The world is growing more and more diverse, and uncommon names are becoming prominent. If mispronunciation is the largest threat to a budding relationship with a client, professionals need some tricks up their sleeve to adjust. We need to change the way we think about how we pronounce names.
But change isn’t always direct. Sometimes, channeling a vision into the smallest parts can lay the groundwork for a greater movement. Apple has revolutionized the music industry, but it all started with an iPod. By chiseling down grand schemes into actionable steps through data and design, companies get closer to their ultimate goals.
When we started NameShouts, we had a vision to change how people connect. There was no reliable tool to learn name pronunciations and a growing need for people to be able to connect. Employees at work were afraid to burn bridges with foreign customers. Our co-founders’ own work in client-facing positions was often hindered by a lack of accessible and accurate pronunciations. So they decided to take action.
NameShouts offers a simple and easy way for people to pronounce names, whether that’s at work, home or school. Initially, we did this through a web app, offering users the ability to access our database through plans that control their monthly usage. By offering a consistently available free plan, anyone can use the tool, find the names they need, and be a part of our solution.
What’s in a product?
A web app can only solve half the problem. If you have to return to a website every time you want to learn to pronounce names, you’re going to lose some time. That’s time you could spend on making a game-changing call, contacting new clients, or conceptualizing strong company cultures. Because of this, we offer an API: software integration providing access to our database.
The API presented a good opportunity for larger organizations to get access to NameShouts, but there was a small problem: people don’t understand the term “API.” The average NameShouts user isn’t interested in implementing software. They want a one-step solution for their toolkit: therefore, no matter how accessible our API may be, and how easy it is to install, it’s not the best starting point. So, with this new problem in mind, it was time to brainstorm an answer.
The first step in our journey to the ideal user experience was pinpointing who needed our tool. We knew NameShouts was valuable for people in client-facing positions. But who were those people, and what clients were they facing? Narrowing it down, the people who needed this tool most were engaging in high volumes, at high stakes. So they’re probably working in real estate, human resources, or sales. Because we had hundreds of users in all these highlighted sectors, we knew we had to be on to something.
Painting it Chrome
The data dive continued. Where are these people going on the internet for work? Where will they be trying to pronounce names? How do we build a solution that they can easily install? Looking at the data, we found that many of our users engage with our website in Chrome. Consequently, to keep them from dealing with terminology and coding, a Chrome extension was the way to go. Furthermore, after continuing our research, we came to the conclusion that if someone’s using Chrome at work, they’re going to be going to a few specific sites.
Due to this, we equipped our extension with support for LinkedIn and Facebook, two major social networks. We added Hubspot, the CRM we use at NameShouts, for those engaging at higher volumes on the sales side of things. Because we live the #StartupLife, we had to drop in AngelList. And Slack for inter-workplace communications – the best #CX comes from strong employee experience. By choosing these five websites, we believe we tackled some of the most visited websites by our personas — and positioned our product as a well-rounded addition to a sales toolkit.
Let’s pronounce names
It was now time to envision the usage of our product. The first action you can take is to listen to a native speaker pronounce your chosen name in its language. Users who want more information can open up a pop-up that functions more like the web app. Within it, you can access the IPA, gender and other languages of the name. We also included Snail Mode to provide a slowed down pronunciation of a more complicated name.
So we got to work. And we managed to condense our company’s vision into a single button, accessible on every website our potential customers would be using. By doing this, we found a solution that works for everyone by understanding our users’ workflow. Now, as we get ready to launch our latest product, we know we’ve done the research to get us into as many hands as possible. Let’s get to closing deals, making connections and building inclusive communities. Let’s start pronouncing things right.
The NameShouts Chrome Extension is available now on the Chrome Marketplace. Click here to download the extension and get started. You’ll need to set up a NameShouts account to use the extension on supported websites. Free access is limited to 50 names per month.