptions were allocated per device, implementing a background noise slider to allow certain background noises through, and updates to our product dashboard. There’s lots more in the pipeline next year, and seeing existing and potential customers in person at The Business Show really helps us finetune our roadmap and upcoming features.
The Call and Contact Centre Expo
The other key audience for IRIS Clarity is call centres. Being on calls all day long in loud environments dealing with customers in even louder environments made call centre advisors a prime target for our voice isolation solution. We felt this to be true, but we didn’t yet know just how much.
Even with a Mac-only, beta version of the product at the time, the response we got was overwhelmingly positive. Call centre leaders were crowding our stand to hear the difference IRIS Clarity could make to their customer calls (the Formula 1 simulator helped as well), with the promise of reducing Average Handling Time, improving Customer Satisfaction scores, and culling employee churn.
On one of our IRIS Pod episodes, Stephen Yap, Research Director at the CCMA even called us one of the top three technologies to watch at that year’s expo.
In the 12 months that followed, we released the Windows version of IRIS Clarity as well as an SDK designed to easily plug into any setup and scale with the call centres we were looking to help. On top of this, we researched and wrote a whitepaper exploring the problem of background noise in call centres to not only prove there was a problem, but also to measure its breadth and impact. We made key updates including introducing a high performance mode that can be toggled on or off to address CPU usage restrictions, the ability to allow hold music and ringtones on certain platforms like CiscoJabber (as otherwise these would be considered as background noise and would be removed by IRIS Clarity), and an easy deployment and induction process for large teams of agents.
So for this year’s Call and Contact Centre Expo, we not only came armed with research that proved noise is hurting your call centre, but we also invited two agents from our clients at Ascensos to show the app in action. Stephanie and Nicola absolutely smashed it, taking live customer calls right there at our stand. Even with a Formula 1 simulator next to them, a lecture theatre behind them, and thousands of people all around them, they completed two full days of successful customer calls for a retail brand just before Black Friday. And the number of customers who asked about their location? Zero.
To further amplify this message, our own Diana Geman-Wollach and Neil Titcomb hosted a roundtable at the event, featuring William Carson of Ascensos, and Simon Black of Awaken They highlighted stats from our research detailing the extent to which background noise negatively impacts both live customer calls and post-call transcription and analysis.
IRIS’ Tom Darnell and Diana continued to co-host our live podcasts, chatting with Dave D’Arcy, Director EMEA Customer Care at RingCentral, about prioritising agent wellbeing; Gerry Brown, Chief Customer Rescue Officer at The Customer Lifeguard, about the importance of good customer service; Venesa Mušović Guillaume, Lead Editor at CX Magazine, about the unknowns in the future of CX; Nikki Quinn, Solutions Consultant at Playvox, about what to prioritise in a call centre; and last but not least, John Devlin and David Gilfillan, CEO and Technology Director at Ascensos, about winning three ECCCSA awards and showcasing their agents live at our stand. So many great conversations we encourage you to check out on YouTube or your podcasting platform of choice.
What did we learn between last year and this year’s events? The 2021 edition confirmed what we already thought: background noise is a huge issue in the call centre industry which negatively impacts productivity, the customer experience, and the agent experience. And the 2022 edition confirmed what we were already pretty sure of: IRIS Clarity can fix it. In even the most extreme environments — i.e. a jam-packed London ExCeL hall — our AI-powered product was able to remove all the background noise so that neither the agents’ or customers’ message was hindered. It doesn’t get much clearer than that.
So what of 2023?
In just one year, IRIS Clarity has already come a long way. From feature improvements such as compatibility and CPU optimisation, to technical enhancements such as training our AI to remove even more types of noise, to usability improvements such as a new dashboard and onboarding process, we’re continuously iterating and improving with our customers in mind.
In 2023, we plan to introduce IRIS Clarity’s unbeatable voice isolation to more call centres, more small businesses, and more industries that struggle with background noise. Watch this space for new use cases, exclusive research, and news of our next events and promotions.