Alexa has gone 9 to 5 too and businesses can’t get enough of it. Voice assistants are a gold mine of efficiency - leveraging human skills and eliminating human limitations. Having worked their charm at homes, they are now headed to the office and make themselves known for their potential. Quite ambitious, aren’t they? The market for voice tech has skyrocketed and voice assistants have become business consultants and office admins globally. In this article, I present the growth of voice assistants in the business ecosystem and the various ways in which voice assistants are transforming business and workplace practices.
The terms Alexa and OK Google are common both in houses and at the workplace today. However, they were no less than a wonder just about a decade ago. Years of innovation have gone into enabling Siri to point us to the nearby restaurant. AI, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and even wireless networking are some of the areas that worked as building blocks for voice assistants.
Today, voice assistants provide the ultimate UI that will soon enchant users of all demographics worldwide.
- You get answers, you get work done just by saying it out loud. There is no need to type, or read out the letters on a screen. Can it get easier than this?
- Moreover, voice assistants use the power of data to get smarter about your behavior and search patterns. As you use voice AI more, they become better assistants for you.
Because of this ease and convenience, 1 out of 6 Americans uses a smart speaker today. As of 2019, almost 3.25 billion users had a smart speaker and by 2023, the global user base of voice assistants will increase to an astonishing 8 billion units!
Notably, Google insights estimate that 62% of these users will start making purchases using voice search. Voice assistants are transforming business mostly by using the power of voice search. Therefore, companies are naturally going to leverage this newly emerging market segment.
The global market for voice technology and how voice assistants are transforming business
Image source: Technavio
Voice search is gaining traction quite rapidly. If customers are looking to buy things using voice, businesses would definitely be a step ahead.
Many businesses have already employed voice technology for customer experience, marketing, and other operational tasks. In a survey conducted by Capgemini, 76% of these organizations were very happy with the ROI voice tech gives them.
The popularity and success of voice tech are expanding at an unprecedented pace. From $90.3 Bn in 2015, the global market for voice technology is estimated to be $184.9 Bn in 2021.
A Statista report claims Alexa has gone from having 150 skills to over 10,000 skills in the past 3 years. Google Assistant has over 4253 apps in the United States alone. With the help of these vastly diverse voice apps, voice assistants are certainly transforming the way business gets done.
At this point, voice tech, especially voice assistants, lie at the intersection of improving internal processes and enhancing the customer experience for businesses across the globe.
How Voice Assistants Are Transforming The Way Business Gets Done in 2020
From voice search to voice commerce, voice assistants have made their way to every aspect of the modern business ecosystem.
Voice search optimization for SEO
During a survey, HubSpot found over 74% of their respondents resorted to voice search in the past month. Social Media Today published a report stating 52% of people prefer to use voice search instead of text-based search while driving.
There are numerous such studies conducted in different locations. While the numbers may vary a bit, all of them point towards one thing. The future of SEO is voice.
People use voice search for various purposes. Common actions that users take after making a voice search: make a restaurant reservation (54%), check for product/service prices of a local business (46%), and placing an order(32%).
All of these can be potential leads for businesses so it’s important for businesses to rank on the voice search queries.
Although Google doesn’t have a voice search algorithm as it has for text-based search, marketers do know voice search results may vary greatly from text-based search results. Thus, businesses have now begun to work their way around voice search optimization. Click here for a great resource on voice search optimization tips from SEMrush.
Voice commerce is beginning to dominate the online shopping market
Voice commerce is a term referred to as the use of voice technology for making purchases online. Having used smart speakers, people have become accustomed to getting things done just by speaking out loud. Thus, voice commerce is becoming popular for the following reasons:
- It doesn’t involve using hands or eyes
- It enables users to do shopping while doing other things too
- Answers and options given by voice assistants or voice apps are pretty quick
- Personalized responses based on search history
- Order tracking on the go
For these reasons, voice is becoming a favorite medium to do online shopping. According to the Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report 2018, the US is likely to spend over $40 Bn on voice commerce by 2022. It’s an easy prediction then that voice assistants are transforming business and marketing practices at a rapid pace.
