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|How to Build a Voicebot that Makes Words Valuable

How to Build a Voicebot that Makes Words Valuable

Operating under the tagline of A Vocal Experience You Can Trust, Sitel Group’s Digital CX agency TSC articulated the dos and don’ts of building a voice app that will add value for your brand at the 2018 Hub Forum – one of the most important digital marketing and business transformation conferences in Europe.

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Voice: the fastest and easiest way for customers to interact
by Sitel staff October 21, 2018 - 4 MIN READ

As the buzz around smart speakers and vocal assistants gets louder, now’s the time to ask how do you design a vocal experience that really speaks to your customers?

Operating under the tagline of A Vocal Experience You Can Trust, Sitel Group’s Digital CX agency TSC articulated the dos and don’ts of building a voice app that will add value for your brand at the 2018 Hub Forum – one of the most important digital marketing and business transformation conferences in Europe.

The buzz around smart speakers and vocal assistants is now so loud that it’s deafening. One in five U.S. households has either a Google Home Assistant, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod device and Gartner has forecast that by 2020, 50 percent of Google searches will be via voice and 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be screen-less

All of this means there has never been a better time to try and tune out this buzz and gain clarity as to how to embrace this most disruptive of channels.

Voice: the fastest and easiest way for customers to interact

“Voice interaction is set to be the future of interaction between consumers and brands,” announced Geoffrey Boulakia, General Manager EMEA of TSC as he welcomed attendees to a dedicated workshop on how to make yourself heard over the competition. “It’s a privileged channel. It’s intergenerational and it offers enormous possibility to interact and engage quickly.”

The average person speaks at 200 words per minute, whereas the average typing speed is just 61 words a minute.

“Speaking is the most natural form of interaction,” said Boulakia. “But how do you make those words valuable?”

Geoffrey Boulakia, General Manager EMEA of TSC

A choice of three routes to entering the vocal ecosystem

According to Boulakia and co-presenter, Josselin Moreau, TSC’s Director of Strategic Planning, brands have three approaches or options, the first being Personal Assistant Search Optimization (PASO).

“When you ask a voice assistant a question it doesn’t give you a list of answers like a Google search,” explained Moreau. “It gives you the answer, and maybe one or two alternatives. PASO is how you make sure your brand continues to stand out in this new ecosystem.”

PASO means optimizing web content for the vocal experience, for retrieval and broadcast over a smart speaker, with the aim at getting your content to come to the top as a featured snippet above a standard page of results when performing a web search.

“The second is what we call first-party integration. This essentially means building a relationship with one of the assistants so your content becomes the source of reference for a particular topic,” continued Moreau. “For example, in France, Radio France has become the source of breaking news and headlines for French users of Google Home Assistant.”

Building a voice app that adds value

However, the final approach, third-party integration, is the one that a growing number of brands will be taking if they want to be heard.

“That means using the platform to develop a skill or an app for your content or services,” said Moreau. “But how are you going to use voice to deliver added value? Where do you start? The best way is with a real problem – and one that can be solved because of voice. Because voice is faster, or more personal or more direct.”

So that means don’t be tempted to copy and paste.

“Just because a service or tool works as an app doesn’t mean it can be directly transposed to voice,” warned Moreau. “The interactions are different, the navigation is different.”

In other words you could end up creating an inferior and therefore frustrating user experience.

Aim to be useful

The same is true of other voice apps. Instead of imitating, find a gap in the ecosystem and fill it. “Find a domain of expertise where there is a weakness but where you are strong,” Moreau continued.

Likewise, you need to aim for something that will become and remain useful. “Favor recurrence,” said Moreau. “The apps that work the best are the ones that become part of our daily lives.”

And make sure it does so in your brand’s tone of voice. This is an opportunity to create a vocal representation of your business and its values, so seize it.

Once each of these points has been addressed, you need to start thinking about building a voicebot’s customer journey, the questions it needs to understand and the answers that it is going to give.

Ready to act out

And even here there is a new challenge unique to voice – how those interactions are scripted and how they are tested before the development stage starts.

“Writing for a voicebot is a new form of copywriting,” said Boulakia. “It’s a new type of job that combines a host of skills. A written response and a written for speech answer are very different.”

It’s closer to being a screenwriter and this is a good analogy as the testing phase is akin to putting on a production of a play.

“You need to role play,” revealed Moreau. “One person playing the role of the customer and another being Alexa or Google Assistant, reading out and acting out every formulation of question and response.”

This is why TSC recommends that if you want to avoid staging a drama, you reach out to a partner that can develop, integrate and continue to support your voicebot once live.

“Once launched, a voicebot needs constant testing and development to enrich the user experience,” said Boulakia. “Customers want a vocal experience that they can trust.”

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