The Most Memorable Corporate Telephone System Voices

Keaton Robbins | June 28, 2023

Panorama focus hand holding headset on call center workspace desk with blur background of operator team or telesales representative engaging in providing client with customer support service. Prodigy

For many of us, interacting with a corporate telephone system doesn’t conjure up the most exciting of feelings. 

However, there have been some creative companies that have used talented voice actors to inject life and energy into a typically mundane experience.

In this article

  1. Pat Fleet, The Voice of AT&T
  2. Jane Barbe, The “Time Lady”
  3. Joanne Daniels, The Voice of British Telecom
  4. Other Notable Telephone Voices
  5. Parodies in Movies and Television
  6. Memorable Telephone System Campaigns and Tactics
  7. IKEA’s On-Hold Music: 
  8. Virgin Atlantic: 
  9. Zappos:
  10. Conclusion

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Corporate telephone systems have become an integral part of our daily lives in the 21st century, and while we may not pay much attention to the voice on the other end of the line, some voices have become famous in their own right.

Thanks to the voice talent who bring them to life, these voices have become synonymous with the companies they represent. 

Here are some of the most memorable corporate telephone system voices:

Pat Fleet, The Voice of AT&T

Pat Fleet’s voice has been used in AT&T’s automated phone systems for over three decades, making her one of the most recognizable voices in the industry. 

Fleet began her career as a voice actor in the 1970s, and has also worked on several well-known TV shows and movies.

Jane Barbe, The “Time Lady”

Jane Barbe was another legendary voice actor, whose work was heard by millions of people across the United States. 

She was most famous for her role as the “Time Lady”, whose voice was used to announce the time in automated phone systems. Barbe’s soothing voice was also used in weather reports and emergency alerts. 

Barbe passed away in 2003, but her voice continues to be used in some systems even today; which is a testament to her legacy within this niche.

Joanne Daniels, The Voice of British Telecom

Joanne Daniels was the voice of British Telecom for many years, and her friendly, reassuring tone helped to make the company’s automated phone systems more approachable. 

Daniels’ voice was also used in various public service announcements and commercials in the United Kingdom as well. 

Daniels retired from her role in 2003, but her voice can still be heard in some BT systems today.

Other Notable Telephone Voices

There are many other talented voice actors who have made their mark in the world of corporate telephony. 

One is Susan Bennett, a former backup singer for Roy Orbison and Burt Bacharach from Vermont, who provided the voice for Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. 

Recently, Bennett’s voice has become unmistakable because of the massive popularity of the iPhone and other Apple devices that feature her voice. “The Siri Voice” has been parodied and mimicked countless times in TV shows, radio, social media and movies.

Parodies in Movies and Television

Corporate telephone system voices have become the norm for many people’s experiences and interactions with large corporations and local businesses alike.

And as we mentioned above, they have been poked fun at in popular culture in various ways, time and time again.

The reason corporate telephone system voices are often parodied in movies and TV shows, is usually to highlight their often robotic and impersonal experience. 

One classic show that leaned into corporate telephone parodies was ‘Seinfeld’. 

The show about nothing ruled TV sets in the 1990s.‘Seinfeld’, and particularly Jerry Seinfeld, was known for its observational humor, and it didn’t shy away from poking fun at the quirks of the corporate telephone culture. 

Episodes like ‘The Phone Message’ and ‘The Secret Code’ hilariously depict the miscommunication and misunderstandings that arise from voicemails, answering machines, and caller ID. 

Memorable Telephone System Campaigns and Tactics

Finally, many companies have used their corporate telephone system voices in advertising campaigns. Some of the best include:

IKEA’s On-Hold Music: 

IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, has found a way to transform the often-dreaded experience of being put on hold into an enjoyable one. 

IKEA replaced traditional hold music with quirky, catchy tunes that reflect their brand’s fun and light-hearted nature. By incorporating music that aligns with their brand personality, IKEA creates a memorable and engaging experience for customers, turning potential frustration into an opportunity for entertainment.

Virgin Atlantic: 

Virgin Atlantic, the airline known for its unique approach to customer service, has extended its audio brand to its telephone system voice. 

The airline’s telephone system features a charming British voice that provides information and assistance to callers. By incorporating the friendly and engaging tone the brand is known for, Virgin Atlantic creates a consistent and enjoyable experience for customers, even during routine interactions.


Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer, takes a customer-centric approach to its telephone system voice. 

The company’s recent campaign focuses on providing exceptional customer service through its phone interactions. The telephone system voice at Zappos is warm, enthusiastic, and genuinely helpful, creating a welcoming and positive experience for callers. 


The voices behind corporate telephone systems may often go unnoticed, but the good ones stick with us.

Whether it’s Pat Fleet’s friendly voice guiding us through AT&T’s phone system or Jane Barbe’s soothing voice announcing the time, these voices have become a part of our daily lives. 

And while some of these early voice actors may have passed away, their voices continue to live on in the systems they helped to create.

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