How Late Voice AI Adopters Can Bloom With Conversational Technology
Industries, such as hospitality, retail, and transportation, have a high standard for customer service but are also late arrivals into the voice-first era.
What is an exceptional user experience? The definition varies slightly depending on the industry. For automotive, drivers are looking for convenience, comfort, and entertainment. For restaurants, customers want speed, accuracy, hygiene, and superior service. At the end of the day, for any business, it’s about meeting users’ needs and surpassing their expectations. Industries across the board, from media to financial services, are realizing the benefits of conversational AI technology to deliver exceptional user experiences.
Conversational AI usage is expanding at a rapid rate as adoption increases across industries. Insider Intelligence reports that 123.5 million U.S. adults use a voice assistant once a month, with 48% of U.S. adults predicted to be monthly users by 2025. With this expansion comes new expectations on the functionality and capabilities of voice assistants. Long gone are the days of having to memorize phrases and endure high levels of inaccuracy. Voice assistants can now understand multiple languages and accents, generate greater comprehension through awareness of the context of a conversation, and have the ability to process compound and complex queries.
123.5 million U.S. adults use a voice assistant once a month, with 48% of U.S. adults predicted to be monthly users by 2025.Insider Intelligence
With the expanded capabilities of voice AI comes more opportunities for brands across industries to deliver on the promise of experiences that surprise and delight their users. Some industries, such as automotive—the earliest adopters of voice assistants—now view conversational experiences as a key competitive advantage. Other industries, such as media and restaurants, are in the early majority and are still discovering what type of solution will best fit their needs.
We’ve taken a deep dive into the 5 key industries that are early adopters of conversational AI and explored the how, the why, the where, and the trends. Read up on each industry or jump to the section that is most relevant to your interests.
We’ll explore the late majority of conversational AI adopters in the next blog, so keep an eye out for part 2!
As the earliest adopters of voice assistants, the automotive industry is uniquely poised to implement the most cutting-edge conversational AI technology and benefit from monetization opportunities that arise from exceptional user experiences. According to Statista, 70% of vehicles will be connected to the internet by 2023, and according to Voicebot.ai, 51.8% of U.S. adults already use in-car voice assistants. Having such an established user base opens the door for OEMs to surprise and delight drivers and passengers with new features that further their in-car experience.
70% of vehicles will be connected to the internet by 2023.Statista
When conversational AI is built on an independent platform with the ability to access data from the cloud and from the embedded device simultaneously, opportunities to both improve the user experience and add real business value are endless. Features that impact driver satisfaction and the bottom line, include:
51.8% of U.S. adults use in-car voice assistants.Voicebot.ai
Auto manufacturers looking to surpass user needs can offer drivers and passengers conversational AI capabilities beyond commonly asked queries. When drivers opt-in to personalization features, greater convenience is achieved when a variety of proactive suggestions are delivered based on their search history and stated preferences. Monetizable moments, such as pre-paying for gas or ordering from a restaurant, deliver value to drivers by giving them options for activities that will occur along their journey.
Edge+Cloud connectivity ensures that the voice assistant is always on and ready to answer questions and provide functionality, regardless of internet availability. In addition, drivers and passengers can both control internal car functions and get information from the cloud from one, seamless conversational assistant. For instance, drivers can roll up and down the windows and turn on seat warmers, while also asking about the weather, to stream music, or when the next eclipse is. If they decide to take a scenic route and lose internet, they can still use the Edge capabilities of their voice assistant. The future of automotive is in conversational interactions that give drivers and passengers exceptional in-car experiences.
The media industry is uniquely poised to benefit from conversational AI by offering a solution that overcomes the limitations of a traditional TV and remote. Remotes have many useful capabilities, but the small buttons create many difficulties for users when trying to search for a specific show or movie, turn on subtitles, and other actions that take multiple tedious steps to achieve the goal. According to Statista, around 44% of U.S. households had a voice-enabled remote in 2021, up from 31% in 2019.
