Monetization of voice AI
Jul 01, 2021
7 MIN READ

The 5 Key Considerations for Turning Your Voice Assistant Into a Revenue Generator

The voice AI era, now in its adolescence, is quickly ascending to a phase of early maturity. During the last 5 years, improvements in technology, greater education, and wider availability of voice AI technology has led to a rapid adoption rate across industries and around the globe. For those companies that have already implemented a voice assistant in at least one channel, omnichannel voice experiences with multimodal access are among the next steps on their voice AI journeys. High on everyone’s priority list is the topic of monetization. How do I show ROI from my voice assistant in the form of revenue generation?

From its inception, the goal of voice AI has been to make the customer journey easier by allowing people to interact with technology the way they do each other—by simply talking. That concept has led companies across industries to reduce the friction for their customers and prospects by voice-enabling their mobile apps, hardware devices, contact centers, in-store kiosks, and more. To date, the greatest indicator of the success of these voice user interfaces has been their ability to improve customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores, according to a report by Opus Research.

But now, the conversation is changing. Voice commerce, voice ads, and monetization opportunities that don’t disrupt the user experience are appearing on lists of goals for the future of voice assistants. Given how rapidly the voice AI industry is evolving, that future is already here. To address the “New Age of Voice Commerce”, we’ve put together a panel of industry experts from RAIN Agency, Parkopedia, ReadSpeaker.ai, and SoundHound Inc. to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and future of voice assistants as revenue generators. Register here to join us on July 27, 2021 or watch the webinar on demand after. 

During the webinar, our panel of voice AI experts will discuss a range of topics around the issue of monetization and provide actionable insights for companies, regardless of their progress toward a voice assistant strategy. Some topic will include:

  • The current state of the voice assistant market in terms of readiness for monetization
  • The greatest barriers to monetization
  • Privacy and personalization as precursors to monetization
  • The technology trends and the shift to branded, custom voice assistants
  • The industries most ready to capitalize on evolving monetization opportunities

To prepare you for the talk, here are five critical considerations for companies contemplating the next step in their voice AI journeys:

  1. Implementing a conversational interface
  2. Understanding context and intent
  3. Personalization and data privacy
  4. Putting a global perspective on your voice assistant strategy
  5. Multimodal interfaces to enhance the voice experience

Making sure your voice assistant can handle the conversation

Before you can ask your voice assistant to create a journey for your users that includes purchasing suggestions, you’ll need voice AI technology that can understand the lexicon of your users and respond in a natural, conversational manner. 

Participating in a conversation is possible for voice assistants who are built using technology advanced enough to integrate the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and the Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) into one cohesive function that eliminates the lag time most voice assistants experience as they process the conversation in two steps. 

The other essential element of a conversational voice assistant is its ability to derive meaning and respond accurately. For voice assistants, meaning is derived from the content domains they access for answers. Content domains are like skills or abilities for Alexa and Google with one major difference: content domains are areas of knowledge developed by subject matter experts and made available on voice AI platforms. 

Content domains are like skills or abilities for Alexa and Google with one major difference: content domains are areas of knowledge developed by subject matter experts and made available on voice AI platforms.

Additionally, if your voice user interface is helping your customers interact with a device or product designed for a specific purpose—driving, refrigerating food, washing clothes, or providing TV content—they’re likely to expect the voice assistant to have specialized knowledge. If their queries are met with inaccuracies, they’ll quickly default to other means of interaction and abandon your voice assistant, maybe forever. 

Understanding context and intent a challenge for some voice assistants

As humans, we understand each other through words combined with the context of the situation to derive meaning. If someone asked you for a screwdriver at a bar, you wouldn’t hand them a tool, for instance. One of the reasons people use their smart speakers to simply set timers, get entertainment, such as music, or set reminders is the lack of context those voice assistants have to changing circumstances.

On the other hand, the success some brands have experienced with their voice user interfaces is likely due to the specialized knowledge and ability to understand the context and intent of the user. This level of accurate responsiveness is the result of custom voice assistant solutions built based on extensive user data and an understanding of customer needs and wants. 