Voice assistants are a lucrative medium to build your brand
Building a brand is so much more than just marketing and selling your product. You want to educate your audience, you want to be memorable in their minds. Most importantly, you want to win their trust and come across as a market leader.
This approach to branding has evolved over time. Initially, website content was the only way businesses used to do it. Then, content marketing became a ubiquitous medium to connect with the audience. Social media posts and blogs are how consumers discover brands a lot of times.
It made sense to have a text-based content marketing program in place because users would type in a search query on Google or look for particular hashtags on social media. However, now, whenever a smart speaker owner wants to know something, they turn to Alexa or Google Home for quick answers.
Thus, voice assistants are emerging as the next Youtube or Google. Brands are adding Alexa skills for tutorials, answers to common questions, and much more. These skills serve as a resource that aims to convert the user into a lead eventually.
For example, if a user asks, “Alexa, tell me the best skincare tips”, the relevant Alexa skills developed by a skincare brand can make its way to the user’s living room.
Alexa skills is an immensely beneficial marketing tool for businesses to build relationships with their audience. If you manage to do it the right way, this is a great time for you to make a lasting impression in this newly emerging market. These skills have an important role to play in how voice assistants are transforming business in 2020.
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Voice assistants for personalized customer experience
Voice search and chatbots have made it extremely easy for people to seek assistance from businesses. Moreover, the AI competence of voice assistance enables them to deliver a more personalized experience to customers.
Naturally, reading written text is nowhere close to actually talking to an assistant, even if it’s a virtual assistant.
Secondly, voice assistants are capable of gathering and analyzing data ranging from as trivial as the date of the call to as significant as analyzing the mood, need, and browsing history of the users. By smartly leveraging these analytics, businesses can know their customers better. Moreover, they can also identify the lifetime value and other metrics important for customer acquisition and retention.
How you can use voice assistants to transform your business
Many companies and startups have recognized how they can leverage voice assistants to save time and money. Here are a few ways you can use voice assistants to transform your business operations and efficiency.
Top priority notifications for when you can’t look at the screen
Many a time, executives are just too occupied to look at a screen and that is true for employees at all levels in an organization. Two things are likely to happen in such cases. You either choose to read the notification and lose all the focus you had for the task at hand. Or you choose to not read it and run the risk of missing a time-sensitive notification.
With the help of voice assistants, you can avoid both undesirable situations. There are many Alexa for business skills that can read out important notifications while you are driving or busy with other tasks. Of course, you don’t want too much distraction so you can choose to change your notification priorities every single day or on weekly basis.
Many businesses have also integrated voice assistants with their CRM and employee management tools to stay connected with relevant teams.
Leverage smart office technology with voice commands
Alexa and OK Google aren’t meant just for home. Smart office technology had arrived even before the idea of smart homes was conceived. However, the only difference was that the smart office required employees to fiddle with IoT apps and other software to manage things digitally.
Many workplaces observed that smart office systems were sometimes hindering the productivity of their employees. Is there a better way to evolve digitally? Yes! Voice assistants make it easier to leverage smart office technologies with just a single voice command.
Now, you don’t have to look at your screens to find out which meeting room is available. Just ask Alexa, and you will know in an instant.
From reminders for entire teams to personal reminders for taking a walk, voice assistants are making digital workplaces even smarter by the day.
Future of voice: This is just the beginning!
The booming market for voice technology, especially how voice assistants are transforming business, is just the beginning of a revolution. The growth of voice assistants isn’t just about voice technology, it’s more of a pervasive disruption that voice assistants are set to make in almost every industry. Just like the internet and then the smartphones drastically changed the way humans lived, voice assistants are bringing about yet another global change. However, this time, the quest is to make machines behave like humans.
With adoption rates so massive, we will witness a new era of technology very soon - a world where business and customers, both will be enchanted and obsessed with voice technologies for the smallest to the biggest of tasks.