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Why VoiceBots are taking over Chatbots and other text-based assistants

Juliana Zuluaga

The novelty of chatbots and text-based AI has been fading away, giving space for a more exciting and natural interaction with voice-based AI solutions. Over the past decade, consumers have been introduced to Voice Assistants like Siri and Alexa, and other smart assistants for home applicances. Today, interacting with a smart assistant on a smartphone, speaker, or TV is part of daily life. In 2020, 38% of Americans interacted with a smart assistant daily, and it has been estimated this rate will increase to 55% of the U.S population by 2022.

Recent advances in voice technology such as synthetic voices that recreate human speech almost perfectly paired with an increase range of actions smart assistants can perform (bookings, payments, account cancelations), make it clear that voice-based solutions will dominate the chatbot landscape, and are gaining fast traction to become the most adopted customer self-service tool

 

What are VoiceBots?  

VoiceBots are AI-powered assistants that interact and communicate with people through voice. They use advanced speech recognition and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and interpret what a person is saying in order to provide the appropriate response.

Using a Voice AI software like VOIQ allows companies to add a conversational VoiceBot to their website to serve as a 24/7 virtual sales agent and a first point of contact. VoiceBots are specifically trained to represent your brand, they can answer questions about your products/services, qualify leads, surface the right content, schedule meetings and even help with navigation by directing your visitors to the right page. 


What differentiates VoiceBots from Chatbots? 

Voice is our most natural form of communication

Because VoiceBots communicate conversationally, much like humans do, VoiceBots add a more efficient and user-friendly dimension to the customer’s online experience. We, as humans, tend to be more spontaneous in our verbal interactions so there is a lot of information that can be extracted from a conversation. Text-based interactions fall short in this area. They lack human emotion and urgency. Before emojis there was a lot of confusion as to whether a text was friendly or rude, leaving room for misunderstandings. 

Voice is 3X faster than typing

Imagine walking into Starbucks and ordering a “Venti, half-whole milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, split quad shots, no foam latte, with whip, 2 packets of splenda, 1 sugar in the raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and 3 short sprinkles of cinnamon.” Now imagine if Starbucks insisted the order be typed - that’s where the challenge with today’s chatbots lies. 

VoiceBots undeniably provide an advantage in terms of immediacy by allowing customers to ask questions, make a request, or explain complex ideas with their voice rather than through text. Voice is the fastest and most natural form of communication. Not only is speech to text 3X faster than typing, it's also more accurate. Hence, you could say that VoiceBots live up to their promise of creating real-time conversations with little to zero wait time. 

Sentiment analysis provides key customer insights

Being able to capture not only what is said but how it is said, is extremely valuable data for companies. As opposed to a text-based conversation, you can extract a lot of information from the tone, pitch, and frequency of a customer’s voice. VoiceBots are able to analyze patterns of customer sentiment and surface insights into how customers respond to brand content, pricing, new product features, etc. Sentiment analysis also plays an important role when determining if a conversation should be handed off to a human. VoiceBots can easily identify anger or urgency in a customer’s voice when handling a support query.

Voice reflects a company’s brand identity

Imagine if the voice of Michael Jordan (Nike’s largest celebrity endorsement) greeted you by your name when you visited Nike’s website. With VoiceBots, companies have full control over how the VoiceBot sounds and can choose their accent, age and gender. This allows companies to deliver a unique buying experience catered towards their ideal target audience. For example, if your company specializes in selling cowboy boots and your average customer lives in Texas you might want to use a VoiceBot with a Southern American accent to relate to your target audience.

,With VoiceBots, you can also replicate human voices to reflect your business',  or personal brand. This is particularly beneficial to companies that have a recognizable voice (ie. the Geico Gecko), or well-known ambassadors attached to their brand. 

Voice personalizes touchless experiences

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of touchless-technology in every sphere of our lives. Not only in our homes, but in our workplaces and  public spaces. Voice provides a perfect hands-free solution in places where physical contact might be necessary: elevators, offices, hotels, hospitals, banks, restaurants, retail, etc.

For example, Walmart’s voice order technology enables shoppers to add items to their online grocery cards with the command of their voice. MasterCard’s drive-through experience includes a VoiceBot that allows customers to order and pick-up food and beverages using only their voice. And in the workplace, enterprise employees are leveraging voice commands to check their calendar, email a contact, dial into a meeting, and more.

VoiceBots make websites more accessible to the visually impaired

Adding a VoiceBot to your website opens your business to a market you may have been missing entirely because your site is not accessible for the visually impaired. Globally, around 1 billion people live with some sort of visual impairment. Having a VoiceBot on your website helps the visually impaired access the information they need in real-time, get immediate answers to their questions, and search through your site’s content and pages using just their voice. For the first time, the visually impaired are able to interact with a website and have contextual conversations, instead of the information being read to them through screen readers. 


Final Thoughts

VoiceBots are here to take AI virtual assistants to the next level and become the default web-based solution over chatbots and other text-based assistants. Moreover, VoiceBots are creating new opportunities for brands to have highly-personalized and automated customer relations:
  • VoiceBots provide a natural and efficient line of communication with customers.
  • Through speech analytics, VoiceBots offer enhanced customer insights that otherwise would be harder to extract from text-based conversations.
  • Voicebots give brands their own vocal identity that represents their values and deepens the emotional connection with customers.
  • VoiceBots improve accessibility for people with disabilities, especially the visually impaired. 

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