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. For around a decade, consumers have been introduced to the likes of Siri and Alexa, and smart assistants for the home. 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, and a wider range of actions smart assistants can perform (bookings, payments, account cancelations), make clear that voice-based solutions will dominate the chatbot landscape, and are gaining fast traction to become the most adopted customer self-service tool.
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 to be able 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 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.
Because VoiceBots communicate in a conversational manner in the same way 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.
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.
Without a doubt VoiceBots provide an advantage in terms of immediacy, purely in how they help customers avoid having to type in a question or request, or explain complex ideas. 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.
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.
Imagine if the voice of Michael Jordan (Nike’s largest celebrity endorsement) greeted you by your name when you visited Nike’s site. With VoiceBots, companies have full control over how the VoiceBot sounds and can choose the accent, age and gender of their VoiceBots. 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.
With VoiceBots, you can also replicate human voices to reflect your business/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.
COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of touchless-technology in every sphere of our lives. Not only in our homes, but in the workplace and even in the public space. Voice by its nature provides a perfect hands-free solution in places where physical contact might be necessary: elevators, offices, hotels, hospitals, banks, restaurants, retail, etc.
Some examples of brands already moving towards touchless transactions include Walmart’s voice order technology that enables shoppers to add items to their online grocery cards with the command of their voice. Or, MasterCard’s drive-through experience that includes a VoiceBot that allows customers to order and pick-up food and beverages using only their voice. In the workplace, enterprise employees are leveraging voice commands to check their calendar, email a contact, dial into a meeting, and more.
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.