Increasing voice AI adoption
Sep 16, 2021
3 MIN READ

5 Strategies to Increase User Adoption of Voice AI

Building, buying, or partnering to implement a voice AI strategy takes time, effort, and investment. Once companies have surpassed those hurdles, the greatest challenges are user adoption and implementing effective programs to onboard, educate, and expand usage beyond the simplest use cases. Brands already know that by increasing user adoption, they can generate more positive reviews, improve Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and prove the ROI on their voice investment. 

According to Statista, there were 4.2 billion voice assistants worldwide in 2020 and by 2024 that number is projected to increase to 8.4 billion—demonstrating the continued exponential growth of voice assistant usage. To keep pace with the growth rates and rising user expectations, companies can’t leave adoption of their voice assistants up to trends or chance. Instead, companies need to proactively put strategies in place to educate users, increase usage, and ensure future voice assistant success.

Whether you’re just starting to plan your voice AI strategy, are actively building, partnering, or buying your voice assistant, or have a voice technology that is actively being used by consumers, your branded voice experience can benefit from a plan of action to increase user adoption.

Here are 5 essential strategies to increasing user adoption of voice AI

  1. Simple onboarding
  2. User education
  3. Conversational voice user interface
  4. Market the product
  5. Continuous improvement

Make onboarding simple and easy

Voice assistant onboarding should be as straightforward and easy as possible so the user can immediately start using the product without any hiccups or misunderstandings. According to Finances Online, there was a 25% increase in retention solely due to onboarding programs, showing that users will be more likely to use a voice assistant if the onboarding is a seamless and convenient experience. 

There was a 25% increase in retention solely due to onboarding programs.

Finances Online

Here are some methods to create simple and easy onboarding:

  • Easily pronounceable and memorable wake word
  • Fast and accurate responses
  • Suggest questions 
  • Reward successes

branded wake word should be easy to pronounce and remember so that users can easily activate their voice assistant. If the wake word makes the user stumble, is forgotten, or creates confusion, the user will have a large obstacle between them and using the voice assistant, which could lead to poor reviews or abandoning the product. 

Fast and accurate responses are essential for onboarding and showing the user what to expect when using the voice assistant. If the voice AI isn’t able to understand the user, asks them to repeat the question, or takes too long to respond, the user could become frustrated, confused, and uncertain about whether the voice assistant is the best, most convenient interface. 

One of the quickest ways to onboard a voice AI user is to ensure they don’t become stuck or unsure of what to ask. A possible solution is to suggest potential questions, use cases, or domains they can ask via pop-up banners, email notifications, or other communications.

Using a new voice assistant comes with a lot of unfamiliar territory and new processes to learn. Congratulating or rewarding users with affirmative phrases on completing vital steps in the onboarding process is a supportive way of letting them know they are on the right track and creates a good user experience. 

Educate users on features and queries

While voice assistants are an advanced technology capable of a multitude of complex functions, most users only ask voice assistants for the same, few simple requests. According to HP, the top ways to use a voice assistant are to play music, create a shopping list, manage timers, and get news, weather, and traffic. 

User education is vital, so consumers know which domains they can use, what features are available, and what types of things they can do or get help with. Voice assistants are capable of so much more than just setting timers, and companies need to educate their users on how to use their voice assistants to the fullest. With increased user education, users will have a more fulfilling and positive user experience and will be more likely to recommend the brand to others and give it positive reviews. 

A single, one-time educational opportunity often isn’t enough as users are likely to have more questions once they begin using the voice assistant. To meet the needs of most users, education strategies should be scattered over a period of time, be continuous, and approach the user from multiple angles to allow for learning differences and not overload the user’s memory.

Here are three tactics to educate users on voice assistant functionality:

  1. Provide tips
  2. Use examples
  3. Give options

Tips are a great way to give small doses of bite-sized, actionable usage information that can be tried right away. Tips can also appear in a variety of places—in an app, email, text message, or voice message. Brands should evaluate which method will best reach their users or try some A/B testing and then look to the data to see where users are engaging with the tips the most. 

“By providing different tips and hints each time someone visits the app, we help people discover new things that voice can help them with.”

