How two events and a tech lover’s marketplace helped us find our audience and fine-tune our voice isolation app
Building a new product feels a little bit like playing God. You spend the first “5 days” creating things from nothing, seeing how they interact, playing in a sandbox away from the gaze and pressure of others. On the “6th day,” you give it life — you release it into the world. And while God had the luxury of a “7th day” of rest, let’s just say we look forward to when that day comes. For now, at IRIS, we’re soaking in that sweet but nerve-racking moment when we introduce our creation to the people it was destined to serve.
Here’s a look at IRIS Clarity’s first steps in the wild, when we tested it out pre-launch at the Call & Contact Centre Expo and The Business Show in London, and hit #4 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.
Showcasing IRIS Clarity at ExCel London
Following months of building and testing IRIS Clarity, we decided to introduce it to two key audiences for whom we built the app: contact centres and remote workers. Fortunately, two conferences were about to take place in London: the Call & Contact Centre Expo and The Business Show.
After brainstorming the best way to showcase IRIS Clarity’s capabilities in what is often — let’s face it — a monotonous, unexciting environment, we put together a popping stand: IRIS Clarity’s signature black and mint green colours, three demo stations to put IRIS Clarity to the test in the noisy space, a comfortable couch to host guests for the IRIS Pod, and the real attention-grabber — an F1 simulator as a nod to our racing roots.
The Call & Contact Centre Expo: solving the pain of background noise for call centres, voice analytics, and employee wellbeing
Our first event, the Call & Contact Centre Expo, allowed us to get amazing feedback from CX leaders from hundreds of companies, so we could better understand the ways in which IRIS Clarity can help them. After two days of conversations around the frustrations contact centres experience due to constant background noise in their workplace, we felt both empathetic to their pain and validated in our mission to solve it.
One thing we heard again and again was how much money these companies were spending on noise-cancelling headphones that were not providing the results they were looking for. Call centres are extremely metrics-driven, and it was clear to these leaders that background noise was impacting several of their key areas: CSAT (customer satisfaction), time to resolution, and agent churn.
We built IRIS Clarity to address these very issues and when we demoed the app in the live — and very noisy — conference environment, we were thrilled to see people’s reactions as the background noise simply faded away. When we told them that IRIS Clarity would be a valuable and seamless addition to their existing noise-cancelling headsets and VoIP or thin server setup, they eagerly took us up on our offer for a free trial.
In addition to helping call centres improve their KPIs, IRIS Clarity also offers clear benefits to voice analytics companies such as Awaken, who use their own software to determine the effectiveness of their customer calls, and who told us they spend excessive amounts of time and money trying to decipher noisy, unclear conversations. Cleaning up the audio by isolating the voice at the onset can significantly improve voice analytics performance, saving companies like Awaken valuable time and resources.
We also had a great conversation with the team at Wellity about the impact of bad audio on employee wellbeing. The call centre industry has always struggled with agent satisfaction and employee churn is much higher than in other industries. Removing noise from a conversation also helps remove the stress noise brings, and this excited both Wellity and IRIS, as it’s a long-standing problem that has yet to find an effective solution. Wellity themselves took a few calls from our stand at the expo and were very impressed with IRIS Clarity in action. Keep an eye out for future IRIS Clarity and Wellity collaborations to come!
The Business Show: adapting to all kinds of work environments, from pets, vacuums and noisy neighbours to roadworks, factories, and even farming
With the Call & Contact Centre stand being such a hit, we recreated our setup — F1 simulator included — at The Business Show, which also took place at ExCel a week later. Because The Business Show caters to all company sizes and industries, it introduced us, and IRIS Clarity, to a far more diverse audience. Leaders and employees from all kinds of organisations came to us with different noise-related problems that IRIS Clarity could solve.
We tested IRIS Clarity’s algorithm on everything from dogs, vacuums, and noisy neighbours to roadworks, factory machines, and even farm noises (it turns out cackling chickens can be just as disruptive to work calls as yapping dogs!). We loved hearing about the different use cases attendees enquired about. We particularly enjoyed testing some of them and seeing people’s faces as their sounds were successfully removed.
Being a business expo, attendees were holding a lot of virtual meetings on location, too. With that, we received the best validation we could hope for: seeing people come to our stand, pop at a desk, and take their real-life work calls from there — with IRIS Clarity toggled on.
Launching IRIS Clarity for Mac on Product Hunt
Another way we decided to put IRIS Clarity to the test was by launching it on Product Hunt. For those who don’t know, Product Hunt is a platform that introduces brand new products to an engaged community of tech enthusiasts. Every day, people vote on their favourite products of the day, and product makers hope to earn one of the Top Products of the Day badges.
At the time, our Mac version was ready for release while our Windows version was in final testing. Eager to get into beta testing with some external users, we decided to soft launch IRIS Clarity for Mac with the Product Hunt community. The beauty of Product Hunt is that you can’t buy votes. The platform is extremely strict when it comes to requesting support, and any attempt to incentivise votes actually penalises you. The only way to make it to the top of the leaderboard is to deliver a good product — plain and simple.
We built some anticipation by creating a Product Hunt “Ship” page before our launch date on the platform. We shared it across our socials and contacts, and generated a waitlist with those interested in being notified when IRIS Clarity launched. The day before launch, we messaged everyone with a heads up, and at midnight Pacific time, we let IRIS Clarity fly for the first time on its own! We were both excited and nervous to see how people would respond — it’s one thing being able to demo the app in person at an event and quite another to see how others use it on their own.
A few hours in, we were #2 Product of the Day! We got amazing comments and feedback from a community which was clearly experienced but also demanding. That kind of engagement was invaluable to us — both in terms of fine-tuning our product and adjusting our roadmap for future improvements. The best part was seeing people rave about how well IRIS Clarity worked to remove background noise from their children, pets, construction, and more. By the end of the day, among some fierce competition, we landed at #4 Product of the Day. We’re super proud to have generated so much support, and we’re beyond grateful to the Product Hunt community for letting us test IRIS Clarity with them before our official launch!
Whether it’s catering to the long-standing frustrations of call centre agents, the intricacies of voice analytics, the growing concerns for employee wellbeing, or the steady rise of hybrid working, we’re determined to make IRIS Clarity a staple in the everyday employee’s toolkit. Testing the app at these events and online, and seeing how much interest and excitement it generated organically was a huge win for the team who’s worked so hard to build it. It gave us the confidence we needed to tackle our full launch last month, and the dogged determination to continually make it better — all with the aim of helping the world to Listen Well.
As 2022 kicks into high gear, so does the list of exciting opportunities for us at IRIS. Keep an eye out for other events and partnerships we’ve got in the works!