“We are going through one of those technology shifts that come around every 10 to 15 years. We witnessed it with computers and the web in the mid-90s. More recently, there’s been a tremendous impact of mobile technology and the way it has shaped consumer interactions with retailers and brands. Now we believe there is a new era, which is powered by voice and this will have a major impact on commerce.” — Giulio Montemagno, General Manager at Amazon Pay Europe
How often do you talk to Siri or Alexa a day?
As we continue to get the news and weather updates from our speakers, cars, and phones, we may be asking ourselves, what does the future of these voice assistants look like?
Voice is an umbrella term we use to describe any interaction where you use natural language to control a computer. This could be your TV remote with voice enablement, your smartphone with Siri, or a new class of devices that we refer to as smart speakers (i.e. Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, and Apple HomePod).
Voice presents a new opportunity for users to connect to the internet. If there is one thing we have learned with the evolution of the digital world, it’s that users’ information needs don’t change because of the interface or device. The nature of their interaction, however, does change and it is amplified with voice.
Keep reading to learn more about how voice can benefit your brand and how you can get started now.
Voice Can Be Your Competitive Advantage
Voice presents the opportunity for brands to improve their customer experiences and operations. The initial purpose of voice is to inform and help customers. It’s a matter of answering questions, providing services, helping with product selection, and much more.
Here are some quick and easy wins for voice implementation.
Virtual call center. Think about the amount of time customer service representatives spend answering basic questions. Voice has the potential to answer frequently asked questions, and save those that are more difficult for human operators.
Flash briefing with a lifestyle tip of the day. This is a great way to build brand affinity and to be a part of your customer’s morning routine on a daily basis.
Answer center in your own brand voice/tone. This allows brands to provide your audience with information in your own unique way.
Internal corporate communications. If you want to know how many vacation days you have, imagine how much easier it would be to ask your voice assistant instead of searching through multiple files and emailing your HR representative.
Now, let’s see this in action.
“Alexa, open Lysol.” Lysol needed to help its audience understand how to reduce germs in their homes to help battle cold and flu season. Lysol created Lysol GermCast, which is powered by WebMD’s cold and flu data, and provides users with cold and flu levels in the area by zip code. Lysol provided cleaning tips and checklists around the house, as well as recommendations for Lysol products. In this situation, Lysol provided users with useful information and value through an effective voice strategy.
“Alexa, open ButterBall.” ButterBall offers a turkey hotline every year around Thanksgiving and they staff it with human operators who answer questions about cooking your holiday turkeys. In 2019, ButterBall released an Alexa skill that came from 36 years worth of experience from turkey experts. Instead of using the Alexa voice, they recorded the answers in the voices of three of the company’s experts which gives this feature a nice human touch. The result of this experience was that it increased customer satisfaction, while reducing cost to the company.
Getting Started With Voice
Consumers view their customer journeys as holistic experiences—voice included. When you’re thinking about your voice experience, focus on how it fits into your entire brand ecosystem. When you keep the customer at the center of this experience, it will not only set you up for success with communication consistency, efficiency, and profitability.
The good news is that some of the work you’ve already been doing to be consistent in other channels can help form voice experiences. This provides you with the opportunity to identify what existing content is meeting customer needs and solving their problems best. This also gives you insight to understanding those problems that you haven’t been able to solve yet.
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These insights came from Voice 101 for Business: Understand the Who, What, and Why, an AI Academy for Marketers course presented by Scot and Susan Westwater of Pragmatic Digital.
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Gianna is an intern for Ready North and Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute. She is a senior at Ohio University studying Management Information Systems, Analytics, and Marketing.