Did you know people have less tolerance for spotty sound than grainy video? That’s partly because we’ve evolved to deal with blurry sights in rain and fog, but nothing in nature sounds quite like a hissing audio connection. In today’s world of web conferencing and virtual sales demos, most people are accustomed to poor audio quality. However, that doesn’t change their biology. Increasingly, research has shown that sound quality can determine your perceived credibility and professionalism.
Here’s exactly how subpar sound quality might be pushing customers away.
Low-Quality Audio Makes You Seem Less Trustworthy
Does sound quality affect whether we believe what we hear? In a 2018 study, researchers from USC and the Australian National University joined forces to answer this question.
People were shown videos of scientists presenting their research in the study. Different groups were shown the same videos, except one group heard clear, high-quality audio, while the other group heard low-quality audio.
“When the sound quality was poor, the participants thought the researcher wasn’t as intelligent,” reported Dr. Eryn Newman of ANU. “They didn’t like them as much and found their research less important.”
The researchers then repeated this experiment using well-known scientists who were featured on a popular program called US Science Friday. These scientists were also introduced with prestigious credentials, including their titles and institutional affiliations.
According to Dr. Newman, “It made no difference… As soon as we reduced the audio quality, all of a sudden the scientists and their research lost credibility.”
If your business relies heavily on virtual demos, the sound quality could be seriously impairing your sales reps’ credibility.
Bad Microphone Output Causes Physical Stress
The sound of a bad microphone has been found to cause physiological stress responses. Researchers learned this by exposing people to six different types of sub-optimal sound, including too loud, too quiet, and sound cutting in and out. The “bad microphone” sound resulted in more stress than the other kinds of imperfect audio.
Surprisingly (and perhaps worryingly), the people in this study weren’t aware of their stress levels. The recording that caused the most physiological stress didn’t receive the lowest ratings. This means that if your employees’ microphones sound bad, your customers might be experiencing physical discomfort during calls without even realizing it.
Audio/Video Mismatch Misdirects Attention
It’s harder to absorb information when audio and video are out of sync because the viewer’s attention is divided between the content and the additional effort of following the disjunct video/sound. As a result, people also have a hard time remembering the content presented.
In addition, audio/video mismatch is clearly unnatural, and that has consequences. When sound and video are out of sync, people’s suspension of disbelief is broken; they feel less “in the moment” and are less engaged with what’s happening on screen.
Don’t Let Poor Audio Cut Into Your Profits
It’s 2019, and there are simple solutions to prevent these problems from ever happening in your business. Whether you need crystal clear sound on calls, meetings, webcasts, or webinars, we’re here to help. Get in touch!