Companies Can Create Digital Personality with Speech Technology

We live in an age when every organization not only needs a brand, a personality, and a consistent set of experiences, but also a digital personality, says Jeffrey Rayport, founder and chairman of Marketspace, LLC, in his keynote address today at SpeechTEK 2009. 

“Most of the interactions we have with new customers out there are actually interactions in which the moments of truth are—nine times out of 10—delivered by technology or technology-enabling people,” he says, stressing that speech technology can play a significant part of creating a digital personality.

To develop a digital personality, Rayport stresses the importance of companies understanding who customers are, the impact they have on brands, and the implications this has for speech technologies.

According to Rayport, because today’s consumers are overwhelmed by an almost infinite number of brands, products, and choices, they have achieved a greater power and control in shaping the nature of their relationships with companies.  

And because of this new level of power and control, “companies actually have to care about customer experience,” Rayport says, noting that with the growth of consumer technology, the way people access information, access one another, and share with one another is changing.  

This trend, he argues, makes speech an even more important tool in managing customer relationships.

“Speech is ready for primetime,” Rayport says, noting that companies cannot rely as heavily on marketing as they once did.  He describes speech and call center technology as examples of the many touchpoints companies can use to manage customer relationships.

“It’s not marketing that’s everything, it’s your technology that’s everything,” Rayport says.  “Speech is where the emotional connections get made…”

The challenge of our time, Rayport asserts, is putting all these touchpoints together to create a seamless customer experience.  To meet that challenge—to utilize speech technology and other customer touchpoints—and create a digital brand experience, Rayport lays out five hypotheses, all of which relate to speech, for consumer engagement:

1.    target the core;
2.    activate the community;
3.    work the Web;
4.    design for occasion; and 
5.    integrate the experience.

“Why aren’t we using voice to target brand and the experience?” Rayport asks. “Every brand must have a digital personality, and voice will lead the way.”

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