This article first appeared in ICMI.
While there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to communication problems, there is a way for your organization to make communication faster and more efficient through the implementation of intelligently designed voice technology.
People have less and less time on their hands, and typing or providing manual input in machines often get too time consuming. Speech also happens to be a great democratic equalizer among different segments of the populace as it’s not dependent on your level of education or a complete grasp over grammar.
And it’s satisfying to automate tasks quickly through voice commands that would earlier take minutes or hours of tedious typing or manual inputs. Intelligently designed voice technology can provide all that and more, such as, immediate emotional assistance in situations where the user really needs it.
Because of this, businesses are rapidly deploying voice assistance technology. Here are three data points to consider:
- Juniper Research predicts that the number of voice assistants currently in use will triple by 2023 – that means 8 billion voice assistants deployed worldwide.
- Spending through voice assistants is expected to grow by 6 times compared to other channels.
- And finally, a recent survey revealed that 69% of IT decision-makers work at companies that employ voice technology or plan to invest in the same within the next 3 years.
Here are the primary benefits of voice:
Saves time for customers
Most people prefer to talk instead of typing or providing manual inpu,t and if your voice AI is efficient enough to understand the customer context even 80% of the way, you are well on your way to offering a seamless purchase experience.
Break off dependence on customer service agent availability
Voice can also help you in crafting communication/feedback loops based on asynchronous messaging. This breaks off the dependence on service agent availability, and gives your customer experience team the time to prepare responses that will truly provide value.
Improve overall accessibility
This is especially important for companies trying to keep up with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. Having speech input and analysis integrated as part of your customer experience can help you reach out to a wide diversity of customers with accessibility difficulties.
Help your customers reach out to you.
Voice-first messaging platforms and callback scheduling software can make it convenient for your customers to reach out naturally and spontaneously. Having the technology at their fingertips to record a voice message at any time of day or night can encourage your customers to interact more with your brand without pushing them for constant feedback.
Offer a more personalized experience
Voice assistance can offer highly personalized inputs to customers. In IVR processes, voice recognition can help authenticate a caller through voice pattern analysis and help customize the IVR flow according to that particular customer’s tastes and needs.
Challenges to delivering voice technology
To this point, the adoption of voice technology has been much slower than anticipated. That’s because voice still has some critical technology challenges to surmount. As analyst Svetlana Sicular said at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit, “Think of this time as the time of silent movies. Color and sound are coming, but they're not yet here.” And despite the growing pains, every 1 in 4 US adults now owns a smart speaker and 32 percent of people between 18 and 64 regularly use voice search – especially while driving.
As the color comes to the black-and-white landscape of voice assistance, the pace of the adoption of this emerging technology will only accelerate.
Jeff Penner is a senior manager at ActiveCo Technology Management, an IT Support Vancouver company. Jeff has been in the managed services industry since 2015, understanding what business owners are looking for from technology, and helping them find it. The most important element for a business owner taking on a new technology partner is peace of mind and thus Jeff directs his efforts on finding practical information that any leader can apply to their business. Jeff lives in Vancouver, BC, sharing his love for learning and “the great indoors” with his 2 daughters. Stay connected on Twitter.