Accuracy and Speed as Voice Assistant Goals
Mar 23, 2021
7 MIN READ

Accuracy and Speed are Top Success Metrics for Voice Assistants

How do you measure the success of a voice assistant strategy? Opus Research asked that question on behalf of SoundHound Inc. in a recent survey of 320 business leaders in 8 key industries. According to 97% of survey respondents, accuracy and speed are the number one indicators of success, followed closely by customer satisfaction (94%). 

The performance of a voice user interface is at the core of the voice-first evolution. Brands implement voice AI experiences to improve customer experiences, and making those experiences fast and accurate is at the heart of what makes voice the first choice interface for users. To prove the power of speed and accuracy to deliver better user experiences, companies most often quantify the ROI of voice AI by tracking customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS), according to the survey.

According to 97% of survey respondents, accuracy and speed are the number one indicators of success, followed closely by customer satisfaction (94%). 

According to the research report results, some of the top companies are finding success with voice assistant strategies while others are still struggling to meet their goals of greater customer satisfaction, increased adoption, and repeat usage. Improving the voice AI experience is key to achieving the increases in engagement brands seek.

The core principle of a good voice experience is that it works well. Achieving that seemingly simple goal involves a few basic, but not simple, elements of voice user interface design. Here are 5 key elements of VUI design that will help improve the voice experience for your customers.

Solve for core use cases

When we look for the reasons behind the success of some popular voice assistants—Mercedes-BenzPandoraErica, and Beeb—the simplest explanation is the one thing they have in common: they are all purpose-built.

For a voice assistant to be purpose-built only requires that it is designed and developed with one thing in mind: the unique needs of a brand’s customer. This simple approach requires thorough research that results in a true understanding of your current customer base as well as your prospects and aspirational prospects—since a voice-first strategy should include a long-term roadmap.

For a voice assistant to be purpose-built only requires that it is designed and developed with one thing in mind: the unique needs of a brand’s customer. 

Drilling down to the core use cases for the voice assistant based on your user’s most urgent needs and common expectations allows for two things. First, it gives your teams a focus area for development, reducing time and resources expended developing the first iteration of your voice assistant. Secondly, focusing on core use cases will give your users the best chance of successfully interacting with your voice user interface the first time they use it—paving the way for repeat usage and brand affinity.

Your core use cases and unique voice experiences will be your brand differentiators in the future where more voice assistants exist in a variety of industries, products, services, and channels.

“For a brand and as a brand to stand out of the crowd we need a distinctive identity, and so companies have to invest in voice technology. With the increasing demand from users, it is very important, the potential in this technology is enormous.”

Opus Research Survey Respondent

It’s common for voice teams to see the potential for voice AI and try to add too much or do too much—bogging down the voice assistant with unneeded use cases. Setting the intention to deliver service to your customers, even if it means the voice assistant only addresses a few simple things that your customers think are useful, will set you on the right path. 

Your core use cases and unique voice experiences will be your brand differentiators in the future where more voice assistants exist in a variety of industries, products, services, and channels.

Build customer confidence

Why are you adding a voice assistant to your company roadmap? According to the Opus Research survey, 81% of businesses are offering voice assistants to improve customer service. Measuring the effectiveness of a voice assistant to create frictionless customer experiences is dependent on customers either continuing to use the voice assistant or simply choosing voice over other methods, such as touch and type.

“The gap between design consideration and business outcomes is very narrow as 90% of respondents recognize that increases in the number of users and repeat usage are valuable performance metrics that pave the way for recognizing the next level of outcomes.”

Opus Research Analyst

If you’ve already implemented a voice assistant that isn’t meeting goals for repeat engagement, look at your user data to see what’s causing the friction and where your users are dropping out of the conversation. Iterate immediately on any common sources of frustration to build confidence among your users to continue using your voice assistant.

Once you’ve proven you can answer their questions or provide the functionality they seek, your users will be much more amenable to exploring more ways your voice assistant can meet their needs. Continue to build your voice assistant capability based on real customer queries and the data you gather from a brand-owned voice assistant.

81% of businesses are offering voice assistants to improve customer service. 

It’s not possible to build the same level of confidence with users when you don’t own the customer relationship and the resulting data. User data is the key that unlocks the mysteries of why, where, and when your customers are using your voice assistant and if you’re successfully fulfilling their requests.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that a voice assistant isn’t a single touchpoint, it’s a system. One and done is never enough. Although it takes persistent effort and resources, continuing to improve and iterate on the experience pays off—as evidenced in the improved customer satisfaction scores experienced by those companies already implementing custom voice assistants for their brands.

