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While enterprise chatbots have been on center stage for quite some time, a new wave of AI-assisted services is being introduced, changing the way we communicate, undertake tasks, work, and browse the internet, among other things. There has been a revolutionary change in how we interact with our electronic devices and these come in the form of voice-activated chatbots.
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Text-based chatbots lack human emotion.
While the new and improved chatbot still offers a traditional text-based interface, more than 90 percent of human conversations today occur through voice. If you think about it, we've been talking to each other for hundreds of thousands of years, whereas text-based conversations are a relatively new phenomenon.
While text-based conversations work between humans who understand context, intent, and emotion, those between humans and robots can lack clarity, purpose, and sentiment, making them extremely unnatural and thus semi-problematic. With this in mind, I, along with many others, believe voice-activated chatbots are the future. Here's why:
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Building a more integrated customer experience.
More and more companies are teaming up with leaders in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space in order to create voice-activated chatbots and products. Thanks to the growth of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology, which now allows devices to be interconnected, voice activation will be used by companies of all kinds to share information, expand their brand awareness, and offer an overall more integrated customer service experience.
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Offering intimacy and personalisation.
It's in our nature to use voice as our preferred method of communication. As companies start using voice recognition technology and conversational commerce in their business processes, they're adding a level of intimacy and personalization to their interactions with consumers. The use of voice rather than text makes these two-way communications much more real and humane, especially compared to other simulated text-based conversations.
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Immediate verbal feedback
Another reason you may feel the interaction is more human is that you'll receive instantaneous verbal feedback as you would in a live conversation. Instead of feeling like you're talking to a machine, using a chatbot will be more like conversing with a friend. Shopping and other tasks will feel more experiential, as you'll be part of a two-way dialogue.
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Allows users to multitask.
Voice activation is the ultimate hands-free tool. It makes undertaking a huge variety of tasks possible regardless of the circumstances. Consumers can now multitask like never before, as they don't need to have their eyes on their device to communicate with it. For example, now you can safely use a variety of services and applications, do your online shopping, and even organize meetings while driving or cooking.
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Removes the need to physically interact with devices.
This new level of personalization and intimacy goes much deeper than just having a two-way conversation. Voice-activated chatbots also eliminate significant consumer engagement barriers. Text-based chats always require the presence of some sort of device. Voice command cuts out the need to physically interact with digital devices. New and improved AI means that as long as you're within range, you can speak to your chatbot without having to go into applications or click on numerous buttons.
Cutting Out the Middleman: Machine-to-Machine Interactions
Enterprise chatbots aside from cutting out the need for humans to physically interact with digital devices, advancements in IoT and AI are enhancing machine to machine interactions. Machine-to-machine interactions are when devices connect to one another to achieve a seamless user experience. An example could be ordering a pizza from Domino's through Amazon Echo.
Now, devices are able to connect directly to applications and programs, thus making a multitude of tasks more straightforward. Instead of going into the next room to tell your phone to order your pizza, you can ask Amazon Echo, which will then connect to your Domino's application to place the order for you. This breakthrough will not only change the way consumers interact with brands but also have an impact on the future of commerce and home devices as a whole.
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Creating a fun experience.
We now live in a customer-centric world where brands are having to find new and innovative ways to engage consumers. Simply advertising to them with the aim of selling doesn't cut it anymore. Voice-activated chatbots not only make experiences more "real" but also more fun.
Being able to use voice commands at this level is still very new and exciting, and according to Global Web Index, research shows that more than a third of consumers find voice search more fun than other methods currently available.
Combining the human touch with the convenience of digital.
Commerce as we know it has changed. It started off with physical stores that had a primary focus to create relationships with their customers. With the birth of e-commerce came a new objective: offering unlimited choice in order to make more sales. While some may disagree, the digital era we live in has taken away the opportunity for brands to create meaningful relationships and replaced it with a focus on Return On Investment (ROI).
Thankfully, conversational commerce can change this. These voice-activated personal assistants act as employees would in a store, offering advice on products and the ability to answer any question consumers may have. Voice-activated chatbots offer a more human experience combined with the convenience of digital.
Facilitating frictionless commerce.
Commerce wouldn't be commerce if it didn't include some form of transaction. One of the most important aspects of commerce is payments; therefore, it's only fair to assume that voice payments will soon become extremely popular.
Capital One has teamed up with Alexa to give its customers the chance to do their banking through voice commands, and Microsoft's Cortana was integrated with Paytm Wallet so that consumers can make voice-activated bill payments through their smartphones. I expect this space to expand further as voice-activated chatbots become more widely adopted by brands.
Voice-activated chatbots aren't limited to customer care services or helping people with their day-to-day tasks and shopping needs. These tools are being used as on-demand virtual assistants that can also make us more productive at work. Voice-activated chatbots will allow us to do all the following and more without having to change applications on our computers or other devices. With them, you'll be able to:
- Have more productive conversations with colleagues by cutting out the need to type into chat-based applications
- Schedule, organize, and modify meetings with clients
- Request marketing and sales reports
- Write and send emails
- Set reminders
Because voice-driven systems are now being integrated into a variety of devices and appliances other than our computers, tablets, and smartphones, we can also probably expect other basic work tasks, such as sending documents to the printer to be voice activated as well in the near future.
Voice-activated conversational commerce will become a key part of every digital strategy.
There is no doubt about it, chatbots are here to stay. Conversational commerce is evolving at the speed of light. While its beginnings were slow, advancements in technology are allowing it to evolve at an exponential rate, now offering voice-activated versions that are becoming more human with every interaction.
Voice-activated chatbots have not yet reached their full potential, yet Gartner already expects digital assistant-driven sales to reach $2 billion this year alone. As a result, it's essential that you implement voice-activated chatbots into your conversational commerce strategy in order to capitalize on the productivity and ROI opportunities they're expected to offer.