Understanding What Voice Means For Your Business
One of the standout articles from Mobile World Congress was Simon Gwynn’s comment in Campaign, with the opening line of the acceleration of technology (is) beyond the point at which humans can understand and exploit it. I think it sums up the position for many marketing executives today. Everyone keeps on telling you that you need to embrace voice, but no one actually has any bright ideas how to go about it.
Firstly, in order to visualize how it will transform your business, you need to understand what voice means to your customer and what it can do for you. Forget about the dumb FAQ chatbot interfaces you may have come across and think more about voice as the next generation of Siri or Alexa. Except they don’t just play the tune you asked them to, or create a reminder to put the rubbish out. They interact on a personalized and individual basis directly with your customer.
Delivering value to your customer through conversation
Imagine you are a bank and one of you customers is standing in front of a clothes shop looking at a coat that is just perfect for them. There is just one snag. So they ask your app,
“How much money do I have in my account?”
“And my savings?”
“2000 dollars. See something nice, Julie?”
“Yes it’s a coat that would be perfect for my trip to London next week.”
And there you have it in a nutshell. You’ve answered your customer’s question easily, and learned something valuable to your business that can be used immediately in the conversation.
“Have you arranged your travel money?”
“No. I was going to drop into the bank, but I haven’t had time”
“Would you like me to order it for you now?”
“Oh yes please. Can you take 500 dollars from my saving acct and turn it into to travelers cheques?”
“Sure. What branch do you want to pick them up from? The nearest ones to you now are Main Street or 5th Avenue.”
Using information such as geo location from the phone, your app can continue to personalize the conversation and deliver meaningful value to the customer. The conversation can go on with insurance etc, or perhaps Julie is covered with her yearly policy she took out with a few months ago, so your app decides not to ask that question.
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Increasing the value of sale through personalization
Now imagine you’re the retailer of that shop window. You don’t actually have Julie’s size in stock, but you can order it for her online now and it will be delivered to her workplace tomorrow. You take payment and because Julie is a regular customer the transaction instantly appears on your mobile app that she’s previously downloaded. Later that afternoon, you send her a notification that her package is being prepared and ask if there is anything else she’d like to add. You tell her about the special you have on scarves.
But Julie can’t decide on color so she asks theapp, “What’s this season’s color?”
You make your recommendations, perhaps even using information from a third party such as fashion magazine, and possibly Julie even gets sidetracked by asking about Spring trends too. But that’s no problem because your app is intelligent enough to bring the conversation back on track and ask her which color scarf she’d like.
“Ugh! I hate baby pink, but turquoise sounds great. Can I add that to my order please?”
Understanding your customer’s individual preferences
Not only have you increased your sale value, but you’ve learned implicitly a color that Julie hates and one that she likes. This information can be remembered and reused at a later date, perhaps to personalize your next advertising campaign. It is this type of data that makes conversational applications so valuable to businesses. Scaled up it reveals trends, insights and sentiments on a scope focus groups can only dream about.
Adding conversational intelligence to your customer interactions is much more than just an easy method for people to communicate with you. It allows you to understand individuals much better, and develop a closer customer engagement. It enables you to reinforce your brand in an innovative and imaginative way. Finally, it provides the voice of the customer data that you need to develop long term strategies.
This isn’t, as the Campaign article suggests, that voice interfaces are set for material improvements in the next two years. With Artificial Solutions, this technology is available now and is already being used to reinvigorate customer engagement by the likes of Kindred, Shiseido and Shell.
While other businesses may be struggling to understand and exploit conversational technology, they’ve already built their first applications and are reusing them to port to different languages, channels and services. Don’t get left behind. Start your intelligent conversational application journey today.