User data is the key that unlocks the mysteries of why, where, and when your customers are using your voice assistant and if you’re successfully fulfilling their requests.

Speak the language of your customers

Lately, the conversation around inherent biases in voice assistants has expanded into the ability to recognize accents and respond to users from different geographies, regions, ages, genders, and races. Companies not focusing on improving the linguistic understanding of their voice assistants risk user abandonment. Simply stated, if your voice assistant doesn’t understand the unique lexicon of your users, it isn’t delivering on the promise of a better customer experience.

Know your user base and be sure to collect training data that includes regional accents and a variety of voice qualities that include gender, age, and race. In addition, creating custom domains that include any specific terms or acronyms associated with your product or service will ensure that your voice assistant is speaking the language of your users.

If your voice assistant doesn’t understand the unique lexicon of your users, it isn’t delivering on the promise of a better customer experience.

If you’re a global company—as most are these days—you’ll want to partner with a voice AI vendor that has already developed a library of most of the world’s languages and has the capability and willingness to include those spoken by your users.

For industries where accessibility is key, be sure your voice AI technology can accommodate imprecise speech and speech differences. Even if the top goal for a voice experience isn’t increased accessibility, it ranked prominently among most industries—indicating that leading business leaders are considering democratization of technology and access to products and services as an important driver of voice AI strategies moving forward. 

“VAs are a global phenomenon and there is a growing need for services that understand multiple languages and can quickly adapt to the common phrases, brand names, and lexicon associated with a specific domain, company, or vertical industry.”

Opus Research Analyst

Overcoming business challenges with brand-owned voice assistants

When identifying the top business challenges, concerns about security, data privacy, consumer trust and compliance topped the list for 60% of survey respondents.

Customer trust is at the center of privacy discussions around voice assistant implementation. Fear over data privacy comes down to the relationship that a brand establishes with its customers. If the company is able to deliver on its promises, it builds an atmosphere of trust that extends to willingness to share personal information. But, that trust doesn’t transfer to other companies, as people don’t trust one brand the same way they trust another—even if they are business partners. 

When identifying the top business challenges, concerns about security, data privacy, consumer trust and compliance topped the list for 60% of survey respondents.

Building customer relationships and communicating data privacy policies are central to the business value of building a custom voice assistant. People are more likely to share information with companies they trust, if they know that information is going to result in better products and services, and lead to personalized experiences.

The advancements in machine learning and AI have created an atmosphere where computers are better able than humans to convert customer information into actionable insights for the company that owns the data. Customer information can be accurately stored and surfaced at the next touchpoint, relieving friction for the customer and gaining efficiencies for the company.

Custom, branded voice assistants have the potential to create trusted relationships between the brand and its customers, as long as it’s done in a way that creates real value. If the rules are clear and brands deliver on their promises, the hesitancy toward privacy will slowly make way for more personalized and satisfying experiences for users.

Deliver value

Accuracy, speed, customer satisfaction, and Net Promoter Scores are all just different ways of measuring the value companies are delivering for their customers. It’s the core of the voice AI experience and it can’t be under emphasized.

According to the Opus Research report, more than half of the respondents are considering how voice AI will fit with their company’s long-term roadmap and are looking for a vendor that offers an end-to-end solution. These top considerations support the trends we’re seeing toward custom voice experiences at every touchpoint. Many respondents also indicated they wanted voice to be the first choice of interfaces for their customers.

More than half of the respondents are considering how voice AI will fit with their company’s long-term roadmap and are looking for a vendor that offers an end-to-end solution.

While voice AI will continue to be part of a multi-modal experience moving forward, the business value of customized voice assistants is already leading top companies to pivot away from dependence on third-party platforms to deliver their brand message. Instead, leading brands are taking a holistic approach and creating omni-channel experiences that will continue to move the CSAT and NPS scores in the right direction.

Recently, Opus Research published a research report based on a global survey of 320 business leaders in 8 industries conducted to get the pulse of the state of voice assistant implementation and the trends toward custom voice AI solutions. You can read the report in its entirety and see the on-demand webinar to learn, “The Business Value of Customized Voice Assistants”.

At SoundHound Inc., we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore Houndify’s independent voice AI platform at Houndify.com and register for a free account. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

Karen Scates is a storyteller with a passion for helping others through content. Argentine tango, good books and great wine round out Karen’s interests.

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