“OK Google, tell me where the nearest restaurant is”, “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?” Sound familiar? Voice search is exponentially growing at a rate that businesses should and must keep up with; we’re here to tell you how and why businesses are investing in various forms of voice technology, and how it could benefit you.

According to Google Trends, Google Voice Search Queries are up by 35x since 2008:

The figures speak for themselves; it’s human nature to be able to communicate with others via voice, and has been for a very long time. So, it’s only natural that we, as humans, incorporate that in the technologically advanced world that we now live in. It’s much easier for internet users, especially those who use smart devices, to search for something using their voice, as opposed to typing it – it’s much faster and often more convenient.

Why chatbots?

Going back to the point about instantaneous responses that we humans desire, chatbots place themselves nicely in the middle of a flawless user experience and technology. Live chat functionality can be accessed via many business websites, making it quick and easy for a user to make contact and seek support if required. However, a live agent can only handle so many conversations at once – they wouldn’t be able to answer 20 conversations at one time, so the question is, how do businesses retain offering instant support without hiring more live agents?

AI chatbots can handle a lot of customer queries at any given time, and can even be used alongside some businesses live chat support. Chatbots have advanced to the point that they can be asked, and answer more complicated questions, rather than having a limited set of standard answers and question sets. Much like Google, chatbots advance and become more intelligent with time, taking previous questions and answers and implementing enhancements based on their history.

As well as handling multiple queries at once, chatbots can send your customers in the right direction; whether it’s goods or services, directions, or navigation to your business’ website. As a website user, you’re more likely to stay browsing a website if you know that you can obtain an answer to your question straight away, rather than seeking support via telephone or email – we certainly would!

How can chatbots integrate with voice skills like Alexa?

The burning question; how does all this latest technology come together? Business developers have the ability to export chatbots into skill kits, like Alexa. If a business’ chatbot has been created through the likes of Amazon Lex (a service for building chatbot interfaces), then it can be used on an Alexa device. Of course, this part requires someone with the knowledge to integrate the chatbot with a voice skills kit, but once it’s up and running, it’s almost invaluable to have. The latest report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that over 8 million customers own an Amazon Echo device – that’s 8 million potential users that you could reach out to by integrating your business’ chatbot with Alexa.

Of course, there are other factors that need to be considered when investing in chatbots and voice skills within your business. It may seem like an afterthought, but ensuring your business’ website is capable of keeping up with the ever-advancing technology is a must. After all, if a user visits your website and it goes down, that’s not going to look good, is it? Again, it may not seem obvious, but ensuring that you choose a web host that guarantees speed and consistent high performance for your website is a crucial basis for your business.

Technology is constantly rising, and as a business, it’s your job to keep up with the competition. There’s no doubt about it; chatbots and voice skills are the face of 2018, and will be for the foreseeable future.

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