Your motivation to enter voice should be trust, but it will probably be fear

by | May 2, 2019

Anyone who has worked more than a few days in a customer service role knows that when a customer trusts you, you are able to be forgiven more easily, ask customers to do things they normally wouldn’t and maintain a longer relationship with them.

Without trust customer retention rates drop, obtaining new customers becomes more expensive and brand value drops out. You know what else happens? Employee morale falls.

As with any new technology, activating voice only requires two things, a desire to meet the audience where they are and a single problem or opportunity for support.

When eBay started it was looking to do one thing: bring a seller and buyer together in the digital world. In the beginning eBay didn’t/couldn’t process payment – it depended on the audience to send payment to one another AND send eBay their commission, through the mail. And it worked!

eBay established trust with its audience by creating something of use that was convenient on this (at the time) “new-fangled technology” called the internet with something called a website. eBay didn’t start as eCommerce, though it certainly shaped it. It began, in 1995 as a virtual marketplace. It wouldn’t be until December 1998, when PayPal was formed that an alternative to checks and money orders would challenge those norms.

The lesson learned is to leverage new technology to solve a problem or offer support. Full stop. Don’t let the sophistication of existing technology or acquaintance with digital possibilities undercut the core need for humans/audiences/customers, to become familiar with what you are doing and trust.

The benefit is also to the teams who will eventually own the voice channel. By not starting the conversational experience with ‘sell, sell, sell’ you allow managers to become familiar with tools, technologies, analytics and management itself.

You enter voice by offering aid, support and problem solving and telling your customers its there for their use. Listen the feedback and evolve your approach. Your customers are already there waiting for you.

But fear is still a leading motivation in business decisions and voice will be no different

Being first or early isn’t a good enough reason for many brands to dabble in new technologies or areas of customer experience. What can often be agreed to over happy hour can’t be activated in a standup. The reasons can be political, financial or strategic. Sometimes its ego, sometimes its reason. Sometimes it’s both.

But voice is here to stay. We crossed the 50M mark with smart speakers in 2018. Smart displays captured significant market share in 2018 telling us a multimodal experience is desired. And voice assistants are embedded on billions of devices ranging from mobiles to thermostats, cars to refrigerators.

Brands who think a conversation experience and omni-assistant strategy is off in the future will find themselves woefully behind their customers.

Additionally, invocation names (the way users activate your conversation experience) are first come first serve. But here is the rub: whereas back in the day when domain names (URL’s) were being bought up by the hundreds and thousands as a digital real estate play, leading to some very rich people who smartly read the market, invocation names aren’t managed the same way.

The “”digerati” learned from that market event. This means in order to secure your invocation name, you must also have content. Great news you think, no one can simply ‘buy’ the invocation, squat and jack the price up when I am ready to activate. That’s true. But its shortsighted.

In reality it means that anyone who wants to put in a day’s worth of work can create a voice experience, name it, deploy it and box you out. And not just box you out but begin to shape the customer experience against your brand name, industry space or area of expertise.

I could, if I chose, go home tonight and create a voice app that is nothing more than 100 reasons I love Fiji Water. Call it “Fiji Water” and deploy it to every assistant out there. Like setting up a blog on fijiwater.com – but in voice.

Brand displacement and disruption isn’t a new concept. The speed with which it can happen, like Moore’s Law, is accelerating and brands need to be their own advocates. In voice it isn’t hard. You just need to start.

Post Script

It’s for reasons like brand ownership, trust, ease of use, speed to market and customer experience we started Voicify. We believe when companies offer support, problem solving and functionality through voice channels both they and the customer win. We get brands into voice in days and weeks, not months. So whether trust or fear, or perhaps both, are part of your motivation to move into this space, Voicify is here.

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