How Voice Assistants Can Deliver Value and Generate Revenue
Once, voice assistants were only capable of the most basic, scripted commands. Then, they were able to understand questions that were more conversational, even complex. Soon, voice assistants became capable of incredible tasks that exceeded human capabilities, such as analyzing vast amounts of information, advanced filtering capabilities, and integrating with smart home technology.
In the past, companies focused on these technological advancements to help them overcome business challenges. Now that the technology is reaching greater maturity, companies are shifting their focus to the customer experience while also seeking to prove greater ROI on their voice AI investments.
Voice ads and other monetization opportunities haven’t become mainstream yet due to the fear that introducing advertising will negatively affect the customer experience. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Recently, SoundHound’s COO, Michael Zagorsek, spoke at Voice Summit 2021 about how proactive voice experiences can add value to the customer experience while generating revenue for brands.
The world is evolving into a voice-enabled reality, and voice AI is creating the next disruption. In the 80s, keyboards, mice, and screens became ubiquitous. Suddenly, every company needed a website. With mobile phones growing in popularity in the 2000s, companies then needed a mobile presence, whether it was an app or a website.
Now, we’re in a world where voice AI is coming to fruition, and companies need to be considering their voice strategy. When do they want a voice-first experience? What do they want in a voice-enabled experience? What’s better on mobile versus a computer?
Many companies have already taken part in this innovation. According to Opus Research, 84% of companies have a voice assistant on their mobile app, showing how the evolution of voice AI is already progressing and making its mark on the world.
84% of companies have a voice assistant on their mobile app.
And enables innovation and monetization opportunities for product creators.
We’re on a path to delivering that so people can have a conversation with their voice assistants as they would another person. The key is that it has to deliver value and delight the users with an experience that feels natural and seamless.
Voice AI can become an ecosystem with billions of products that users can talk to, each with their own personalities, experiences, and brand. Innovation and monetization are essential, allowing companies to use voice to innovate what they offer and provide new services they couldn’t before, but also reap the benefits for their business as well.
Delivering value through voice AI
For consumers, they get the safety of hands-free control and instant access to information without having to pick up a mobile phone or reach across the room for a physical interface. For businesses, they’re extending their product capability. With voice, brands become more competitive because they’re innovating in a new sphere with better customer retention and relationships.
When we think of how we create value and what that path towards true business success is, we look at 3 specific layers. For example, for a voice-enabled TV, users can say queries like, “Go back 30 seconds” or “Add this show to my favorites.” These are interface points that are seamless and add value.
The next layer is connecting with the world. When people think of smart assistants or IoT, we’re really talking about this expanded sphere. Users can then ask the voice-enabled TV, “What will the temperature be at noon, and who won the basketball game last night?” This may not have been the product’s purpose, but it has access to information with significant user interest.
Then, when you move to the third layer, brands can start creating powerful monetization moments and experiences. With this, users can order pizza for delivery or say that they need a soundbar for their bedroom. These are now transactional moments. In order to get to this third layer, though, brands need to deliver that first experience well to go onto the second then allow them to get to the third. Essentially, voice assistants go from commands to queries to transactions. It’s this roadmap that will help voice assistants reach their full potential.
Delivering value is a question of how much customer demand there is, and interest is definitely growing. According to a report by Navar, up to 43% of voice-enabled device owners use their devices to shop, so the trend is there.
43% of voice-enabled device owners use their devices to shop.
However, when we think about how to achieve it, there’s this idea of, do we have to inject transactions and advertising opportunities into the experience? The answer is, you don’t have to be disruptive. To quote our good friend Kane Simms, he says, “Whether you’re in the process of implementing your strategy or just getting started, to define the business case, if you think about the pain points customers have throughout the customer journey, the kind of conversations you can have, that’ll help. The number of touchpoints that could be voice-enabled for many brands, even a minor percentage increase in sales, would be more than enough to justify the investment. The business case will write itself.”
