How Voice AI Can Make Memorable Connections with Your Customers
This year, Project Voice X and Project Voice X Worldwide combined the intimacy of in-person events with the inclusiveness of virtual conferences. During the event in Florida at the end of October, speakers addressed a variety of topics, trends, and developments in voice AI technology and voice assistant implementation.
During the virtual event, presenters were asked to sum up their company’s perspective on the most important aspects of voice AI or the most pressing top-of-mind issues, concerns, features, or developments in three slides. While this seems a daunting task, our Director of BD, Darin Clark, summed up our perspective on the voice AI industry by highlighting three things:
The importance of independent voice AI for branded voice experiences and competitive advantage
The advances in voice AI that are opening up possibilities for more brands in more industries—making voice assistants truly ubiquitous
The future of voice assistant as revenue generators
Below is a summary of Darin’s comments and his explanation of why these three topics are top of mind for SoundHound Inc. and our partners. You can see the video in its entirety here.
How independent voice AI platforms deliver a competitive advantage
In the early days of the app store, a good experience would bring customers back to your brand. However, a poor experience wouldn’t be used again. Building a voice experience can be similar. If brands build a good voice experience that enables their customers to do something they want to do, then brands can easily create something powerful for their customers. The critical factor is getting visibility into customer actions.
When companies had all of the data on what their customers were actually doing, what they were trying to do, maybe where they got stuck, and any of the problems they were having in that process, that critical information and data would allow them to develop further and continue making improvements. If a company didn’t know what their customers were doing, then they were going to be stuck and unable to build something more useful in the future.
Building a voice assistant that’s customizable is critical. Similar to mobile app development, an arms race is happening with voice AI technology. Companies that build a good voice experience that consumers like to use are going to win market share. They’re going to be able to create brand loyalty and attract new customers to their devices.
Companies that build a good voice experience that consumers like to use are going to win market share.
Key industries using voice AI for customer service
Voice assistants are becoming ubiquitous and are used across any number of different industries, including:
However, that wasn’t always the case. Call centers have been around for a long time, but it was very IVR-based historically. Now, it’s being used in ways that actually enhance the customer experience. Many IVR experiences didn’t go well at first. Many users probably remember their first experiences with voice, maybe from an in-car voice assistant that mistakes “Call home” for “Call mom.” Such low accuracy creates a poor customer experience to the point that the user abandons the device in frustration and uses their phone instead.
Low accuracy in voice assistants creates a poor customer experience to the point that the user abandons the device in frustration and uses their phone instead.
Now, as we’ve continued to evolve the voice experience, voice assistants help users quickly and efficiently to the point where they prefer the ease of use of voice AI in call centers over the long wait for a human representative.
Similarly, there have been many entries into voice AI for QSRs, from voice-enabled kiosks to drive-thrus. This benefits the customers through convenient, fast, hands-free interactions. It also benefits the company as it helps with labor shortages, which have also been happening in retail and call centers. Enabling a voice experience to take care of tasks that previously had to be done by a person is critical for these industries as they move forward.
Advances in voice AI technology are opening up possibilities across industries
Having a fast, accurate, and efficient voice assistant is essential for a superior user experience. Voice AI technology has improved immensely over the past decade in speed and accuracy, thanks largely to Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). These technologies enable the user to have a more conversational experience with multiple queries, more domain capabilities, and without having to repeat information.
Another voice AI feature that improves customer experiences is connectivity—whether it’s an embedded solution without access to the cloud, a cloud-only solution, or hybrid functionality that has the ability to access the cloud and embedded features. Choosing the connectivity option that best meets users’ needs and expectations is vital for a good user experience.
Choosing the connectivity option that best meets users’ needs and expectations is vital for a good user experience.
Brands should consider the location of their voice assistant, if it’s in-car, mobile, or smart home technology, to determine whether embedded, cloud, or hybrid functionality will suit it the most. Customers using an in-car voice assistant may want to be able to play music or access navigation while also rolling up and down the windows. Whereas users of a voice-enabled mobile app may not have any need for embedded features. User testing can help brands and developers make informed decisions about the type of connectivity and the availability of multiple domains.
Voice assistants transform to become revenue generators
When voice assistants began to increase in popularity, many companies saw voice assistants as a requirement or checkbox they needed to fulfill for users, even if the voice assistant didn’t perform well. However, in recent years brands looking to truly differentiate themselves in the market are realizing the importance of not only essentials, such as accuracy and speed, but also future developments like monetization.
Brands are realizing the value of investing in voice and are finding ways to prove ROI while also providing value to users. Monetization is shaking up voice AI across many industries, including automotive, IoT, and retail. The most critical aspect for brands to remember when looking to monetize their voice assistant is to do it in a way that is not intrusive to the user.
Brands are realizing the value of investing in voice and are finding ways to prove ROI while also providing value to users.
Voice ads have the potential to create positive user experiences instead of negative ones. Creating voice ads on the same level as pop-up ads will only frustrate the user. For websites, users have reached the point where browsers actually block pop-up ads for them automatically. That’s not a point that brands should ever reach with monetizing their voice assistant.
What brands should strive for is to craft monetizable moments that enable an extension of what the customer is saying. For example, if they’re driving to a location, the voice assistant can ask if they would like to reserve a space at a parking garage at their destination. Or, a voice-enabled TV could ask if the user would like to order dinner to go with the movie they’re playing.
This creates an experience that enhances the user’s experience. It provides a service that shows value to the user and gives them the ability to see something different than what they would have expected. It also creates an exciting opportunity for brands to increase revenue from the voice assistant in a way that the customer appreciates.
The ubiquity of voice assistants is driving brands to use custom voice experiences as brand differentiators and a way to improve the customer experience while positively impacting the bottom line. To learn more about these three pillars of the future of voice AI, check out these relevant resources:
At SoundHound Inc., we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore our 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.