How voice-first technology will improve your customer relationships

User interfaces designed around voice can improve engagement by making it possible for humans and machines to work together via a shared language

29Mar

The minute smartphones became the go-to device, people noticed a big flaw: Mobile-optimized websites were a mess. That changed once companies like Facebook and Google shifted their design priorities to user interfaces focused on the mobile experience. This was the dawn of the 'mobile first' movement.

With voice-activated technology entering the scene, developers must now design with the voice in mind. This is a major step in human-machine interactions, which for decades hinged on us learning to speak the language of machines. We have reached the stage where machines understand human language and can act on what we say – that's a massive change.

As user interfaces have progressed, it has become easier for anybody and everybody to use a computer. Designing with speech interactions in mind can improve your consumer engagement by allowing humans and machines to collaborate through a common, universal language.

Removing barriers

Companies are considering how a voice-first approach will affect enterprise workflows. Employees already spend a lot of time talking at work, especially in meetings. Now, businesses are researching how to use this information to change their workflows and speed up their processes.

Enterprises have spent billions of dollars creating databases to derive structure and insights from internal dialogues and conversations with consumers. Text-based environments are cluttered, which makes gaining and maintaining customer attention a challenge. Building out that more intimate relationship is nearly impossible when consumer attention is split in multiple directions and time is at a premium.

That said, companies that can achieve the nearly impossible stand to collect dividends. By 2021, brands that integrate visual and voice search into their websites can expect a 30% bump in digital revenue, according to Gartner. Mozilla is working on a browser that users can control by voice; while the browser is in the early stages of development, Mashable has acknowledged that it could be helpful for people who are not as savvy with technology.

Mozilla's proposed browser is an example of the untapped potential of voice-first technology. But even in these early stages, there are plenty of things that enterprise leaders should love about a prioritizing voice. Here are three strategies that can help enterprises better engage with consumers using voice tech.

Eliminate shiny objects

Thanks to smartphones, people are more distracted than ever. They end up staring at their screens in almost any environment, growing increasingly addicted to notifications and newsfeeds to the point where most of us are distracted and anxious. This definitely impacts productivity.

Use voice-enabled technology to encourage your colleagues to put down their screens and focus on the work at hand. Create focus and reduce the distraction of outside alerts and notifications. Taking a voice-first approach can sharpen your team's attention and increase productivity on a day-to-day basis.

Encourage automation to create quick follow-ups

According to a Forbes Insight survey, 89% of leaders rate omnichannel services as effective for engagement. So, when you are working on voice-activated technology, make sure your team builds automation into the workflow so that consumers naturally progress through a journey to success.

This kind of automated guidance allows your program to not only interact with consumers but also to build an automatic to-do list of next steps for social media or email. Your program can then prompt consumers to do a follow-up based on their decisions, ensuring no tasks get lost in the fray.

Reduce complicated communications

The great thing about voice is that it is not a one-way communication channel. For years, customers have passively sat by and been bombarded with messaging that does not always speak to them.

With personalization and more organic messaging paired with voice-activated technology, you can customize your tactics to influence consumers and keep them interacting with your ads. Your resulting relationship with consumers will be more dynamic, lowering the barrier between business and person even more than social media already has.

With a voice-first strategy, companies will have to design websites and interactions around speech rather than words on a screen. While the amount of work involved in that redesign might sound intimidating, it will also give those companies greater access to more consumers around the world. Start working on voice interactions today and you will be ready for a more vocal tomorrow.

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