So, first, think about customer pain points, and second, how are you adding value to customers? If you’re adding value to customers and introducing the right transactional opportunities as a way to solve customer pain points, then that provides benefits to the customer and the business. How do we create that relationship between the customer and the business to offer that value?
“Whether you’re in the process of implementing your strategy or just getting started, to define the business case, if you think about the pain points customers have throughout the customer journey, the kind of conversations you can have, that’ll help. The number of touchpoints that could be voice-enabled for many brands, even a minor percentage increase in sales, would be more than enough to justify the investment. The business case will write itself.”
To take a page out of a marketing handbook, what are businesses trying to do? How are they trying to connect with customers? The goal is to deliver the right message to the right customers at the right time. If a company is giving customers the information they don’t want, it feels like an interruption. If instead, they are being helped along the way, then the message is welcomed.
It’s about being where your customers are and making sure they can find your content when they want it, however they prefer to consume it. Find those right monetizable moments because they add value to customers in a way that doesn’t feel transactional.
Voice AI monetization
Voice assistants are becoming ubiquitous. We’re living in a world surrounded by the power of voice, phones, smart speakers, and apps. Customers are seeking answers and asking questions about products and services to meet immediate needs. Unintrusive voice commerce is about helpful suggestions delivered at the right time and in the context of user queries—it’s about making lives easier and more convenient.
So, what are monetization opportunities? First, there is voice advertising, making suggestions in the right context. Then, there are voice transactions—to make purchases. If we look at the process, the more users make inquiries and transact, brands get more services, and domains get revenue from it. In the end, it’s about making a seamless experience for customers that provides value.
Check out the following video to see examples of monetization in automotive, food ordering, groceries, and travel deals.
The demand is there for these industries to have monetization moments too. According to Voicebot.ai, twice as many U.S. adults have used voice assistants in their cars than through a smart speaker. In addition, according to Hotel Technology News, 49% of travelers say their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the hotel room.
49% of travelers say their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the hotel room.
Hotel Technology News
Monetization is about experiences that deliver real value to customers and the business. More of our good friends, Bradley Metrock and Dr. Joan Palmiter Bajorek, talk about voice AI monetization and proving ROI. The key is to meet users where they’re at. It’s really about tying ROI to the value being provided to users and meeting them in a way that’s going to deliver the value that ultimately can be monetized.
Recently, we partnered with Opus Research and asked business leaders across industries a very specific question around monetization. We asked, “What’s the importance of monetization compared to other goals?” 64% of executives said they’re prioritizing monetization over other goals. Monetization is truly creating a path towards adding value and revenue across industries.
64% of executives said they’re prioritizing monetization over other goals.
Not only is the voice AI industry growing, but more and more people are spending money via voice online. So, we know that monetization is the future of voice AI to deliver better customer experiences and create new revenue streams of intuitive voice commerce.
In order to achieve these goals of delivering value and generating revenue, SoundHound has been focusing on 3 core technologies—Speech-to-Meaning®, Deep Meaning Understanding®, and Collective AI®.
With Speech-to-Meaning®, we’re talking about going from speech directly to meaning. Most platforms do speech to text and then text to meaning. Understanding what the user is saying even before they finish speaking allows for accuracy and speed and creates a much more conversational dialogue.
For Deep Meaning Understanding®, it’s about parsing complex and compound statements. When people speak, sometimes they use negatives or double negatives. If a user is looking for a hotel and says, “Don’t show me anything that doesn’t have WIFI,” virtually every other voice assistant will struggle with that exclusion. But we really invested in this technology, and it makes interactions much more conversational and encourages people to explore.
Lastly, Collective A® is a vision that we have that starts pulling different domains together. Most people don’t talk about one subject matter over another. Collective AI pulls different sources of knowledge together, creating exponential learning and understanding.
When looking to create a voice assistant, organizations need to invest in it and partner with the right platform because it allows for a branded voice experience, strengthens customer loyalty, and gives the company access to data. Insights are something that we’re really passionate about, and data enables customizable solutions, things that are unique to you, and innovation.
Want to learn more? Watch the presentation below.
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.