Aim for Customer Love
In a recent editorial meeting I found myself saying—yet again—“I love this phone!” This pronouncement usually comes immediately after I demonstrate my Motorola Droid smartphone’s ability to link voice search with its GPS application. I can say, “pizza,” “Italian restaurant, “or “vegan restaurant,” and the phone will retrieve a list of local eateries based on my specified search query with restaurant names, addresses, phone numbers, reviews, and links for directions—all on one easy-to-read screen. Thank you, Google, for creating a mobile operating system (Android) that enables such a wonderful user experience. There’s no doubt the speech technology industry will benefit tremendously if it continues to create equally positive emotional reactions from customers.
With Google’s additional voice search capabilities on its Nexus One smartphone, we should see even more customers brimming with excitement. For more on how Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! are contributing to voice search, read our feature, “Competition Heats Up,” by Paul Korzeniowski. Large companies’ embracement of speech technology will no doubt do wonders for the industry.
I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t acknowledge some of the smaller companies using speech in really innovative ways as well, such as Ribbit. The Ribbit for Salesforce.com solution enables remote salespeople to navigate their way through voicemail, email, SMS messages, and notes by using voice commands. Users can “speak meeting notes while on the road instead of waiting to return to the office, log into Salesforce.com, attempt to recall the meeting, and then manually type up the notes,” writes Editorial Assistant Adam Boretz in his feature, “Changing the Game.” Not only does Ribbit for Salesforce.com save time, but it increases customer data accuracy and encourages salespeople to input more valuable customer information into the CRM system.
Focusing on innovation inside the enterprise, Aaron Fisher maintains in his column, “Speech Needs to Get Personal,” that organizations should personalize callers’ IVR experiences. “Studies have shown that callers like and appreciate automated systems that recognize, at a minimum, the fact they have previously called, their reasons for calling, and what services they have,” Fisher writes. I couldn’t agree more. These efforts will go a long way in increasing end-user comfort levels and trust in IVR systems and companies.
Building products that create exceptional customer experiences requires organizations to garner feedback from the intended users. In her column, “The Modality of Last Resort,” Susan Hura suggests going a step further when tuning an IVR system by reaching out to those who intentionally avoid using the system. This is good advice and can yield some very helpful feedback. Who knows? The results of these efforts may convince IVR avoiders to use the system again.
As the industry continues to innovate, it should strive to deliver exceptional experiences that wow customers. In many cases, delivering a good product that customers like simply isn’t enough. Sure, these customers will use the product and appreciate the value they get from it. But a great product that customers love will foster loyalty and advocacy—the ultimate goal from a marketer’s perspective.
David Myron is editorial director of Speech Technology and CRM magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.