The blog post, written by Martin Heusser, discusses changes in how Microsoft's Teams auto attendants now use a male voice for Text-to-Speech (TTS) greetings, particularly noting the lack of an option to switch gender voices in its admin center. The change affects new and modified auto attendants altering the language setting. Read more about Teams here.
This sudden modification is causing inconsistencies in user experiences, where in one part of the call flow, users hear male voices, and in other parts, they hear female voices. These incongruities are especially challenging considering the options for changing voice genders is uneven across the platform. For instance, while you can adjust the gender voice on an auto attendant via PowerShell, unfortunately, this option is not available for the call queues.
Another issue raised is the deletion of any configured TTS welcome greeting whenever a queue is saved using PowerShell. A temporary workaround suggested is to use an audio file as the welcome greeting until Microsoft resolves this problem.
Primarily, the chosen voice for TTS greetings are not consistent. Teams admin centers default to female voices for call queues and male voices for major languages in auto attendants. This division creates confusion in the user experience as frequently heard voice genders change abruptly during a call.
This issue arises from call queues and auto attendants using the Azure Cognitive Services TTS API. Over time, some of these voices get improved, or entirely new options are added. Unfortunately, the problem occurs when the language of an auto attendant is changed, defaulting to male for all the languages affected.
The blog offers a code script to extract the default VoiceId for all supported languages and exports them to a CSV, highlighting the predominant use of male voices in numerous regions.
This observation led to a call for Microsoft to recognize and rectify this inconvenience. Until then, caution is advised when updating auto attendants through TAC, to avoid unintended adjustments to the VoiceId setting.Read the full article What’s Up with Teams Auto Attendants Suddenly Using a Male Voice for TTS?
With the recent emergence of male voices in Teams' auto attendants, many users have expressed confusion and dissatisfaction. Why is this a cause for concern? Simply because there is no option to modify the VoiceId (female/male) from Teams Admin Center for auto attendants or call queues. The consequence of this change boils down to inconsistency in user experiences.
What if your call flow utilizes both attendants and queues? Your callers would then encounter an inconsistency as they hear male voices in some areas and female voices in others.
Whilst we can alter the voice (female/male) on an auto attendant using PowerShell, the same cannot be said for call queues. This software interface limit indicates that call queue greetings will always be synthesized by a female voice. That said, there aren't any options to verify apart from actually making a call to the queue and listening in.
Surprisingly, even the welcome TTS greeting feature is neglected in PowerShell, there isn't even an option to set or view this property, this is still the case even in Teams PowerShell 4.9.1. What this implies for users is that if you're using TTS welcome greetings on your call queues in production, any configured TTS welcome greeting will be wiped from your queues every single time you save a queue using PowerShell!
Take note, if you're experimenting with PowerShell to update your queues or even constantly setting your greeting in Teams Admin Centre (TAC), think again! None are good options and the latter absolutely undermines the purpose of PowerShell as a tool.
Similarly for auto attendants, it's actually possible to adjust the VoiceId by means of PowerShell without the limitations present in call queues.
If you've noticed this pattern previously, every time an update in TAC was made, the VoiceId would be reset to male. However, this behaviour isn't always consistent as sometimes it defaults back to male or on occasion, would remain as female regardless of any changes made in TAC.
Following this, any modifications to the language of an auto attendant through TAC will default to male for all the affected languages. This essentially restricts us to being solely reliant on either TAC (assuming you're fine with male voices), or PowerShell if you wish to maintain a female voice.
So what caused this? The Azure Cognitive Services Text-to-Speech (TTS) API, which is available to all Azure customers, are used by auto attendants and call queues. Over time, some of these voices get improved and some languages were given entirely new voices. Sadly, due to the lack of information made available, it's unclear exactly when this change took place.
By using a script, we can extract the default VoiceId for all the supported languages and export them into a CSV file. This can potentially help you identify if you are using any affected languages. Notably, Teams auto attendants have a disproportionately difficult time finding available voices.
Lamentably, Microsoft is yet to offer a resolution for this issue. Meanwhile, we hope that this article provides some useful insights and help you manage the problem efficiently.
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