5 Tips for Designing, Building, and Marketing Your First Voice Technology Experience

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Voice has taken a major leap forward, and it has emerged over the last couple of years as a new foundational interaction model in computing. Consumers will interact with voice assistants on more than 8.4 billion devices by 2024, Juniper Research predicts. As users start to have access to voice technology almost everywhere, companies will have to start incorporating voice technology into their overarching strategies. More than ever, consumers expect companies to bring versatility, creativity, innovation, and convenience to their user experiences and daily lives.

Voice platforms can play a significant role in helping companies explore voice opportunities, everything from technological innovation to product development and product roadmaps to using voice as part of a comprehensive go-to-market strategy.

With 91 percent of companies investing in voice (according to Adobe), companies that are using voice technology as part of their strategies create new experiences for their users today and learn and invest in their future customer interactions. In other words, these companies are developing the technical know-how to navigate the new computing era.

As many companies begin to explore adding voice to their strategies, the big question is always where to begin and how to maximize your investment.

Looking to get started with voice? Here are five tips to help:

  1. Determine if conversation is the right fit. As with any good business plan or marketing strategy, you must research and understand the impact conversational technology can have on your overarching goals. Ask yourself which part of your business can benefit most and if your customers will embrace it.
  2. Understand your customer needs. Some of the most successful companies in this digital transformation age have been designing apps from customers' perspectives. It's vital to understand how, where, and why your customers use voice. This way, you can deliver personalized voice experiences to meet their needs rather than the other way around.
  3. Start small before going big. While you might aspire to create a lot of content and deliver multiple use cases via voice, it's better to start small. Test a single implementation and become comfortable with voice technology before applying it to other areas of your business. You'll also want to avoid overwhelming your customers by attempting to solve every issue with voice technology or by introducing too many features at once. Instead, think about building a single-purpose app, enable your users to easily discover it, and let it grow organically, adding more functionality over time. Ideally, great solutions are either user journeys that your customers do frequently or that usually take multiple steps to complete. (Voice can help reduce that  friction.)
  4. Ensure your conversational designs are natural. Developing and programming voice-enabled technology is a time-consuming process. A significant portion of that time should be spent making sure that its interactions are intuitive for users. Finding an appropriate balance between voice and touch interactions is important in that regard, as is providing a natural experience across devices and platforms.
  5. Leverage existing and easy tools to get started. There are already tools designed to make sophisticated voice integration as easy as possible. Start by learning to use some of these tools and build your first project with them. As you become more comfortable with voice technology, your needs will grow and become more focused.

If the do-it-yourself approach isn't for you, consider hiring a professional specializing in voice technology. Voice technology represents a new opportunity for companies to engage with users, and the better your users' experience with voice tech goes, the more likely they are to embrace it going forward. Keep in mind, however, that customers expect this technology to improve with time, so don't worry if it's not perfect on day one. Continue listening to your users and improving your experiences; as with any product, the best ones will always continue to evolve.

Interested in learning more from the best minds in the voice industry? I will be hosting VOICE Talks live on April 29 to explore tips with guests, and I will provide my own recommendations for getting started with easy-to-use technology and explain how big media, like Snapchat, is using voice technology.

Sofia Altuna is Google Assistant's product manager and host of VOICE Talks.

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