Nuance Research Reveals Consumers' Preference for Mobile Apps

Consumers have an appetite for voice biometrics, according to a recent survey commissioned by Nuance Communications and conducted by Vocal Laboratories.

The survey respondents were provided with a video that demonstrated a voice biometrics mobile application, because people could have interpreted the term in different ways, said Christy Murfitt, senior solutions manager at Nuance. The mobile application appeared on a screen, a user name was populated and callers were prompted to speak a pass phrase, which was also visible on the screen. Users then heard someone press a button and say "my voice is my password," and then they were brought into the home screen of the application.

Nearly every consumer surveyed (96 percent) said they make mistakes typing their passwords into their mobile phones, and 10 percent claimed they make mistakes every time, signaling a clear opportunity for voice biometrics integration into mobile apps. Of the survey participants, 89 percent have more than 10 passwords to manage, 34 percent have more than 20, and 15 percent have more than 40. Of these respondents, 77 percent feel a voice password would be more convenient than a typed password, while improved security is also a factor, with 55 percent saying they feel a voice password would be more secure than a typed password.

"I think it was so relatable because it's very cumbersome to enter a password on a virtual keypad on a smartphone, especially considering that most passwords are on average anywhere from six to 16 alpha and numeric characters and you have to toggle between the two keyboards that are available," Murfitt says. "Also, 80 percent of the apps that are on the market today require a user name and password."

Murfitt said the company has definitely seen an interest from the market in adding voice biometrics to mobile applications for the convenience of accessing apps and also for security.

"Stay tuned," she said.

The research showed that voice, in general, will be a key driver in mobile app growth. More than half the respondents (59 percent) believe interacting with a company's mobile phone app through a natural spoken conversation would be easier than typing, while 42 percent said they believe it would be both faster and more fun than typing.

For those surveyed who have already experienced natural language interactions through apps like Siri, those numbers skew higher, with 68 percent thinking the interaction would be easier and 54 percent believing the interaction would be more fun. The survey also found that 77 percent would like to have the option and/or prefer to interact with mobile apps through a natural spoken conversation. Among those surveyed who have used conversational voice applications like Siri that number jumps to 91 percent.

The findings also revealed that when given the option, 85 percent of consumers would rather use a mobile app instead of calling a company for routine inquiries such as checking their balance, checking flight status, and other tasks.

"Consumers have clearly embraced the mobile application space, and I think they will continue to do that," Murfitt says. "What we've heard and seen is that this channel actually increases customer engagement with companies so we don’t anticipate this cannibalizing the IVR market or the Web as a tool to go to, we’re seeing it as an additive communication. For companies this is great, any additional engagement with customers is a win in building more solid relationships."

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