Submitted by Niraj Ruparel, Head of Mobile and Emerging Tech
Voice tech & how it can transform omnichannel experience
From punching buttons to shooting out voice commands, technology has had a remarkable impact on user experience. Those inclined towards adopting it to the earliest have indeed been the frontrunners. If you are worried about how your business can implement voice tech across the multitude of communication channels, then don’t be. All it takes is some hardcore strategizing and if done right, the rewards are endless — lower customer acquisition costs, higher market share, product awareness, and the list goes on.
Right now, digital communication is at a tipping point, with Web 3.0 and its many iterations taking over, the voice tech is indeed getting more sophisticated. Yet, there exists the need for simplistic dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF), which involves connecting to the IVR and choosing options from the keypad to access information or to perform actions.
Although it sounds outdated, the DTMF continues to be effective, and this is evident from the Government’s initiative ‘Kilkari’, a DTMF health education tele campaign for those experiencing maternity. Its massive success soon got businesses like Colgate and other corporates thinking of how best they could use the voice tech, and with some sheer hard work, were soon ahead of their peers.
What makes Voice Tech important?
When big data was in its nascent stages, Bill Gates said “Data is the new oil” and those who followed this mantra survived and thrived throughout recessions and pandemics. The visionary businessman and philanthropist has on various occasions spoken about the massive potential of NLP.
Take a look around, and it makes absolute sense because, on one hand, 70% of businesses have either undergone digital transformation or have a strategy in place to undergo the same. On the other hand, there is a sharp spike in the number of mobile phone users. Also, the number of voice searches have skyrocketed and 58% of all consumers use it to look up information.
The challenge now is to create voice skills that are aligned with business goals and cater to the needs of a diverse clientele, especially in a multi-lingual country like India. If done right, there is immense potential because India has over 1.18 billion mobile phone users, of which over 600 million are smartphone users.
These staggering numbers highlight the potential of this massive industry, particularly the 418 million users who do not use smartphones. These are users who don’t consume information on the internet and need more awareness through simplistic DTMF campaigns. With that said, let us dig deeper into how voice tech can be utilized to implement marketing campaigns for various customer segments.
Reaching a Fragmented Consumer Community with Voice Tech
For a delivery message to be effectively disseminated by a business, the mediums and approaches used must be adapted to that segment’s persona, besides remaining aligned with business goals. This is one of the most underrated brand challenges, particularly while devising a brand strategy for FMCG products that target the masses at large.
You cannot expect Boomers to hop into a brand’s metaverse over the next few years. That’s for the Gen Zs who constitute over 40% of the consumer population with billions of dollars’ worth of buying capacity. So, there is a need for customer segmentation based on generational studies before devising the strategy for a voice skill.
The next classification is based on literacy levels and how data is consumed. You have the educated and informed internet-savvy consumers and also a large chunk of illiterate and poor consumers who have limited or no access to the internet. India has a literacy rate of 74.04%, with over 28% of the population living below poverty rate. Nevertheless, they consume FMCG products, which highlights the need to engage these consumers in a suitable manner to increase the product’s market share.
As they cannot read comfortably, the best way to do that is through simplistic voice-based solutions. Products like Colgate have run successful voice campaigns, but back then they were mostly one-sided. Now, voice technology has metamorphosed into a sophisticated AI-based solution that can do wonders — provide a seamless customer journey, send reminders for critical actions, provide product information, and much more.
Latest Trends in the Voice Tech Landscape
Voice technology is no longer a mere medium of communication, but the key to optimizing business processes, generating opt-ins, dealing with abandoned carts, and creating product awareness. These are done through IVR options on dumb phones or through AI-connected solutions on smartphones.
For example, PayPal lets users execute transactions through voice commands, and Starbucks lets users order and pay for their drinks using voice commands. The list goes on but there is none that can beat what Burger King did — they got Google Assistants talking with an ad that stated “OK Google, what is the Whopper Burger?” with relevant details stated on Wikipedia. Sales skyrocketed, but only until Google rolled out a server-side update.
Since its inception, voice technology has been a phenomenon and those who leveraged it, have not only optimized their business processes but also carved a niche for themselves as industry leaders. Its implementation is best decided based on key factors like product line, consumer segment, and business goals. Whether it’s to lower operational costs, reduce customer acquisition costs, or increase customer engagement — everything needs to be aligned and integrated into a voice model for it to be successful.