WRITTEN BY Geert Eichhorn
Innovation Director at MediaMonks
Happy employees are productive employees. This is why so many tech companies go to great lengths to turn offices into happy work-homes and make the people in them even happier. But what if your most productive employee isn’t a person at a desk, but a voice?
Voice technology is changing the face of customer service and turning homes into the new frontier for business. By 2020, over half of U.S. households will have at least one voice-enabled speaker, and with every extra device, the opportunity for direct-to-customer contact increases. All you need to do to seize that opportunity is consider your voice assistant or app as part of your team.
What sets voice apart from your employees is that it will carry your brand closer to the customer than any person ever could – inside their bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms. The adoption rates corroborate the story; consumers’ voice requests are racking up to 1 billion searches per month. By 2020, a third of all web activity is even predicted to happen without the use of a screen. Not very surprising considering that we all know how to talk, but slightly harder to believe when you look around a subway car at rush hour.
Over half of U.S. households will have at least one voice-enabled speaker by 2020.
This means that voice tech is rapidly changing the standards of customer experience. Both in private and public spaces, your brand’s voice will be your primary ambassador, making it essential to every business. It’s always-on and always there, continuously building a relationship with countless customers at once. And the best part is that voice can be copy-pasted; online, offline, any time.
During a panel at Google Beach earlier this summer, Google revealed that their voice assistant had registered one million “I love you’s” that month. It shows that people are expecting to interact with voice the way they are used to – as humans. All the more reason for you to start approaching voice in a similar way.
Your voice interface doesn’t have to pass the Turing Test, but for it to make employee of the month it will need to reflect a certain level of human behavior in its interaction. You can do that by developing a voice persona that represents your brand and resonates with your customer. Try to think of the persona’s purpose, defining how your voice speaks before setting up a script. A persona is to voice assistants what tone of voice is to written communication – the heart and soul of your branding and positioning. Pack it with character traits, behaviors, and if you’re feeling generous, a sense of humor.
Our Why Not Now? voice experience for Spanish automaker SEAT strikes a close personal connection with users in a way that aligns well with the brand’s offerings. Many view cars as a symbol of personal freedom, and SEAT’s voice experience leans into this view by asking users what’s holding them back from achieving their dreams. Through a conversation that prompts self-reflection, SEAT strengthens the bond between users and the brand with an empathetic voice.
Voice connects with any and all customers on a personal level, it disregards regular working hours but never risks a burnout, and it simply can’t entertain the idea of switching jobs if it’s feeling undervalued. It’s your most loyal and hardworking employee. To top it all off, voice is always available for feedback and implements it to a tee. That’s more than any person can say. So why shouldn’t your voice be in the same pay grade as its human counterparts?
How much your voice should earn is up to you, but make sure that it’s a fair salary, and that you regularly invest in its career — it’s an investment that can open the doors to nearly two billion consumers in just a few years’ time.