- Voice technology has quickly gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers looked for contactless ways to engage with brands.
- To help brands stand out from competitors, companies are looking to deploy custom digital voices to create stronger, more personal relationships with consumers.
- However, when a customer has a negative experience with a brand, a lighthearted branded voice may be off-putting to some consumers. Multiple digital voices need to be deployed for all kinds of interactions.
- Matt Muldoon, President, North America of ReadSpeaker explores why now is the time for marketers to invest in multiple digital voices.
Already poised for a breakout moment, the COVID-19 pandemic fast-tracked the adoption of voice technology. New research from Adobe found that almost a third of respondents cited the contactless nature of voice tech as a specific benefit and reason they use voice assistants, with 77% of respondents saying that they expect to use digital voices more frequently over the next year.
It is clear that voice technology is here to stay. But just as with traditional digital experiences, consumers expect personalization at every step of the consumer journey.
Increasingly, brands are adopting custom voices that match their brand personality and perception to satisfy the personalization expectations, foster better relationships with consumers and gain competitive advantages over other brands that may still depend on the robotic-like voices still found on voice assistants.
But many brands are also learning that one singular voice may not be enough—they must ensure that custom voice experiences are as brand-specific as possible.
Beyond making personalized recommendations and remembering consumer information, marketers should consider investing in multiple digital voices to create a truly engaging and memorable experience.
When one digital voice just isn’t enough
With consumers leveraging voice technology for tasks such as checking on the status of a delivery package, getting updates on an upcoming flight or purchasing groceries, there are opportunities for marketers to humanize their brand by leveraging multiple—custom voices to fit particular scenarios, whether they are positive or negative.
For example, say a consumer is using digital voice technology to check the status of their upcoming flight. When purchasing the ticket or requesting flight status updates, consumers would expect to hear a voice that is cheerful and happy, signifying that the airline is excited for the consumer to join them on a flight.
However, it is inevitable that flights get canceled or delayed. In these cases, when a consumer leverages voice technology and learns that their flight has changed, hearing the same cheery voice as when they booked their flight can feel tone deaf on the brand’s part and creates a perception that the brand is not invested in the consumer’s issue.
Investing in multiple digital voices helps marketers provide the personalized experiences that consumers demand from today’s brands. In cases where a consumer experiences a negative issue in their journey, deploying a digital voice that speaks—literally—to their plight reinforces the brand’s commitment to the consumer, helping to fortify a stronger relationship.
The future of digital voice and keys to success
The COVID-19 pandemic has made consumers aware of all the physical items they interact with. While consumers adopted contactless technology more quickly because of COVID-19, once the pandemic subsides, the popularity of contactless technology will remain.
Moving forward, consumers will still look for ways in which they can connect with brands in a touchless manner, meaning that marketers must prioritize voice interactions to keep consumers engaged and remain competitive.
Capgemini research shows that across various points on the consumer journey, including researching products and services; receiving personalized product recommendations; creating a shopping list; buying products; and making payments for a product and service, the usage of voice is expected to increase by 15 percentage points in 2022.
What’s more, the aforementioned Adobe research found that consumers are now more open to using voice technology in situations in their personal lives where they previously may not have considered using the technology, like checking their bank balance or booking a medical appointment.
To capitalize on investing in and deploying digital voices, marketers will need to think about the types of voice partners to work with to help them be successful.
Considerations for a digital voice partner
When developing multiple digital voices, it is crucial that each voice—no matter the emotion it’s meant to convey—matches the tone and style of the established brand personality. Consumers must be able to instantly recognize the voice and find it engaging, memorable and consistent across various platforms and devices.
To be successful, marketers should look for voice partners that can help create a voice that uses the most modern digital voice technologies, like Deep Neural Networks (DNN) to create the most lifelike, high-quality voices possible during every interaction.
Marketers should also look for voice partners that prioritize data privacy and quality assurance, which are key when dealing with sensitive consumer data.
Looking ahead, voice technology will play a critical role in how consumers research information and engage with brands in both their personal and professional lives.
To ensure that these interactions are successful, marketers should take the appropriate steps now to develop and deploy multiple digital voices. By doing so, marketers can help create memorable experiences that speak to the situations consumers are experiencing to deepen consumer loyalty and maintain better relationships.