Voice is Becoming the New Customer Touch Point
Guest Blog by Darya Efimova, Digital Transformation Observer at Iflexion
Voice-assisted technology–is it just hype or a serious assistant for your business? How about both?
While originally heavily utilising our visual system, technologies have recently turned their attention to another sense–auditory, including vocal communication.
The reason is simple: while you can quickly grasp the meaning of a short written text with your eyes, it’s much easier to interact with your device using natural human language. In fact, according to the 2018 PwC Consumer Intelligence Series voice assistants survey, 57% of the surveyed Americans use voice search at least monthly.
The voice tech industry is already thriving. Business didn’t hesitate in adapting these technologies and taking them mainstream, with Amazon (Alexa) and Apple (Siri) leading the pack.
In this article, we will explore voice-assisted technology and how business can adopt them for improving service quality.
How Voice Interaction Works
Voice interaction consists of two main processes: speech recognition and speech production. To perform these two complex operations, web applications use a variety of technologies, such as Web Speech API.
The speech recognition element works by analysing sounds, filtering the speech, and digitising it into a language that is understood by a computer. For this, it uses specially designed algorithms that engage linguistic science concepts.
Machine learning can be used to improve this process by “teaching” the machine to adopt its understanding to human speech. Google used this approach and managed to lower inaccuracy rates by 30%.
The machine can then present natural language as written text, or issue a verbal response with synthesised speech. This is the technology that powers Siri and its well-known “How can I help?” response.
Aside from being a fun technology, voice has huge potentials for business.
Business Benefits of Voice Recognition
Using voice technologies on a daily basis, we do not notice the way they influence our lives and change our behaviors; It’s quicker to say ‘Hello, Google’, rather than type our requests in a search bar. This ‘lazy style’ interaction with gadgets has influenced the way we seek information and as a result how we interact with brands as consumers.
In the past, retail businesses competed with their easy-to-use websites, but now the focus is on interactivity and voice technology. Google and Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—these are just the top of a long list of companies actively investing into the development and promotion of speech recognition. Fueled by these investments, the global voice recognition is poised to grow to nearly $50 billion by 2024, according to CB Insights.
So, what are the benefits of implementing voice recognition for your business?
- Customer connection
Communicating with customers using voice generates trust. For example, if a potential customer is taking the time to call rather than to scroll online, this means they have a question they need answered or are ready to make a purchase. Ensuring you answer those calls is vital to how the customers feel about your business. Additionally, when human resources aren’t enough and the requests can be simply resolved, voice technology can be a business life-saver.
- Data insights
Another great function that voice AI can provide your business with is data collection and processing. The system can learn about customers’ preferences in real time by identifying language collocations and grammar patterns. Having analysed the data, you can provide better customer support and effectively organise promotional activities.
- Bot support
Voice recognition platforms can engage the social nature of shopping with the help of chatbots. After a customer has made a request, the system may ask additional questions on the chosen item, guide the user to the necessary webpages or even to making a purchase. By providing such assistance, voice technology generates the feeling of a substantive dialogue, making shopping more enjoyable.
As humans, we naturally communicate through speech, and this makes it much more convenient to access a site using voice technology, especially if your hands are busy. In addition, this technology enables a more inclusive access for disabled people, in particular those who are sight-impaired or have issues with their hands.
Creating Customer Happiness with Voice Recognition
Brand that are most successful have long understood that customer loyalty is critical and innovation is key. This is where voice technologies can tick both boxes. Let’s have a look at some brands’ examples that have blazed the trail for voice:
Nestle utilised the potentials of Amazon Alexa in 2017, teaching the system the GoodNes skill and thereby helping their customers develop their cooking talents. On the GoodNes site, you can find lots of recipes accompanied by the Alexa cooking assistant, giving you voice instructions and responding to your requests, for example, when you want to hear the ingredients of a dish.
- Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker, the world-known whisky brand, employed Alexa to help their customers easily choose the best bottle of whisky to match their individual taste. Users just have to answer some questions and the system will suggest the ideal whisky.
The brand was guided by a simple idea: if filling out forms to order a pizza seems like a lot of unnecessary work, Siri can do it. Now, there is no need to wait for a Domino’s pizza’s operator answer a customer’s call, as the voice ordering system can help them place an order in a quick and fun way. This reduces service times and fosters customer satisfaction accordingly.
The Challenges of Voice and Its Future
Voice-assisted technologies are growing in popularity, expanding their influence and increasing their quality. Yet there are still some challenges when engaging this new technology.
- Extra costs of chatbots
Deploying a voice chatbot on your site isn’t as simple as ‘1, 2, 3, go’. For the system to work effectively, you will need to back it with data gathered from your customers. Secondly, you’ll need to employ specialists with adequate skills to initiate machine learning software to allow your bot to learn as it goes. This may run beyond your initially expected setup costs.
- Human supervision
When it comes to customer support, your voice-assistance system won’t be able to do 100% of the work. It’s impossible to predict all the conversations that your voice-support may have with a customer. There will still be cases where human assistance is required. So, while you can reduce costs, you will still need to employ a few humans in your organisation to deal with requests that extend the capabilities of your software.
- Implementing the latest technology
Before trying a new technology, it’s essential to know how you need it to be implemented. Often, in the face of competition, executives want to upgrade their businesses quickly while not realising completely how to do it effectively and if such technology is needed at all. In order to avoid extra expenses and work, it’s vital to consider the objectives of voice tech at the outset.
The Final Word on Voice
Voice-assisted technology is slowly conquering the online markets, signifying a complete change in consumer industries. Analysing customer data and subtly integrating it into the overall service, it helps brands to become more personal and create a higher-quality experience. To stay afloat, businesses need to experiment, invest and learn more about the possibilities of voice while it is still an emerging domain with multiple opportunities.
Guest Blog by Darya Efimova, Digital Transformation Observer at Iflexion
Darya Efimova is a Digital Transformation Observer at Iflexion. With an MA in Creative and Media Enterprises, Darya is an accomplished writer and industry insider helping IT leaders make sense of today’s tech disruptions and new market imperatives.