Erik Bue
Senior Product Designer
SoundHound Inc.

Examples can be used to give users prompts on what they can ask their voice assistant. They are also an efficient way to introduce users to new or unknown domains that they can access. For example, a voice assistant can give examples, such as, “What’s today’s football game score?” or “Search for flights under $300 that are leaving on November 5th from SFO to Seattle.” Brands can sprinkle in an extra layer of personalization by using past search history to give examples relevant to the user.  

It’s also important to give the user options of what to say if they haven’t spoken in a while. A voice assistant should take note of the lack of queries and provide some options for users that may be unsure or confused about how to use their voice assistant. Customers are more likely to use the voice assistant consistently when they receive instructions at appropriate moments and in an authentic and meaningful way.

Create a conversational voice user interface

A great product can speak for itself, and a voice assistant with an exceptional voice user interface will give consumers a superb experience that will increase adoption, positive reviews, and brand evangelists that speak about the benefits of the voice assistant to others, leading to more adoption. 

A great voice user interface should be conversational, so the user can speak to it in a natural, casual manner while maintaining a high level of accuracy and speed of response. The conversational AI should be able to understand compound and complex queries and be context-aware, so the user doesn’t have to repeat any information previously stated. 

For example, a user could ask, “Find hiking trails in Berkeley, CA that are rated four stars or higher, are a loop, are less than 5 miles, and are dog-friendly,” then follow up with, “And ones that are in Oakland.” By understanding complicated queries in a conversational manner, users will be more likely to engage with and continue to use the voice assistant. 

“Your voice user interface needs to be the literal voice of your brand. It should speak with confidence and authority, keep responses brief, and provide the right amount of information.”

Elissa Daily
Senior Strategist
RAIN

Aside from the technical advancements, the voice user interface should also have a voice persona that is authentic, communicates properly, and maintains brand voice and tone. A strong voice persona can go a long way to forming a connection with users. In fact, according to Google, 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say it feels like talking to a friend or another person. The more of a connection and the more comfortable the user feels toward the voice assistant, the more they will use it. 

Market the product to increase visibility

While a great product can speak for itself, marketing is also a vital tool to increase awareness and visibility while communicating benefits to the user. Consumers simply won’t engage with or adopt a new product feature that they don’t know exists. Therefore, it’s essential that marketing drives prospects to your product in order to capitalize on your voice investment.

“Creating voice experiences is only half the battle, as the other half pertains to making one’s customers aware.”

Dave Kemp
Creator & Publisher
FuturEar

Having clear communication with the marketing team and getting them involved from the early stages in the voice AI development process will ensure they have the clearest picture and all the necessary information they need to market the voice assistant and contribute to brand awareness. 

While onboarding, user education, and having a great voice user interface are all vital pieces to increasing adoption, they only work if the user knows about the voice assistant in the first place. Marketing can get the word out about the launch of the voice assistant or even new features, hardware, or software that have been introduced. 

Improve, iterate, and test continuously

Voice AI strategy is not done once the product has been released but should be continuously tested and improved upon through future iterations. By continuing to develop the technology, companies will be able to increase their accuracy rate, include more relevant domains, and complete software updates that will further advance the voice AI.

“It’s important to continually update your voice experience based on how users are behaving with it. An informed feedback loop will increase the retention value of your experience.”

Hannah Paxton
Strategy Analyst
Rain
@RAINagency

Brands can also look at the data from usage, user testing, and feedback to reveal any areas of improvement, which will lead to better user experiences and increased adoption rates. When brands own their data through a custom voice assistant, they can use it to analyze how their consumers are using the voice assistant, which can also help with improving onboarding and user education processes. 

By having simple onboarding, providing user education, creating a conversational voice user interface, marketing the product, and continuously improving, companies can increase adoption of their voice assistant. Brands wishing to prove the ROI on their voice investments, create exceptional user experiences, and generate positive reviews should consider these strategies before their users turn to voice-enabled competitors. 

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.

Kristen is a content writer with a passion for storytelling and marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephew.

Interested in Learning More?

Subscribe today to stay informed and get regular updates from SoundHound Inc.