Around 44% of U.S. households had a voice-enabled remote in 2021, up from 31% in 2019.Statista
Conversational AI simplifies and streamlines the process for viewers by condensing these frustrating processes into a single, hands-free sentence. Instead of using small arrow keys to type in the name of a show or scroll through titles by genre, users can simply say, “Play Stranger Things Season 4” or a complex query, such as “Find action movies with four or more stars and that are rated PG-13.”
Other queries include:
Conversational AI is expanding the viewing experience by reducing the barriers between accessing the content and enjoying it. Users stay further immersed in the experience without being pulled out of it to navigate complicated menus.
Users are also increasingly interested in adding to their viewing experience with food ordering opportunities. The future of voice-enabled remotes and TVs will provide viewers with moments to order food for delivery while enjoying their favorite show or movie.
Restaurants are implementing conversational AI in their drive-thrus, drive-ins, kiosks, and phone ordering systems to elevate the speed, accuracy, and convenience of the customer experience. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the restaurant industry has experienced labor shortages which have impacted their customer service. According to the 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, 7 out of 10 restaurant operators report still not having enough employees to support customer demand.
7 out of 10 restaurant operators report still not having enough employees to support customer demand.2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report
Conversational AI phone ordering, drive-thrus, and kiosks act as another employee, one that operates 24/7, never misses a shift, and can take multiple orders at once, which relieves the pressure restaurateurs are facing and allows existing staff to focus on other customer service needs. With conversational AI’s capabilities of being context-aware and able to understand compound and complex queries, customers will feel as if they are talking to another employee.
Mobile apps can elevate a brand in any industry, whether that’s a music streaming service, travel booking, banking, automotive, shopping, or more. However, the interface of navigating types and swipes, especially when large catalogs of content are involved, can sometimes lead to a poor experience.
According to Voicebot.ai, in 2021, 140.1 million smartphone users used a voice assistant, with 78.4 million using it monthly and 37.6 million using it daily. Users are finding value in the simplicity and accessibility of using apps hands-free with conversational interfaces that allow them to speak naturally.
In 2021, 140.1 million smartphone users used a voice assistant, with 78.4 million using it monthly and 37.6 million using it daily.Voicebot.ai
Mobile apps with conversational AI technology can boost brand engagement, reduce navigational complexities, and act as a launching point for omnichannel experiences. Users will directly correlate their feelings about the mobile app to your brand, and an exceptional mobile app experience will see an increase in brand loyalty, while a poor user experience could result in users switching to a competitor.
Banking and financial services are widely adopting conversational AI for their call centers, where voice assistants help customers with routine tasks, such as paying a bill, checking a balance, transferring money, looking up a checking account number, and more. According to PYMNTS.com, 88% of customers engage with their bank through digital means, showing that more and more customers are turning away from in-person exchanges in favor of the convenience of telebanking, mobile banking apps, and websites.
88% of customers engage with their bank through digital means.PYMNTS.com
Conversational capabilities remove the frustration of legacy IVR systems and present opportunities for natural interactions, personalization, and simplified processes. Instead of hearing a long, complex menu, a voice assistant can simply ask, “What can I help you with today?” Instead of customers growing irritated with the long list and immediately asking to speak to a representative, conversational AI can provide a more human touch that puts customers at ease. If the phone number is attached to an account or if they have already logged in from that device, it can even greet customers by their name or pull up their account information without having to repeat information.
Conversational AI can also help agents with their customer interactions by staying on the line after they’ve transferred the call to a representative and providing notes on what the voice assistant has already discussed with the customer. With this assistance, customers won’t have to reiterate everything they had already said to the voice assistant, and agents will be up to date on the customer’s situation and needs.
The 5 industries that we just covered are either early adopters of conversational AI technology or are in the early majority, actively discovering and learning about the benefits. We continue our deep dive into how industries are using conversational AI in our next blog, where we will tackle industries in the late majority of adoption, including hospitality, retail, and transportation. Read, How Late Voice AI Adopters Can Bloom With Conversational Technology, here.
At SoundHound, we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. 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.
LG Electronics (LG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with SoundHound AI, Inc. (SoundHound), a global player in voice artificial intelligence (AI), to jointly develop advanced voice AI technology for the next generation of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems.
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