Other technology, such as Deep Meaning Understanding™ allows users to continue the conversation without repeating information they already provided to the voice assistant. This type of technology allows the voice assistant to address multiple questions or those that contain a variety of modifications or negations. Since adults naturally speak in complex sentences that extend beyond simple command statements, a voice assistant that promises conversational intelligence must be at least as smart as the person they are talking to—if not smarter, if they expert the person to continue to engage.

A voice assistant that promises conversational intelligence must be at least as smart as the person they are talking to—if not smarter, if they expert the person to continue to engage.

In the near future, subject matter knowledge and the ability to understand context and intent will be supplemented by a voice assistant’s ability to understand the emotion of the user as well—creating truly personalized, conversational voice experiences.

Personalization and data privacy

Personalized voice experiences are among voice AI goals for many brands, despite the challenges of keeping data private for users. Brands hoping to bridge the gap between fears over security and the demand for better user experiences will need to make sure they communicate their privacy policies clearly to their users. 

In addition, there’s no substitute for asking permission to use data in order to improve user experiences. Those who are seeking more personalization and the convenience of a voice assistant that can anticipate needs and wants, will be happy to share their information with a company they have grown to trust. Other users may be content with a less personal experience and a little less convenience. Whichever a user chooses, the point is, it’s their choice, not the company that owns the voice assistant.

Companies hoping to build customer trust and loyalty won’t rush the journey to providing personalized voice experiences by skipping the opportunity to get permission and understand individual customer wants and needs. Truly personalized voice experiences will be a partnership between brands and users with an understanding that the company is providing the voice assistant as a service, not an intrusion.

Truly personalized voice experiences will be a partnership between brands and users with an understanding that the company is providing the voice assistant as a service, not an intrusion.

Multilingual voice assistants serve a global market

If your voice assistant doesn’t speak the language of your users, you will never have an opportunity to create monetization opportunities, or even customer connections. Even if your customers can speak the language of your voice assistant, understanding accented language is an issue for many voice user interfaces and people tend to want to speak their native languages.

If you’re a global company and you’re thinking of launching a single language voice assistant to start, don’t make the mistake of making it available in all your markets. Target only those markets where your voice assistant speaks the primary language of your users. Then, as your voice experience improves and you add more languages, you can launch in the countries and regions where your users can be heard and understood.

Target only those markets where your voice assistant speaks the primary language of your users.

Asking users to adapt to your voice assistant is a sure way to turn them off from your voice-enabled service or hardware product. Even if you did offer an iteration of the voice assistant in their native language later, the task of onboarding a disgruntled user is double the lift of getting someone to engage with a conversational assistant that understands them from the start.

Voice-first isn’t voice-only

In addition to voice, visual screens, the option to type or swipe, gesture and gaze recognition, thumbprint and facial recognition are all part of the new age of AI-enabled interfaces for a variety of purposes across industries. The voice-first era was never meant to supplant other forms of interaction, instead it is a way to offer more ways to access your hardware and services.

In a world of growing voice commerce opportunities, the more choices people have for how and when they will interact with your products and services, the more likely they’ll be to find proactive or responsive buying suggestions helpful.

The more choices people have for how and when they will interact with your products and services, the more likely they’ll be to find proactive or responsive buying suggestions helpful.

In some cases having a TV screen or other visual interface may be the only way consumers can really make a buying decision, especially if the appearance of the item is important. In other cases, having a list to refer to our seeing results on a screen as they are read by the voice assistant can help with remembering choices. Of course, there are always circumstances, such as in-car, where it would be counter to the experience to offer a visual representation—particularly when driver safety is involved.

Instead of talking about the benefits of voice alone, brands should be talking about how voice can be a component to extend their product functionality and enhance customer experiences when used in combination with other modes of interaction as part of a multimodal user experience.

The future of voice AI is monetization

Conversational voice experiences that understand context, intent, and deliver personalized experiences that don’t compromise customer privacy are the pillars upon which monetization opportunities for voice assistants are built.

If you’re ready to get the whole story, read our newest guide, “Voice Assistants Evolve to Become Revenue Generators” or visit our website.

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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