Voice-enabled mobile apps
Apr 07, 2022
5 MIN READ

Why Your Mobile App Needs a Branded Conversational AI Interface

If you aren’t yet extending the voice experience from the resident voice assistant on your user’s mobile device to your own app, you are missing out on an opportunity to boost engagement, continue the hands-free experience, and add greater functionality to your app without increasing navigational difficulty.

Voice assistants with their machine learning capabilities add value and efficiency when there are large catalogs of information to sort through, when getting the desired result would otherwise require multiple types or swipes, and when a hands-free interface is the best way to interact with the device. Voice-enabling a mobile app is a natural extension of the experience people are already having with hand-held and wearable devices and where conversational AI elevates the user experience to a new level of speed, ease, and convenience. 

According to Voicebot.ai’s annual Smartphone Voice Assistant report, in 2021, there were 140.4 million smartphone voice assistant users, with 44% of users expressing interest in having their favorite mobile apps add voice assistant functionality. Consumers are increasingly demanding the benefits of voice-enabled apps, and brands are beginning to realize the power of conversational AI to increase engagement, brand loyalty, and even deliver new revenue streams. 

44% of users expressed interest in having their favorite mobile apps add voice assistant functionality.

Voicebot.ai

Mobile apps are an easy entry point into the voice-enabled world since they are built with the necessary hardware—microphone and speaker—already in place. For brands looking to begin their voice journey or even those that have already voice-enabled products or other channels, mobile apps are an excellent opportunity to move toward the omnichannel voice experiences brands and customers are seeking. 

Here are 3 reasons why conversational AI should be an essential piece of your mobile app strategy: 

  1. Boosted brand engagement
  2. Reduced navigational complexities
  3. Omnichannel voice experiences

1. Conversational AI boosts brand engagement

Mobile apps are a great way for users to engage with your brand, whether it’s an app for banking, retail, QSRs, automotive, IoT, or the many other industries joining the voice-first era. Through the app, users gather impressions and feelings toward your brand based on how accurate and responsive the app is, how intuitive the interface is, and how easy and convenient it is to navigate. With a voice AI platform leading the way, users will have positive associations with your brand, fostering brand engagement, loyalty, and evangelism. 

Here are 5 ways voice-enabled apps boost brand engagement:

  • Hands-free convenience
  • Personal connections
  • Reduced friction
  • More choices
  • Responsiveness

“I always liken it to trying to get somewhere. You always want to take the shortcut and get there faster. With voice, you can get there faster. Now that people are aware of the shortcut and comfortable using it, more people are wanting to use voice as their primary interface.”

Peachy-Jean Retizos
Sr. Manager, Innovation
Meredith Corporation

Mobile apps have a steep learning curve for users, requiring them to find out how to maneuver through the intricacies of the menu and navigation, often going through several types and swipes before figuring out how to reach their desired goal. Conversational AI removes that onboarding time, allowing users to immediately begin using the app and simply asking for what they want.

By implementing conversational intelligence, brands can create a multimodal environment where users have the option of touching the screen or using their voice while seeing results displayed. The combination of voice and screen interfaces opens up possibilities and choices for the user on their preferred method of interaction. It also increases accessibility by giving your users the option to not have to use their eyes or hands if they have vision or mobility difficulties.

2. Voice-enabled apps reduce navigational complexities

A successful mobile app experience allows users to seamlessly navigate large catalogs of content and find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. If too many types, taps, or swipes are involved, users may get frustrated and abandon the task. If they are repeatedly unable to find the exact result they’re looking for, they may stop using the app altogether. 

Voice-enabled mobile apps reduce navigational complexities by offering users a fast, convenient, and hands-free way to find the results they are looking for. Queries that would otherwise involve multiple steps can be completed with a single voice command. Advanced filtering capabilities also allow users to easily refine their search without having to select several buttons.

“Voice allows us to add more functionality and gives our users the ability to get more granular in what they’re asking for and then return more accurate results.”

Jordan Koojiman
Director of Marketing
Aisle Ahead and BigOven

Here are some examples of voice queries for mobile apps across industries: 

  • “Transfer $100 from my checking to my savings account and tell me the routing number for my checking account.”
  • “Find a recipe for a dessert that is gluten-free, nut-free, and uses strawberries.” 
  • “Skip this song and remove it from my playlist.” 
  • “Make my hair pink.”

Voice interfaces for mobile apps decrease friction and create a laid-back experience for people seeking entertainment, such as music. For example, Pandora’s voice-enabled app allows users to skip songs, turn up the volume, ask what song is playing, and search for playlists without having to navigate a screen. When listening to music, users often are multitasking on other projects, working out, or dancing—making transitioning from the activity to the phone screen difficult or inconvenient.

“With voice, you can skip a series of taps in the mobile app and get the results you want just by saying exactly what you want and get an immediate, accurate response. In many scenarios, like sitting in a car or while cooking, being able to get something done hands-free adds a layer of convenience and ease for consumers.”

Simon Sidhom
Sr. Manager of Software Engineering
Voice, SiriusXM, and Pandora

With conversational AI on mobile apps, users don’t have to navigate complex series of types and swipes or complicated interfaces. Instead, they can talk to the app casually and naturally and find what they are looking for quickly and easily. 

Want to learn more about voice-enabling mobile apps? Check out our webinar and guide, Custom Voice Assistants for Mobile Apps.”

3. Mobile apps are a launching point for omnichannel voice experiences

Mobile apps are an excellent starting point for entering into the voice-first era since the hardware already exists on the device itself. Once you’ve voice-enabled your app, you’ll have a customized voice assistant ready to deploy on other channels and products to begin creating your omnichannel voice experience. 

Voice-enabled mobile apps are great companions to other devices, such as smart home technology and in-car voice assistants. The app allows users to interact with the voice assistants even if they are not near the device. With a voice-enabled app, users can potentially preheat their oven when leaving the store, adjust the thermostat when they’re at work, or turn on their car as they are walking to the parking garage. 

“Integrating voice and visual elements really increases the number of things our users can do and extends the existing in-app experience that seamlessly integrates voice—rather than delivering side-by-side experiences.” 

Simon Sidhom
Sr. Manager of Software Engineering
Voice, SiriusXM, and Pandora

With voice assistants across channels, customers will have further opportunities to engage with the brand and experience superior customer service. Mobile apps that have conversational AI capabilities offer boosted brand engagement, reduced navigational complexities, and omnichannel voice experiences. Mobile apps that do not offer a voice AI platform will soon find themselves with outdated technology and lacking in providing users a superior experience. 

At SoundHound Inc., 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.

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