Voice Assistants help you to have verbal conversations with the devices around you. You can find these assistants in your phone, for example Siri on iOS or Google Assistant on Android devices, but they are also present in your home (Google Home & Amazon Echo). In the future, these Voice Assistants will be integrated in many more digital devices. You can ask them for the time or the weather, but you can also have them perform actions such as increasing the volume of your speakers or ordering a product online.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa have a number of standard commands in their system. For instance, you can ask them about the latest news, for an overview of the meetings in your agenda, or you can ask them to play music. However, these platforms also offer the possibility of developing dialogues yourself. These dialogues can be initiated by the user on several sort of hardware, such as your phone, Google Home, your headphones, or even your car.
Communicating with Voice Assistants responds to a person’s primary need for personal interaction. Interacting with a device simply by talking to it, creates a personal connection. It is like having a digital friend who helps you with your daily activities and makes life a little easier (Ipsos).
Google’s smart speaker has been available in the Netherlands from October 24, 2018. Currently, 1 in 3 Dutch people have read or heard about it. Thus, much can be gained in this area.
Be where your customer is
The role of brands has not changed over the years. Just like fifty years ago, brands need to generate visibility for their product or service to create interest and brand preference. The philosophy of reaching your customers in the right place and at the right time with the right message has remained unchanged. However, the channels through which you, as a brand, reach your target group have undergone a major development. With the advent of the internet there is no longer talk of unilateral communication from brand to customer, but now, in turn, the customer also has the possibility to share his input with a brand. By communicating through Voice Assistants, this trend is only getting stronger: Voice puts the consumer in a leading position. The consumer asks a question and expects a suitable answer.
At the moment, the customer’s expectations within the Voice domain are low. However, if Voice becomes commonplace, it is expected that you can also communicate with your target group via this channel. Therefore, it is important to deal with this development in a timely manner. You can prepare today for the world of tomorrow. As renowned computer scientist Butler Lampson once aptly said: “Any technology that will have a significant impact in 10 years is at least 10 years old”.
For the Netherlands, we can state that the development of the Voice domain is still young, so it is still early. However, we can also say: “You are still on time”. This is the time to start exploring, without the high risks involved. This is the moment to learn how to deal with this channel so that when the time is right, you, as a brand, can easily find your way within this domain.