So you’ve established a social strategy, developed an amazing app and may have even designed a bubbly, charismatic chatbot that customers can’t resist. But don’t rest on your laurels just yet; technology moves fast, and there’s a new interface that’s about to take over: voice interface technology.
Think about it. What’s the best, most direct way to get something done? By picking up the phone or talking face-to-face. When it comes to computing, voice is intuitive because it reflects the way humans speak to each other. Unlike chatbots, voice as an interface is hands-free. So it is ideal for multitasking or times when your hands are full including the car or kitchen.
So how exactly with the future of voice assistants play out? Let’s take a look at some prevailing voice technology trends to examine how the tech is primed and ready to win the future—and how your business can take advantage of those rewards.
Voice Assistant Technology is an Ecosystem
One reason the future of voice assistants looks bright is because it’s a single interface for several devices. Smart speakers essentially function as a central interface hub for Internet of Things devices like wifi-connected lightbulbs, smart thermostats, TVs and more. Users can interact with all of these devices in their home via voice assistant technology. With accessories like AirPods and Pixel Buds, they can accomplish several tasks across different apps via speech as well.
Voice interface technology therefore provides a more integrated experience to customers. The future of voice assistants will gobble up every facet of our digital lives as users spend more of their leisure time chatting to assistants away from screens.
The writing’s on the wall: in the first quarter of 2018 alone, Google Home and Amazon Echo together shipped over 5.6 million devices. Amazon’s budget Echo device, the Echo Dot, was even the star of last holiday season. With voice becoming the new ecosystem, businesses will have to keep up with voice technology trends to remain competitive.
The Future of Voice Assistants will Allow for Deeper Connections
While digital connection is certainly a valid way to make friends, there’s nothing like talking face-to-face with a friend. Voice technology trends allow brands to connect with their fans in a more intimate way that hasn’t been seen before. This is especially true because voice interface technology gives brands a constant presence in the home.
Consider Mickey Mouse Adventure. This Google Home action allows users to go on an adventure with one of the biggest mascots in the entertainment industry. Played out via speech, the entire experience is a lot like talking to Mickey over the phone, blurring the line between fiction and reality in a compelling way. This makes it feel as though children are really talking to the character, forming a deeper bond with the mascot (and the Disney brand). Because voice interface technology allows for instantaneous two-way conversation, users truly feel they’re being heard, which gives your brand a competitive edge.
Voice interface technology also simplifies the experience of accomplishing tasks online thanks to personalization. Imagine the last time you browsed for a gift online. This can be an exhausting experience: the sheer abundance of items available gives way to decision fatigue. Voice assistant technology takes away all the guesswork when browsing or selecting options by instead surfacing up limited options.
On paper, this might seem unnecessarily limiting. But it works because this technology works with personalization, providing the most relevant results and cutting out the noise. Assistants can also exert their authority by making a couple key suggestions on what a user should order rather than provide the dozens of options available that they would see on a screen. What does this mean for brands? Voice technology trends will give way to better targeting customers through their purchase and browsing data. This makes it easier to direct or upsell purchases that you know they’ll like, boosting sales and satisfaction alike.
Voice Interface Technology Will Become Routine
And when we say “will become routine,” we mean users will literally be building voice apps into their daily routines. Google Assistant’s routine feature allows users to stack up commands and tasks, kind of like playing The Sims. For example, the “Good morning” routine gives a weather report, calendar events for the day, reminders, then provides the morning news. Users can add even more functionality to the routine or design their own.
Wondering what this means for you? The future of voice assistants will prompt businesses to really think about how their brand fits within the wider context of users’ everyday lives. They will then deliver upon it for better customer loyalty. When, where and why are users engaging with you?
One example of a brand using voice interface technology cleverly is Jameson, the popular whiskey brand. They considered the context customers use their products by building a voice app that emulates a bartender, providing simple drink recipes. Highly engaged users might integrate this app into their Friday night routine. That leads to higher retention, a deeper business-customer relationship and a constant in-home reminder of the Jameson brand.
Voice Interface Technology Will Result in Lots of Customer Data
It’ll take some time for brands and consumers to really get used to the platform and designing natural and intuitive conversation requires regular iteration. Users are bound to run into errors and dead-ends starting out. So voice app makers will need to remain vigilant to their usage with analytics for voice bots.
Voice analytics are useful for more than just error reporting, though. This is where businesses have the most to gain from voice assistant technology. The platform allows for immediate feedback in the conversation because users and the bots communicating to one another back-and-forth in real time. Analytics provide live, searchable and scannable conversation transcripts to better understand the consumer journey or what topics and phrases concern users the most at any given time. With intent analytics, businesses can even understand the tone and emotion behind what consumers are saying.
Together, these features makes it easier than ever for businesses to understand their customers. Voice assistants then allow businesses to leverage that data into irresistible, hyper-personalized experiences built to drive engagement and sales.