If only I had a personal assistant to help with life management and admin… How many times have you longingly imagined this? Between washing machines order replacement detergent, speakers that give you weather forecasts and connected watches that alert you if your heartrate suddenly spikes, we’re clearly surrounded by machines and voice assistants designed to help us with our daily lives.
However, there still aren’t any end-to-end tools that really replace a human or that actually do it all in a single application. Or are there?
Google, Apple and Amazon are revolutionizing how we’re living and managing our lives with their connected voice assistants. Innovative, affordable, intelligent, and sometimes even funny, we think this new kind of personal assistants is bound to have a huge impact on customer service although their age is only just beginning.
What’s new with voice assistants?
Aside from the “typical” stuff such as playing your choice of music, switching on the lights in your home or texting from your cell phone, voice assistants such as Alexa can translate content in 38 languages and counting, take care of your dry-cleaning, request an Uber ride and perform a thousand other tasks. As such, they’re fast becoming devices that one soon won’t be able to do without.
Smart speakers market penetration is growing so rapidly that 20% of American homes now have access to at least one of these devices. And this trend isn’t going anywhere, quite the opposite, especially considering the pace at which connected devices manufacturers are innovating.
Google has impressed us yet again with a demo of how their smart voice assistant requested a hair appointment over the phone with an unsuspecting hairdresser. In fact, this video was quite controversial as some people thought humans should be made aware they are speaking to a robot. Beyond the ethical debate, to us, a new door is opening to reduce customer effort and improve their experience.
An unprecedented impact on customer care
In 2016, 20% of Google Search requests were voice-driven, and ComScore anticipates that in 2020, it will increase to 50%! Big technology players have already jumped on the opportunity, for instance Google has recently replaced its voice search feature with an “assistant”, following on their AI-first strategy.
Contact Center world & voice assistants
In the contact center world, at a time where conversation AI is starting to take over, smart voice assistants are opening up new interaction modes. And more importantly they are freeing up time for agents to focus on dealing with higher value-add requests.
In addition to being a fantastic tool in terms of accessibility, for some smaller brands, a smart assistant means wider customer reach without having to invest in an a-commerce or other online solution, since voice assistants are able to connect directly with them over the phone or on social media.
Robots talking to robots?
As crazy as it may sound right now, we’re rather certain that in a near future, simultaneous conversations between personal intelligent robots and multiple customer service chatbots are going to be the new normal.
Think about comparing cell phone offers as your pay monthly contract is coming to an end. You tell your smart assistant what you’re looking, and “she” takes care of the rest, meaning the bot will search thousands of potential deals across multiple comparison and carrier websites, instantly providing you with the best option. With artificial intelligence, bots can “translate” your requirements into code that can be used to “converse” with business bots.
At the end of the day, you’ve saved a lot of time and effort and you know you have the best offer in the market. Sounds appealing, right?
We can’t write about change in technology without mentioning that for us, it’s a symbol of human evolution and what may seem impossible today, we will perceive and digest naturally when the time comes. In fact, technology evolution has always been a key indicator of human evolution across time. So let’s embrace change!
We hope this point of view on voice assistants has been insightful. Voice as a channel is still alive, it’s simply evolving.