In the first part of this mini-series on voice assistants, we took a look at why it’s important to get involved with the topic of voice assistants and what possible areas of application and successful implementations already exist.
Today we’ll look at what challenges voice assistants are currently facing. You’ll also get tips on how to get started with developing your own voice assistant. So read on.
What Challenges Do Voice Assistants Currently Face?
As promising as voice technology sounds — It still has to overcome other challenges to secure a long-term place in the corporate world.
These are its biggest challenges:
1. Improving Speech Recognition
It is true that voice recognition is already excellent indoors and in the immediate vicinity of the voice assistant. However, the quality quickly drops in challenging environments, such as a noisy environment or over a long distance.
In this area, further solutions need to be developed so that the technology can also be used for areas such as live interviews, speech recognition during a family dinner, or even in meetings.
Another challenge is the recognition and availability of different languages and subjects. Especially for rare languages and niche topics, there is still room for improvement.
2. Get The Context Right
When two people are talking, you can easily decode what is being said, interpret the gestures of the other person, and link it to the previous conversation. Speech assistants often reach their limits doing so.
It is often difficult for voice assistants to understand and correctly classify the context of the spoken words. As a result, the user’s intention is misunderstood and incorrect information is provided or an inappropriate function is performed.
3. Accents And Dialects
Especially in times when users expect a technology to work in seconds, they can be still disappointed with voice assistants. It is often the case that voice assistants take longer to use than comparable text-based solutions.
This has to do with the fact that voice assistants still have to learn the speech patterns of different users. Accents in particular lead to problems. For example, there are significant differences in how well American English is understood compared to Scottish English. Slow and clear pronunciation can be helpful here.
Accents and dialects are not always the problem. Colds and the voice changes that often accompany them can also cause voice assistants to understand users less well.
4. Privacy And Data Protection
For a voice assistant to function optimally, it needs data to learn and optimize its capabilities. Preferably, data from everyday interactions with voice recognition systems.
However, many users want full control over their data. Especially when it comes to such a wide variety of commands and questions they ask their voice assistant in everyday life. It is not necessarily a reassuring idea when every interaction with the voice assistants is collected and added to a global data set.
Especially when it is stored by commercial companies, such as Google or Amazon. As a result, it is currently a major challenge to collect enough data so that voice assistants can continue to learn while addressing security and privacy needs.
3 Tips For Implementing Voice Assistants For Businesses
If you now think that voice assistants are just what you need, we would like to help you to get started with the following tips for implementing your voice assistant:
1. Don’t Wait Too Long
Now is the optimal time to get started with enterprise voice assistants. The technology is already sufficiently developed so that it provides value to users. Since many businesses are still hesitant, you can get a head start.
You have the opportunity to test and learn which strategies work as well as secure memorable and relevant skill and action names.
2. Adapt Marketing Content
Developing a voice strategy requires rethinking how customers are approached. This is because a voice assistant conversation is very different from the often more formal written communication. You need to realize what the shift to communicating via voice assistants and using spoken queries means.
Of course, the answer is always extremely individual. However, one point remains the same for all companies: Communication via voice assistants must be incorporated across all company divisions. Above all, this is crucial for planning and creating content. Because in order to use content for voice assistants, it must be provided in advance. Answers, for example, can no longer be formulated spontaneously during a customer conversation.
In addition, visual corporate identity is becoming less important. It is no longer a question of how a company presents itself visually, but how it sounds.
3. Analyze Competition And Customer Behavior
Although many companies are still hesitant, there are already some pioneers who have established voice assistants in their marketing mix. Look for companies that are already succeeding in using voice technologies and try to learn from them.
Analyzing customer behavior can also give you valuable insights. After all, the use of spoken language changes customer behavior. They use different technologies, stay in different places, and use different words for their search queries.
For companies, this means they need to evaluate how they can adapt their processes to changing customer behavior. For example, SEO copy may need to be revised, or marketing materials in general may need to be adapted to different technical formats.
Here’s How To Proceed — A Brief Step-By-Step Guide
To help you get started with the topic of voice assistants, you can use the following process as a guide:
1. Idea generation & planning
The first step is to give this topic the importance it deserves. Not only you, but the entire marketing, sales and customer service team must be aware of the opportunity voice technology offers.
To do this, think about the following questions:
In which areas would the implementation of voice-based services improve or add value to your communication?
What are the goals to be achieved?
Which target group should be addressed?
What problems should the skill/action solve for the user?
Which differentiating factors play a role?
What measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) can you define?
What is the estimated project scope and the resources required?
Are your systems suitable for the implementation of a voice-based service?
2. Voice User Interface (VUI) Design
Once you have defined the use case for your voice-based service, it’s time to start designing it.
Consider the following points:
What should your voice user interface look like?
Define functions and content.
Define the skill/action name and invocation name.
Complete technical planning.
3. Development & Certification
At this step, at the latest, you should know whether you want to have the implementation carried out in-house or by an external expert.
Onlim’s experience from numerous successfully implemented chatbot and voice assistant projects shows that when developing skills, actions or voice-based services, you must pay great attention to the preparation and analysis of the data and content you use. Your data is the basis for good natural language understanding and thus, a satisfactory overall result.
What do you have to consider during this phase?
Implement the technical requirements for the skill/action (e.g. APIs, etc.).
Implementation based on Alexa/Google Actions SDKs and toolkits.
Get an overview of the skill/action certification process.
Start with a user-friendly beta test.
Create a user-friendly beta test plan and invite users for beta testing.
Submit the skill/action for certification.
We would be happy to support you in these processes, contact us.
4. Launch & Promotion:
The last step is to launch and promote the skill/action or voice-based service. Make your voice based experiences, evaluate the activities and analyse the data you have collected.
These questions will guide you:
How do you plan to market the skill/action after the launch? (e.g. PR, social media, advertising campaigns etc).
What are the expectations towards the product after launch? (e.g. will there be a V2.0)
How do you plan to handle bug fixes, user reviews etc. after launch?
We hope that our tips will help you kick off your voice assistant project. Of course, as reliable conversational AI developers, we will be happy to support you at all stages and ensure that your project is implemented quickly and without complications. Just ask for our free consultation.