Written by Karla Vornholt, former Marketing Communications Manager at VUI.agency
As people become more and more comfortable using voice user interfaces (VUI), expectations grow towards what customers expect from the products and services they purchase.
To stay competitive, companies need to start thinking about a voice strategy in order not to risk staying behind their competitors. In the same way, that it is not to doubt that a website is needed, it is not to doubt that a voice-first presence needs to be adopted.
Voice strategy as a business strategy
As most companies are still struggling with the idea of implementing voice technology as part of their business strategy, some have already crossed the race line and are taking advantage by offering skills (the equivalent of smartphone applications) to help consumers in ways other than just purchasing.
Recipes, news, shopping, nutrition and weather are some among many other categories being offered. But there is a downside to all this. They have a limited purpose functionality, and according to Statista, the current number of Amazon Alexa skills in the United States is about 70,000, followed by the United Kingdom with 36,000 and Germany with 10,000 skills as of January 2020.
Here it’s critical that companies understand the importance of marketing and a release strategy when launching a skill, and not just put it out there and risk getting lost.
There are organizations taking a bigger advantage of this already and are interacting with their customers using Voice AI in a more holistic way. Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, BBC, Spotify, Nike, Mayo Clinic, and Mercedes are just some examples of how to expand the product experience and deepen emotional engagement towards the product or service.
How are they doing this? Either partnering with white-label conversational AI platforms or developing their own voice assistant.
The white-label solution
The white-label solution, through platforms like Amazon, Google, or Apple, allows any business to add smart, voice-enabled, conversational interfaces to any product. But it also means a lack of control over users’ data, having an embedded brand personality, and losing the opportunity of creating a unique experience and competitive advantage. Usually, this isn’t the best solution for medium to large companies.
Where to start with custom voice assistants
The custom assistant
To avoid this from happening, businesses are looking for an alternative solution.
It is a bigger effort to develop your own virtual assistant, so what is the one best practice to develop it? Find the correct full-service provider, with deep expertise, and a proven track record that makes them enough experienced to face the challenges.
A partner with firm roots in linguistics, this being of tremendous value to design natural and flowing conversations. One with profound knowledge in natural language understanding (NLU), conversational design, persona, and user experience design. Everything that enables companies to create, customize, and scale engaging experiences while maintaining and growing their brand, reach, ownership of customer data, and deliver a product that makes a real impact.
Among many other reasons, the missing link is how. How to adopt a voice-first strategy? The answer to that question depends a lot on who you are, what market do you serve, and your own brand and company goals. It is an enormous opportunity for companies to leverage this new technology and integrate it into their business digital ecosystem.
Would you like to explore how can Voice AI increase the ROI of your business? Talk to us!